High School Students to Perform with Black Violin

Lawrence High and Free State High School students will perform with the music group Black Violin at the Lied Center on Friday, September 22. The concert begins at 7:30 pm, and the students will perform two pieces with the group. Rachel Dirks and Judy Erpelding, orchestra directors at Lawrence High School and Free State High School, respectively, assembled the student performers for the concert.

Lied Center Engagement/Education Director Anthea Scouffas commented on the long-term relationship between the Lied Center and Black Violin, as well as the group’s ongoing connection with USD 497 students: “The Lied Center has had a longstanding relationship with Black Violin. We invited the group to perform for our School Performance Series in 2011 to over 3,000 third through fifth grade students. I can honestly say that this was, by far, the most positive, energized and impactful school performance we have ever had. Then, we invited the group back again to perform at both Lawrence and Free State high schools in 2015. Many of the students who attended the 2011 performance got to see them again—and some of those students had joined the high school orchestras and chose to play the violin/viola because of that first Black Violin concert they saw. And now, many of those same students will get to perform with the group on our stage! It is really exciting for us all to be a part of Black Violin’s journey and to continue our relationship with them.”

Black Violin is composed of classically trained violist and violinist Wil Baptiste (Will B.) and Kevin (Kev Marcus) Sylvester who combine their classical training and hip-hop influences to create a distinctive multi-genre sound that is often described as “classical boom”—blending classical, hip-hop, R&B, rock and bluegrass music. Live, they are accompanied by their incredible band, featuring ace turntable whiz DJ SPS and drummer Nat Stokes. Named one of the hottest bands at South by Southwest in 2013, the group was invited to perform at Bonnaroo and returned to SXSW to standing-room-only crowds.

Wil B. and Kev Marcus place heavy emphasis on educational outreach, and have performed for more than 100,000 students in North America and Europe in the past 12 months, including the featured musical act for the Blue Ribbon Festival at the Music Center in Los Angeles, where they performed for 19,000 fifth grade students from the Greater Los Angeles area over a three-day period. The band is endorsed by Yamaha Music, and has partnered with the National Association for Music Manufacturers (NAMM) to continue their advocacy for accessible music education.

The students are:

Violin I

  • Emily Guo
  • Lauren Griffin
  • Eileen Huang
  • Ben Matthews
  • Megan Wisbey

Violin II

  • Suzy Chun
  • Mariah Kaufman
  • Emily Lepine
  • Alina Matejkowski
  • Micah Steele
  • Lisa Yang


  • Helena All
  • Jimmy Cooper
  • Izzy Ginavan
  • Quentin Harrington
  • Gabe Kimuri
  • Isaac Seybold


  • Ainsley Agnew
  • Calvin Janzen-Chappell
  • Alex Chavez
  • Jack Foster
  • Derek Hale
  • Nick Matthews


  • Satori Good
  • Nate Reid
  • Dakota Ward