By Gary Budzak
Today and tomorrow, as they have all week, violinists will perform in Delaware as part of a Creative Strings Festival.
“We’re doing 20 of our 30 concerts in Delaware, and they’re mostly family-friendly and free,” local violinist Christian Howes told The Gazette. “This is my 12th year doing this event, but it’s the first year I’ve brought it to Delaware. I’m planning on making it here in Delaware now.”
Howes said 100 musicians of various skill levels from six countries are participating in his non-profit educational workshop based at Ohio Wesleyan University and the various concerts, which will range from the formal to a flash mob. The public and private performances, with varying numbers of players, began on June 30 and will conclude July 4.
“The students are learning through performing to the community, which I think is a pretty cool concept,” Howes said. “My dad (former Delaware Rotary President Ralph Howes) suggested I do this. He said, ‘Son, why don’t you hold an event here in central Ohio and have people study with you?’ Part of this is to honor him and to give back to my community.”
Howes was recently asked by the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine to teach improvisational workshops and perform his specialties, jazz and classical music.
“It was really powerful, because I realized how people there feel about their situation,” he said. “They feel threatened about their ability to have free speech and self-government. You see how much your support means to them in being free and democratic. To think that my performance can be used in that way is humbling.”
Howes, who divides his time between Columbus and New York City, is a former professor at the Berklee College of Music. He has recorded several CDs of his own, and has worked as a sideman and with his mentor, guitarist Les Paul. As an educator, his Creative Strings Academy has online lessons.
According to Howes’ website, listed below are the remaining Creative Strings Festival concerts:
July 3: 1-3 p.m., Choffey’s Coffeee, 17 W. Winter St.; 2-3 p.m., Delaware County Library, 84 E. Winter St.; 3-4 p.m., Delaware County Library Orange Branch; 4:15-5 p.m., OWU’s Sanborn Hall; 9 p.m.-1 a.m. Clancy’s Pub, 40 S. Sandusky St.
July 4: 3 p.m. (tentative), Choffey’s Coffee; 6-9 p.m., multiple performances downtown during First Friday; 7:30-8:30 p.m., guest performing with the Central Ohio Symphony, Phillips Glen; 9 p.m.-1 a.m. (tentative), Clancy’s Pub.
“I’m calling it the Delaware Music Hop,” Howes said of the ambitious list of shows. “I want to bring beauty to the world, help people feel confident about themselves and bring healing.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.