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Jam Fest quartet finds time to teach Victoria students (w/video)

By Elena Watts
April 19, 2014 at 10:05 p.m.
Updated April 18, 2014 at 11:19 p.m.

The cello rock group Break of Reality, from left, Adrian Daurov, Patrick Laird, Ivan Trevino and Laura Metcalf, talk to VISD orchestra students during a workshop  at the VISD Fine Arts Center in Victoria. The group makes an effort while on tour to educate local students about music and help them with any questions they may have about the art form.

Elizabeth Caldwell, 15, listened from the front row of the Victoria Fine Arts Center as Break of Reality performed the theme song from "Game of Thrones" for her and her freshman orchestra friends Saturday morning.

Jam Fest brought the quartet to Victoria, along with Raven Cliff, Carolyn Wonderland and JB and the Moonshine Band.

"I've seen them every time they have come to Victoria," Caldwell said. "They are the reason I play the cello."

Break of Reality, which is composed of a percussionist from Victoria and three cellists, has infused classical music with rock 'n' roll and other genres for 11 years. The musicians met while attending the prestigious Eastman School of Music in New York.

"Our goal is to inspire young classical musicians to think outside the box," said Ivan Trevino, 30, the quartet's percussionist from Victoria. "It's about enlightenment - like learning another language."

Caldwell did not like classical music until she attended a performance by Break of Reality in which they "rocked it up" with their classical instruments.

Caldwell was among 20 orchestra students who participated in the quartet's morning workshop.

After a brief performance by the quartet and a question-and-answer session, the students filled two rows of chairs on the stage. They performed "Sweet Child of Mine" by Guns N' Roses for their mentors: Trevino, Patrick Laird, Laura Metcalf and Adrian Daurov.

The musicians, who faced the students in chairs arranged in semi-circle, offered their insights after the performance.

"We coach them on the rock music approach to their music," Trevino said.

The quartet teaches student musicians that they are not limited by the instruments they play, Trevino said. The workshops expand their opportunities to learn different styles of music, including rock 'n' roll and jazz.

"They learn different genres, and when they go back to classical, they realize how complex it is," Trevino said.

Victoria's performance began a 30-day bus tour across 15 states for Break of Reality. Along the way, the musicians plan to combine educational outreach with each of their performances.

The quartet performs with education in mind for Victoria, said Ken Peach, director of fine arts for VISD. Exposure to great teachers and players shows students they can continue their art after high school, he said.

The orchestra, which formed about four years ago, earned a perfect score in its first University Interscholastic League competition last week, Peach said.

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