Black Violin to perform with local students at Sweetland on Friday

Published 10:00 am Thursday, October 12, 2023

Black Violin will perform on Friday night at Sweetland Amphitheatre with local strings students. The hip-hop fusion duo will be also joined by songwriter Son Little for the penultimate concert in the 2023 Sweetland Concert Series.

The duo will perform a song with local high school strings students for the finale in a partnership with Sweetland Amphitheatre and the Troup County School System.

The two-time Grammy-nominated duo gained worldwide popularity after appearing on and winning Showtime at the Apollo.

The group is comprised of classically trained string instrumentalists, Kevin Sylvester and Wilner Baptiste, who go by Kev Marcus and Wil B on stage. Kev Marcus plays the violin, and Wil B. plays the viola. The duo perform a fusion of jazz, hip hop and classical music.

Sweetland and TCSS announced in September that high school strings students would be able to audition to perform on stage with Black Violin for the finale. Fourteen students were chosen to perform with the duo from LaGrange, Callaway and Troup High.

The following students were selected to perform with Black Violin:

Omar Brooks (10th grade, THS)

Jazmyn Burks (10th grade, THS)

Kaylee Escobedo-Bautista (9th grade, LHS)

Serenity Ervin (9th grade, LHS)

Wesley Evans (9th grade, CHS)

Addison Hyde (10th grade, THS)

Jon Killingsworth (9th grade, THS)

Madison O’Dell (9th grade, THS)

Paul Park (9th grade, THS)

Dean Powell (11th grade, THS)

Morgan Roberts (9th grade, THS)

Javontay Vines (9th grade, CHS)
The duo were more than happy to support the local school strings program seeing as they met playing high school orchestra.

Sylvester and Baptiste first met in Ft. Lauderdale, where they played together in the orchestra at the Dillard High School of the Performing Arts. The two later reconvened after college and started an act covering hip-hop songs on their violins. The act gained local notoriety which gained them an appearance on Showtime. 

Soon afterward, they were collaborating with everyone from Kayne West to Aerosmith.

“I can’t think of better artists to bring in and a better partnership to have than Black Violin on the artist side and the Troup County School System as the organization that would allow us to engage and reach young people in the community,” Sweetland GM Brent Gibbs said when announcing the partnership.

The high schoolers won’t be the only string students to perform on Friday night. About 40 strings students will perform on the lawn at Sweetland starting at 7 p.m. before the main concert.

Ticket sales for the concert have been one of the slower ones this season, Gibbs said.

“It’s a little disappointing because we wanted this to be a special event for the kids and the community,” Gibbs said. 

Gibbs encouraged everyone to come out to support the kids on Friday, adding that ticket discounts are available. The show will go on rain or shine, he said.

Tickets are still available for purchase at https://www.sweetlandamp.com/

Discounts are available through promo code TCS50 for half off general admission seats and 10 percent off reserved seating with promo code TCS10. 

“We don’t anticipate super bad weather, and it’s going to be a great night. The tickets are inexpensive, and it’s amazing world-class music and it’s going to feature our young musicians, so we encourage everybody to come out,” Gibbs said.