Black Violin brings audience out of their seats

Group brings blend of hip-hop and classical to Schofield

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Photo by Sam Martinez

Kev Marcus takes a break from the electric Violin to pump up the audience in Schofield.

When visualizing a violin concert on a college campus, one may picture an evening of quietly enjoying the performance while remaining seated.

Thursday night in Schofield auditorium Wil Baptist and Kev Marcus, together known as Black Violin, brought the audience out of their seats and shattered the image of a quiet violin show.

“It was the best concert I think I’ve seen at Eau Claire,” student Becca Dirschl said. “It was definitely more upbeat than (other UW-Eau Claire concerts), you could tell the passion of the performers.”

Black Violin is a group from south Florida fronted by Baptiste and Marcus and backed by DJ SPS and drummer Nat Stokes. Although they are two classically-trained musicians, they incorporate elements of hip-hop into their performances.

Black Violin has worked with artists like Alicia Keys, Kanye West and Aerosmith and even performed at President Obama’s second inauguration in 2013.

Along with encouraging the audience to dance, clap and sing, Baptiste repeatedly urged the crowd to record and post live video to Twitter and other social media.

“You can put (our shows) on YouTube,” Baptiste said. “We encourage that, not only because it’s free publicity, but you know, it’s fun.”

For much of the show the audience was on their feet dancing and singing along with the show.

Sophomore music major Hunter Nicholson said he did not expect the band to bring the type of energy to campus, and he liked that along with the energy, the band could really play their instruments.

Baptiste said they have played 121 shows this year, and it is still easy for them to bring excitement to a new venue each night.

“It’s not hard for us,” Baptiste said. “We’re having a great time and we’re bringing the audience in our world.”

This was the semester’s first installment of the Artist Series, and nearly 500 tickets were sold for the Wednesday show, on a night where the event Yell Like Hell was simultaneously taking place in Zorn Arena.

The Artist Series will continue, with the Pilobolus Dance Theater performing at Gantner concert hall in Haas November 12.