Life on the frozen tundra of South Dakota Life on the frozen tundra of South Dakota

Back in late 2016, Sioux Falls got a treat: virtuoso violinist and former Trans-Siberian Orchestra member Mark Wood came to town as part of his Electrify Your Symphony program. In this program, he and his band travels to different communities and works with the middle school music programs during the week, which culminates with a huge performance with all of the students along with Mark and his band.

Because there are multiple middle schools in Sioux Falls, the band members split up with a few of them going to each school. As fate would have it, Mark Wood himself was the one who visited the Tundra Boy's orchestra class.

Mark and the Tundra Boy hit it off. In fact, Mark was so impressed with the Tundra Boy that he asked him to perform with him the next morning when Mark was on a local TV station promoting the EYS concert. I would be lying if I said I wasn't a proud parent.

The following Saturday was one of the largest EYS events ever: somewhere around 3,000 kids all performing together in our events center, along with an audience of nearly 10,000 people. Earlier during rehearsal Mark saw the Tundra Boy hidden in the back of the mass of musicians and singers, and purposefully moved him up on stage right next to Mark. The performance was absolutely incredible, and once again I would be lying if I said I wasn't a proud parent again.

Fast forward a few months, and we received an email. Mark Wood runs a summer camp called the Mark Wood Rock Orchestra Camp (MWROC). Because of the Tundra Boy's ability and performance at the EYS concert, they were offering him a full-ride scholarship to the camp. Have I mentioned that I'm a proud parent?

In preparation for the camp, all musicians had to submit audition videos to allow the camp staff determine the level of the player and in which camp program they should participate. While in the EYS concert the Tundra Boy played upright string bass, Mark Wood requested that he play bass guitar at MWROC.

So this is the audition video we recorded. Not being one to shy away from a challenge, the Tundra Boy decided he wanted to cover a Rush tune. Geddy Lee is no slouch on bass, so copying his playing is no small task. He practiced for several weeks and as a result of his work the Tundra Boy managed to nail the song on the very first take. It was the shortest video production we've ever done; it took longer to set everything up than it did to record the video.

The Tundra Boy's goal was to get placed in the top level program at MWROC. As a result of this video he met that goal, and was the only middle-school aged student in that group which was mostly comprised of older high school and college students.

By the way, I'm a proud parent.

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This page last updated on 06/28/2018