A local professional musician who is part of a world-renowned fiddle group will have a unique opportunity to showcase his talents on a local stage on Thursday, January 17 as the Childsplay music group makes its way to theåTheater in New Bedford for a performance. Mark Roberts, a Mattapoisett resident who plays flute and banjo, is a member of the band.
“He’s an all-star musician,” said Bob Childs, the Artistic Director of Childsplay. “He’s just a phenomenal player.”
Roberts has played in several noteworthy bands including the Red Clay Ramblers and Touchstone.
“He’s a big part of the rhythm section in Childsplay,” said Childs.
Roberts is one of many musicians that make up the music group, which is comprised of 13 – 14 fiddlers as well as a stellar support cast of guitars, basses, cellos, harps and other instruments. But don’t let the name fool you; there are no children in this group. There are only professional musicians.
For 35 years, Childs has been making violins in the greater Boston area. Childsplay was formed 26 years ago when he received a call from a woman in Washington DC asking him to come down and perform with a music group. The woman said the band was named Childsplay after Childs since all of the members in the group were using instruments crafted by Childs.
“The group is comprised entirely of adults, not kids,” said Childs. “The positive part of the name is that it suggests playfulness. The age range of the group is from early 20s to mid-60s so it’s really multi-generational.”
While the band is based in Boston, the members hail from all over the world. Each of the members belongs to his or her own professional music group and joins Childsplay a couple times of year to go on tour. The musicians come from down South, Vermont and Newfoundland. There are musicians from the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and all-Ireland Harpist and a Scottish Fiddle Champion as well.
“The talent level of the band is what is really amazing,” he said.
The group is working on their sixth CD. The music is a compilation of Irish, Scottish, British and French Canadian music. Most of the music performed is written and arranged by members of the band. Their concert in New Bedford will be filmed to make their second DVD. All CD’s and DVD’s will be sold in order to raise money to help the band travel.
“We’re a nonprofit organization with 501c3 status,” said Childs. “Part of the reason for that is we’re just trying to be a national band and it requires a lot of money. It’s difficult to fund a group this size.”
For more information on Childsplay, or to purchase tickets for their concert in New Bedford, visit www.childsplay.org.
By Katy Fitzpatrick