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The Old Steeple welcomes renowned fiddle player and composer Mark O’Connor and his wife and violinist, Maggie O’Connor, on Wednesday, March 22. A true prodigy, Mark O’Connor has been a musical sensation ever since he became the youngest person to win the Grand Master Fiddler Championships at age 13. Nearly 50 years later, he’s a six-time winner of the Country Music Association Musician of the Year award, and has earned three three Grammys: in 1991 for Best Country Instrumental Performance, The New Nashville Cats; in 2000 for Best Classical Crossover Album, Appalachian Journey with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer; and in 2016 for Best Bluegrass Album, Coming Home by the O’Connor Band With Mark O’Connor.
An expert at traditionally-based fiddle and bluegrass music, Mark O’Connor plays many other instruments proficiently, including the violin, guitar and mandolin, and has appeared on 450 albums, composed nine concertos, and put together groundbreaking ensembles across genres. He has appeared at the White House, the Presidential Inauguration Celebration, and the ceremonies of Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Games for which he composed “Olympic Reel.”
O’Connor is four-time National Old-Time Fiddler Champion, three-time Grand Master Fiddler Champion, 2-time National Guitar Flatpick Champion, and world mandolin champion, all achieved in his teens. In fact, he’s been such a serial winner that the National Guitar Flatpicking Championships instituted the “Mark O’Connor Rule,” a five-year ban for winners, after he won that contest the second time in a row. O’Connor was inducted into The National Fiddler Hall of Fame in 2009. In addition to his musical accolades, O’Connor is an avid skateboarder who broke the world record of the skateboard high jump at age 15.
Tickets for Friday’s show are $55 in advance and $60 at the door. Find them online at theoldsteeple.com or at Wildberries Marketplace in Arcata and Mind’s Eye Coffee Lounge in Ferndale. Call (707) 786-7030 for info.
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