By Marilyn Delk
Diana Ladio and Alison Lynn obviously take joy in making music, and spread their joy to everyone within listening distance of the joyous sounds emanating from their instruments as they joyfully do their job. The eclectic world-traveling duo, The Moxie Strings, brought their delightful sound to our community this week, performing for high school students in all local public schools as the final presentation of Darke County Center for the Arts 2021-2022 Arts In Education series. You are invited to partake of their talents tonight, when The Moxie Strings will be in concert at The Coffee Pot in Greenville as part of DCCA’s intimate Coffee House Series which presents highly skilled artists in inviting, cozy settings; tonight’s show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets cost just $10, but are selling fast, so call DCCA at 937-548-0908 now to reserve yours,
Diana Ladio graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Music Performance as well as teaching certification, and has studied with well-known string players from many musical genres; Alison Lynn earned her degree in Cello Performance from Western Michigan University, has studied with renowned cellists, performed with hip-hop icon Kanye West, and played with the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. They have dubbed the eclectic music they write and perform together as “contemporary strings,” a term that doesn’t begin to describe the exciting, entrancing sound they produce from a violin (Diane) and an electric cello (Alison) plus a plethora of pedals, but hints at what they accomplish with appealing verve and amazing skill; plaudits for their energy and vigor moved Diana and Alison to choose The Moxie Strings as the quite appropriate name for their duo.
A spirited rendition of “We Sail At Dawn,” an original tune inspired by The Pirates of the Caribbean films, opened the show; students immediately responded enthusiastically, bobbing their heads in time to the music. All eyes were glued to the charismatic performers as they launched into “Dive In, Go Swimming”; the music moved through many delightful motifs, then seemed to end with a flourish, inspiring rousing applause. However, the music unexpectedly recurred, then seemed to end again resulting in more applause, followed by giggles as the delightful music continued, before at last ending for real. The musicians then admitted to tricking their audience into multiple rounds of applause, as during the COVID-induced hiatus from performing, they had discovered their addiction to hearing that rewarding sound.
Diana explained that her instrument is a violin or a fiddle, depending upon the type of music being played; however, the explanation of her cohort’s instrument was interrupted by Alison repeatedly producing a variety of sounds from her electric cello augmented by sound-altering pedals. After obnoxiously demonstrating how being electrified expands what an instrument can do, Alison masterfully played her own composition, “Day of the Doughnut,” laying down tracks to be recorded and recalled, then being joined by Diana’s violin, ultimately creating the sound of 10 instruments creating an abundance of music that resounded in the auditorium.
During the entire Moxie Strings concert, the genre-bending blend of ear-catching melodies and foot-stomping, rock-influenced rhythms of their original compositions captured and retained the attention of their audience, as did the accessible demeanor and appealing banter of the artists. The charismatic duo admits to “being weird,” following their passion, and achieving success while doing what they feel they were born to do. Soon after being formed, the duo was inspired to not only perform, but also teach, and have dedicated themselves to helping youngsters discover their own unique path to success while following their own individual passion, just as they had done themselves. Diana urged audience members to consider “being weird in your own unique way,” discovering “that thing that makes you special,” then following your dreams to lead a successful life doing what you love.
The performance by these artists doing what they love to do undoubtedly left their audience with indelible joyous memories as well as inspiration to bravely pursue one’s unique destiny, wherever that pursuit may lead. And DCCA’s Arts In Education program once again achieved its mission — inspiring students through the arts.
Marilyn Delk is the former executive director of the Darke County Center for the Arts and can be reached at [email protected] Viewpoints expressed in the article are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.