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Mark & Maggie O'Connor
Charlotte Folk Society
March 21st, 7:30 PM
Tickets available through Brown Paper tickets
On Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at 7:30 p.m., the Charlotte Folk Society (CFS) is honored to present an evening with Mark and Maggie O’Connor in the historical Self Help/Great Aunt Stella Center, 926 Elizabeth Ave., Charlotte, NC. Not only will this be an unbelievable evening of American acoustic music by two masters, but profits from the evening benefit both the Mark O’Connor fiddle camps, and the educational endeavors of the Charlotte Folk Society. In supporting this show with your ticket purchases, you will be helping to keep our music alive and thriving into the future! As they say, it’s a win, win proposition! You can find tickets at www.folksociety.org, at CFS events, and CFS Gatherings (concerts), held the second Friday of each month, at the Self Help/Great Aunt Stella Center in Charlotte.
In my memories of the early days of Merlefest, each festival would culminate with a “super” jam on the Watson stage, that sent festivarians down the road with big, satisfied smiles on their faces. On that stage were many of the artists that changed the direction of bluegrass and acoustic music, and propelled it into the future. The stage would be filled with artists like Bela Fleck, Tony Rice, Jerry Douglas, Sam Bush, David Grisman and many others. Being new to the music, I had never heard anything like it! Swing, jazz, Cajun, Brazilian, blues, country, reggae, bluegrass, folk, rock, old-time, classical, and Celtic genres were put in a big ole stew pot and their music came out like a smoky, simmering gumbo. I remember there was also a young man on that stage in his early twenties that was considered the future of American fiddle players – his name was Mark O’Connor. To this day, I still remember a solo main stage set he did – a one hour improvisational interpretation of Orange Blossom Special that visited all of the above mentioned genres of musical stylings and more, before the train came back into the station. I was too young and naïve at the time to realize I was listening to an artist that would later be revered as one of the most respected musicians on the face of the planet.
Now in his 50’s, Mark has settled down in the Charlotte area with his fiddle playing wife and bandmate, Maggie, and is the current artist in residence with the Charlotte Symphony – are we lucky or what! What Mark O’Connor has achieved, and the greats he has played with over the years is enough to bogle the mind. If I attempted a full biography here, we would be here until the cows come home, as we say in the south. Over the years, Mark O’Connor has won three Grammys, seven Country Music Association awards, and probably too many fiddle, guitar and mandolin championships to list. After winning multiple Grammys for his “New Nashville Cats’’ project, he shifted gears and began recording with Yo-Yo Ma and Sony Classical. Appalachia Waltz and Appalachian Journey sold a million copies and propelled him to the forefront of a new, emerging American music. (again!) His Fiddle Concerto is the most performed classical piece performed in the last fifty years, and that is absolutely amazing! Mark has obviously been on too many musical journeys to mention in the decades since that young, twenty something year old man set the Merlefest stage on fire, but life and music can sometimes circle back to one’s roots. Most recently, he has formed the Mark O’Connor Band, which has garnered not only much praise but another Grammy for their 2016 release, “Coming Home”.
In his spare time (hah!), Mark O’Connor developed a new learning method, the O’Connor Method, which has become the fastest growing fiddle learning method in the country. Mark’s philosophy is that you can sleep after you’ve passed away, and it shows, considering all he’s accomplished in his days in this realm.
Maggie O’Connor, Mark’s wife and partner in crime, is a classically trained fiddler also adept in many styles of fiddle playing and plays with Mark as a duo, in his ensembles and also a part of the acclaimed Mark O’Connor Band. Through her budding career, she has won a bundle of awards, grants and scholarships. The impressive thing for me is the fact she can not only go toe to toe with her husband, but the fact that their duo concerts become more than the sum of their parts! Hopefully you will be at the Great Aunt Stella on March 21 for the exquisite musical journey they will take us on that evening – hope to see you there!
Learn more about Mark and Maggie at www.markoconnor.com.
The Charlotte Folk Society is supported, in part, with funding by the Arts & Science Council (ASC).
This project was supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources.