ENTERPRISE, Ore – One of the biggest names in American music will help kick off the Christmas season with Mark O’Connor at the OK Theatre Dec. 11.
O’Connor and his band, featuring wife Maggie, son Forrest, and daughter-in-law Kate Lee, return to the Theatre on their 2019 “An Appalachian Christmas” tour. The O’Connors played to a full house at the OK in 2016 and are back by popular demand.
The performance will be a mixture of Christmas and O’Connor band material along with some American classics.
O’Connor was born in Seattle, but found his musical home in the bluegrass of Appalachia and developed a style called “New Grass” that goes beyond the traditional sound of the early 20th century.
O’Connor’s progressive style is revealed not only in his performances and recordings but also in his “O’Connor Method” of teaching stringed instruments. He said tens of thousands of children are learning to play violin with the O’Connor Method that places an emphasis on music and playing techniques from North America focusing on rhythmic development, ear training, and improvisation.
Wallowa County’s own Meredith Brann, who had her first solo show last June, is a student of the O’Connor method, learning to play her violin like a fiddle.
Since the age of 13 O’Connor has been one of the biggest names in string music when he won the Grand Masters Fiddle Championships in Nashville and the National Flat Pick Guitar Championship in Winfield, Kan. At age 19, O’Connor won the Buck White International Mandolin Championship in Kerrville, Texas. He is a four-time grand champion -1979, 1980, 1981 and 1984 – at the National Oldtime Fiddler’s Contest in Weiser, Idaho. He was named Musician of the Year by the Country Music Association six years in a row, from 1991 to 1996, and his collaborative single “Restless” with Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, and Steve Wariner won the 1991 CMA Vocal Event of the Year award.
Of his 45 or so recordings, O’Connor’s appeared on five albums before he was 21. An accomplished musician on a number of instruments, he is one of the top Bluegrass performers in the nation, regularly appearing at the Telluride and Lyons Bluegrass festivals. He’s played wit the top names in Bluegrass and Country music from David Grisman and Sam Bush to Bela Fleck and Ricky Skaggs.
O’Connor won two Grammys – one for the album “New Nashville Cats” in 1992 and another for his “Appalachian Journey” album in 2001 with Yo-Yo Ma and Edgar Meyer. For six years, from 1991 to 1996, the Country Music Association named him “Musician of the Year”. His collaborative single “Restless”, with Vince Gill, Ricky Skaggs, and Steve Wariner, won the 1991 CMA Vocal Event of the Year award.
The O’Connor Band appears at the OK Theatre Dec. 12. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are available at The Bookloft, Dollar Stretcher in Enterprise, Joseph Hardware in Joseph and online at www.eventbrite.com.