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The KPAC Blog features classical music news, reviews, and analysis from South Texas and around the world.

Black Violin Talks High School Outreach Ahead Of Friday Performance

Chris Eudaily
TPR News
Black Violin performing for a showcase at SXSW 2013 in Austin last march.

Black Violin, it's the Florida band which has staked out the unlikely intersection of hip hop and classical music. Band member Wilner Baptiste (Wil B) spoke to TPR about the band's outreach efforts in high schools.

"It's something that is very dear to our hearts because we understand," Baptiste said. "We were in a performing arts school that actually had an orchestra."

Baptiste talked about his Fort Lauderdale high school years where, due to budget cuts, he nearly missed being able to learn violin.

"That year they canceled -- they shut down -- the string program, so I had to transfer to another middle school," he said.

Baptiste said he thinks that arts should bear no less importance in education than the standard reading, writing and arithmetic.

"To me, arts is that much important in terms of the kids’, the child’s growth," Baptiste said.

And their message to the young is simple:

"Just take something you’re passionate about, and take it further," Baptiste said.

Since they were neither pure hip hop or pure classical, I wondered if Black Violin ever got a hard time from the hip-hop community, or from the classical community.

"No!" he said. "It’s the opposite!"

Black Violin has a youth matinee at 11 a.m. this Friday, December 6, at the Carver.

Jack Morgan can be reached at jack@tpr.org and on Twitter at @JackMorganii