BWW Exclusive Interview: String Quartet WELL-STRUNG Serenades the Citizens of Minneapolis For a Good Cause
The boys (well, men) of WELL-STRUNG have been a fixture in the realm of what I like to call "pop-classical" music for only a little while---they debuted their interpretation of Kelly Clarkson's "Since You Been Gone" back in June 2013---but since their debut, they have been non-stop. If you take five-minutes and Google the interwebs, you will find mentions in Out magazine, ABC News and even The Today Show---the reception is beyond belief. Some have even compared the group to the likes of One Direction. And yes, maybe they are a little bit older than the tween heartthrobs but for the adult women and the gay men of the world---WELL-STRUNG very well could be our One Direction. And just like One Direction, only a few years ago, these boys never even knew each other...
This upcoming Thursday, the band of "brothers" will hit the land of 10,000 lakes (also known as Minneapolis, MN) to perform at the 1st Annual Call for Justice Fundraiser at the Illusion Theater, putting their unique twist on Top 40 hits and classical favorites---hence the "pop-classical" reference earlier.
BWW: How did you get involved in music?
Daniel Shevlin, Cello: I officially got into music when I started playing violin, then cello at age 9 thru my elementary school's music program, but both my grandfathers were very musical as Is my mother. I taught myself how to play piano when I was about 6 or 7.
Chris Marchant, Violin: When I was 9 I tried to play sports but I was terrible. I wanted to quit but my Mom would only let me quit if I started playing an instrument instead.
BWW: And now specifically, how did you get involved with Well-Strung?
Edmund Bagnell, 1st Violin: My friend forwarded me an audition breakdown saying this group is looking for a violinist who could sing.
DS: I was living and working in Denver when Chris (second violin) contacted me about starting a singing string quartet. We had known each other through a mutual friend.
CM: In 2010 I went to Provincetown to perform in a musical. In my spare time I played violin on the street to make extra money. A producer in town approached me and we started collaborating on Well-Strung and looked for other guys to join.
BWW: What has been the greatest moment being a part of this group?
Trevor Wadleigh, Viola: It's great to hear people are entertained by our performances. However, every once in a while we'll meet someone whom has experienced some kind of catharsis during one of our shows. These instances are always very special.
DS: Not one moment in particular for me, I am just grateful for all the traveling we've gotten to do this year and the forward trajectory we've been enjoying.
EB: When a teenager at one of our shows said "we are her One Direction."
BWW: Now that Well-Strung has been around for a bit, what is your ultimate vision for the group?
TW: Touring everywhere, collaborating with other artists, and establishing a new understanding of what the string quartet can sound like.
BWW: So, what's the dynamic like in the group? Where do you fit?
DS: We are all pretty different but each bring a varied strength and flavor to the group. I'm probably the most vocally aggressive and have the most attitude on stage-not in a negative way, I just make a lot of faces when I play.
CM: We are like brothers. One of my favorite things about us is that we are all so different. I hope I bring a love for music and love for performance.
BWW: Do you have any pre-show rituals?
DS: I play the prelude from the first Bach cello suite in our show, so before the show I always run thru it as fast as possible kinda like rapid-fire just to make sure my fingers remember everything and that I haven't completely forgotten how to play cello.
EB: Too many to list.
TW: For superstition's sake, none that can be discussed.
BWW: So when you aren't on stage, where can we find you?
CM: I spend a lot of time with my boyfriend and friends. Love to spend time lifting. Also love time alone with music.
BWW: Well, now that we know Mr. Marchant is taken (sorry, folks)---what about the rest of you?
BWW: Any daily guilty pleasures?
DS: Tchaikovsky and iced coffee.
TW: Sleeping in and spending too much time interwebbing.
BWW: You will be in Minneapolis for the 1st Annual Call for Justice Fundraiser; do you have any plans outside of that? Have you been here before?
DS: Would love to see a bit of the town but we're only here for a little bit. I have been here a few times; the longest was when I came through on the national tour of Rent back in 2004.
CM: I love Minneapolis. I toured through a couple years ago in the pit of Spring Awakening. I have a couple friends I'm excited to see.
TW: I'm very excited to be back in MN. Truly, some of my favorite people in the world are from here and I'm so excited that I get to spend an extra couple days hanging out with them. Also, some way or another, I WILL be eating hotdish.
EB: I have been before, but in the middle of winter. I'm very excited to explore in warmer weather.
BWW: Don't get your hopes up, Edmund. What is a secret people don't know about you?
DS: I've never seen the film or any production of the musical "Oklahoma" ...a mortal sin coming from this business.
BWW: Anyone else have a secret?
EB: I love pie.
TW: I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise.
BWW: Wonderful, any last words for the people?
TW: As Bob Barker always said, "have your pet spayed or neutered."
BWW: Funny, but for real?
DS: Thanks to all who love and support us and if you haven't seen us yet, please check us out!
Below, watch WELL-STRUNG Mozart Meets Kelly Clarkson!
One Direction step aside, there's a new kind of boy band on the circuit. The all-male string quartet Well-Strung features classical musicians who sing putting their own spin on the music of Mozart, Vivaldi, Rihanna, Adele Lady Gaga, and more! Their debut show sold-out Joe's Pub on May 1st, 2012 in New York after being work shopped at Ars Nova NYC in February. Since then they have played venues across the world such as The Art House in Provincetown, the Leicester Square Theatre in London, 54 Below in New York, House of Blues in New Orleans and Feinstein's in San Francisco. ??
Well-Strung stars first violinist Edmund Bagnell, second violinist Christopher Marchant, cellist Daniel Shevlin and violist Trevor Wadleigh. Well-Strung's show is directed and co-written by Donna Drake with arrangements by David Levinson. The quartet was formed by producer/co-writer/manager Mark Cortale and Christopher Marchant. Additional arrangements are by Daniel Shevlin, Yair Evnine and Christopher Marchant. ?
For more visit: well-strung.com