Multi-instrumentalist, composer and steel drum virtuoso Jonathan Scales brings his ensemble, Fourchestra, to Diana Wortham Theatre (DWT) on Saturday, May 4, at 8 p.m. The show will benefit children through the theatre’s Youth Education Scholarship (Y.E.S.) Fund and feature the 2019 Y.E.S. Emerging Artists Fund scholarship recipients during the performance.
“Jonathan is a local artist, musical innovator and wonderful fit for our Y.E.S. Fund concert,” says DWT community engagement director Jared McEntire. “His mastery of the steel pans shows what can be achieved through dedication and passion for self-expression through performance.”
Fourchestra’s fluid lineup has allowed Scales to work with a wide range of artists and to earn the respect of some of the most impressive players across multiple genres with his unique approach to an instrument often associated with cruise ships and tropicalia. His recordings have featured special guest performances from Victor Wooten, Howard Levy, Jeff Coffin and Kofi Burbridge. Fourchestra’s self-titled 2013 debut album on Ropeadope Records, fully orchestrated with horns and strings, was a follow-up to the trio’s three independent releases. The subsequent album, Mixtape Symphony, peaked at number six on the iTunes jazz charts.
“I was first exposed to the steel pan when I arrived as a freshman at Appalachian State University,” says Scales. “A friend of mine finally convinced me to try it and I just fell in love with the tone, the hand and body motions of playing and the sense of community that comes with being in an ensemble like that.”
Scales’s innovation on the steel drums has been compared to Béla Fleck’s transformative mastery of the banjo. For the May 4 concert, Fourchestra will use horns, strings and drums to create a global, genre-bending, funk-rock-jazz beat. The band will integrate the work of the Y.E.S. Emerging Artist award winners into the performance.
The Y.E.S. Emerging Artists Fund is a program to support young performers by providing scholarships for graduating high school seniors pursuing a career in the performing arts. A limited number of Emerging Artists Fund scholarships beginning at $1,000 each will be awarded to finalists during the concert.
“Financial assistance is incredibly helpful, but this award also helps to validate the hard work and training that leads these young performers to pursue a career in the arts,” says McEntire. “Performing at the Y.E.S. concert provides the award recipients another opportunity to validate their passion by showcasing their craft to the public, along with the chance to interact in a show setting with a professional artist.”
Diana Wortham Theatre is located at 18 Biltmore Avenue in Asheville. Tickets are $20–$35. To purchase tickets or learn more, visit DWTheatre.com or call 828.257.4530.