Concert will feature nations top string players

Alex Hargreaves of Oregon will be among the performers at a concert in West Jefferson on July 3.
Billy Contreras, an accomplished string player from Nashville, is back for another show in West Jeff.

Ryan Cavanaugh of North Carolina has a spot in the July 3 concert.

A fantastic opportunity to hear major musical talent in Madison County will take place from 7:30 to 10 p.m. July 3 at Mustard Seed Café, 18 W. Main St., West Jefferson, according to Mark Potter.

Potter is a local musician and piano technician. This is his second year orga-nizing a local performance led by violinist Chris Howes and other instructors and participants in the Creative Strings Workshop, an event scheduled for June 30-July 6 at Otterbein College in Westerville.

The July 3 concert will be performed by “some of the very finest string players walking the planet,” Potter said. “I am talking rarefied air. No genre of music will be off-limits—jazz, bluegrass, funk, blues, swing, etc.”

Howes is a native of Columbus who now lives in New York City. He is an associate professor at Berklee College of Music and tours as a clinician for Yamaha and D’Addarrio. He has contributed to articles in “Strings” and “All About Jazz” magazines.

“Before moving to New York and developing an international career, I started off as a jazz violinist on the streets of Col-umbus, in the cafés and the clubs. Learning on the gig is the best way to make it as an independent, creative musician. I want to give other string players the opportunity to enjoy the fruits that a such a career can bring,” he says on his Web site.

Howes has performed or recorded with Les Paul, Bill Evans, Sam Bush, Randy Brecker, James Carter, Jack DeJohnette, Billy Hart, Dave Weckl, Dafnis Prieto, Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten and David Murray.

The lineup for the Mustard Seed show includes Billy Contreras of Nashville, Alex Hargreaves of Oregon, Ryan Cavanaugh of North Carolina, and Mike Barnett of Boston. Along with the professionals, workshop participants will perform as part of their learning experience.

They must learn new material, practice, and prepare for the live shows with all the pressure they could expect in life as a professional creative musician.

This year, the concert will open up with instructors performing with The Great Mad Hoax, a central Ohio string band fea-turing Chase Potter, Mark’s son and a workshop participant.

The Mustard Seed concert is one of 25 scheduled around central Ohio during the six nights of the workshop.

“It is an intimate venue with no one in the audience more than 20 feet from these world-class musicians,” Potter said.

“To be able to hear Billy Contreras, Alex Hargeaves and Ryan Cavanaugh and others for $5 in such an intimate setting is the opportunity of the year.”

Last year’s concert drew so many people, many were turned away after the café was packed. So, this year Potter is taking reservations for the first 125 people. Admission is $5 and will be collected at the door.

For reservations, send e-mail to Potter at or call 614-879-5005. For more information about the Creative Strings Workshop, visit htm.

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