Daniel Pearl award winner using violin as instrument for peace

Monday October 15, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- Sarah Hubbard is an accomplished young musician. Now, she is learning what it means to play for peace.

Hubbard, 18 of Westfield, was named in June as one of four winners of the Daniel Pearl Memorial String Instruments awards; the honor was presented at the final concert of the Mark O'Connor Summer String program at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

On Friday, Hubbard will play the instrument made by master violinmaker Jonathan Cooper, in memory of the late journalist/musician Daniel Pearl, at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield to benefit the Rock On! music camp and scholarship program to support its mission to serve and foster young musicians.

"I'm so in shock still and also very humbled, not only to have the violin but to really learn from it and learn what playing for peace is," Hubbard said. "I think when we play, we always play for some source of light, some sort of joy and happiness, and the byproduct of that is peace," she said.

Pearl was a former reporter for the North Adams Transcript and The Berk shire Eagle who also played violin and fiddle. He was the south Asia news bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal in 2002 when he was kidnapped by Pakistani terrorists and later murdered that spring.

This year marks the 10th anniversary not only of his death, but of the subsequent efforts toward peace coordinated by his family, friends and former colleagues through the Daniel Pearl Foundation.

Hubbard will be accompanied at Friday's show by Rock On! faculty members Jeff Link, Charlie Tokarz, Ben Kohn and Chris Mattoon while performing Canadian Calvin Vollrath's "Fiddle Nation," which he composed for the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olym pics held in Vancouver in February 2010.

"[A] component of what the piece really does so nicely is bring together the fabric of a nation," she said, likening it to Pearl's goals as a journalist and as a person. "I'm so excited to be a part of Daniel's legacy. It's really shaping who I am as a musician."

Beyond Hubbard's performance, faculty member and concert co-organizer Jeff Link said that evening will include a broad range of music and a caliber of performance that can help the Rock On! program grow. The summer camp experience has been hosted at Berkshire Community College since 2002.

"Rock On! has been around for 10 years now" Link said. "Some of our kids are at Berklee, St. Rose, and some are out performing now. Whe ther they become professionals or not, they carry their experiences with them throughout their lives. It helps in school, and some of our kids come back as teaching assistants and help others."

The concert, called "Play It Forward," will be headlined by guitarist Barry Goudreau and drummer John "Sib" Hashian, formerly of the band Boston. The event also features a silent auction for two guitars, one donated by Wood Bros. music store in Pittsfield, the other signed this summer and donated by the members of the celebrity band Train.

Performers will include the dozen students who comprise ROO, the Rock On! Or chestra, who range in age from 13 to 17.

In addition to Goudreau and Hashian, the professional lineup includes Chapman Stick master Steve Adelson and drummer Frank Bellucci. Local singer-songwriter Tony Lee Thomas will open the show. Pittsfield native Michael Fabrizio will bring his Nashville band to perform a set. The band Art Decade, fronted by Pittsfield guitarist and singer Ben Talmi, will perform with a string quartet.

Link credited program founders Mary and Akiva Talmi, Ben's parents, for their stewardship and support for young musicians and performers over the past decade.

"It's time for the community to step up and rock on. Let's get the next generation involved," he said.

To reach Jenn Smith:
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On Twitter: @JennSmith_Ink


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