Posted by Kosson Talent On October - 3 - 2017 Comments Off on Black Violin Recipient of the Lied Center IMPACT Award

Announcing the Lied Center IMPACT Award Winners

The Lied Center of Kansas is proud to announce Black Violin and Deborah Woodall Routledge as
the recipients of the 2017–2018 IMPACT Awards. This is the fourth season the Lied Center has
recognized one artist or group for distinguished service to the performing arts and one USD 497
educator for distinguished service to arts education.
“Black Violin and Deborah Woodall Routledge exemplify the absolute best in the performing
arts and arts education. It is a privilege for the Lied Center of Kansas to recognize them for
inspiring creativity in our community and throughout the world,” said Executive Director Derek
Kwan.
Black Violin is composed of classically trained violist and violinist Wil Baptiste (Wil B.) and Kevin
(Kev Marcus) Sylvester who combine their classical training and hip-hop influences to create a
distinctive multi-genre sound that is often described as “classical boom”—blending classical,
hip-hop, R&B, rock and bluegrass music. Live, they are accompanied by their incredible band,
featuring ace turntable whiz DJ SPS and drummer Nat Stokes. Named one of the hottest bands
at South by Southwest (SXSW) in 2013, the group was invited to perform at Bonnaroo and
returned to SXSW to standing-room-only crowds. In addition to their amazing and influential
talents, Wil B. and Kev Marcus are diligent advocates for educational outreach in performing
arts. The music group has performed for more than 100,000 students in North America and
Europe in the past 12 months, including being the featured musical act for the Blue Ribbon
Festival at the Music Center in Los Angeles, where they performed for 19,000 fifth-grade
students from the Greater Los Angeles area over a three-day period. The band is endorsed by
Yamaha Music, and has partnered with the National Association for Music Manufacturers
(NAMM) to continue their advocacy for accessible music education. Black Violin has also had a
long-standing relationship with the Lied Center and USD 497 students, performing in the Lied
Center’s 2011 School Performance Series to over 3,000 elementary school students, and
performing at both Lawrence High School and Free State High School in 2015. Most recently, a
group of Lawrence High School and Free State High School orchestra students had the
opportunity to perform with Black Violin during a concert at the Lied Center on September 22,
2017. Many of these student musicians had attended school performances of Black Violin over
the last several years.
Deborah Woodall Routledge has been teaching band for 28 years and has been at Southwest
Middle School since its opening in 1995. She graduated from the University of Central Arkansas
with a Bachelor of Music Education degree and earned her Master of Music Education degree
from the University of Kansas. In her extensive teaching career, she has taught in Oklahoma,
Arkansas and Kansas, and has received awards, such as Northeast Kansas Music
Educators Middle School Band Teacher of the year in 2013–14 and Lawrence Teacher of the
Month in August 2016. Under her direction, the Southwest Middle School band has won
numerous awards and performed at the 2000 Kansas Music Educators Conference. She has also
served on the Executive Committee for the Kansas John Philip Sousa Junior Honor Band for the
past 16 years. Routledge commented on her enthusiasm for the Lied Center and the benefits it
provides for her students: “I will never forget the first time I walked into the Lied Center of
Kansas, I thought to myself, this is a game changer for Lawrence. My students and I are going
to come here and be truly inspired by the performances!” She also coaches boys and girls
tennis at Southwest Middle School. As the educator honoree, Routledge receives a
complimentary pair of tickets to each main stage Lied Center performance during the 2017–
2018 season.
Each year, after the season is booked, the Lied Center administration selects up to five artists or
groups to be considered for the IMPACT Award based upon the established criteria of
leadership in their field, artistic integrity, commitment to arts education and the creation of
new and innovative work. In August, all current and former Friends of the Lied board members
vote for one of the nominees via electronic ballot. The educator is selected with the assistance
of USD 497 ambassadors to the Lied Center and the Adventures in Imagination Board. This
selection is based on the teacher’s service to arts education. This year’s recipients will be added
to the list of esteemed artists and educators, including Wynton Marsalis, Branford Marsalis,
Imani Winds and USD 497 educators Lois Orth-Lopes, Dani Lotton-Barker and Sara Bonner.

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