By Kate Quesada
Orchestra students throughout the area have an opportunity to learn from a musician with a very impressive resume next month thanks to Barrington Middle School.

Barrington Orchestra Director SuLing Chau Caballero is working to bring Mark Wood, a Julliard trained musician and founding member of the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, who has worked with famous musicians from Billy Joel and Paul McCartney to Kanye West and Lenny Kravitz, to Lithia to teach students through his Electrify Your Strings (EYS) program. “Last year I had the opportunity to attend the American String Teacher Association annual conference in Tampa, and watched a workshop with Mark,” said Caballero. “He has designed the EYS program as a way to boost self-esteem and transform students into more expressive musicians.”

After watching Wood, Caballero was motivated to bring him to the area to help her students with the program’s two-day workshop and concert in late April.

“Teachers from around the United States who worked with Mark have shared how EYS increases family and community engagement of their school orchestra program,” said Caballero. “I was really inspired by the excitement I witnessed in the students he was working with and the joy they were exuding through their playing.”

The cost for the program, including Wood’s artist fees, lodging, transportation and other concert related expenses, is approximately $50 per student. Caballero is hoping to raise these funds through sponsorships, T-shirt sales and a practice-a-thon event.

“When making the decision on spending the time and money to bring Mark to our school, one of the deciding factors was that the cost of EYS is considerably more affordable than taking students on a spring trip,” said Caballero. “Secondly, I know that EYS will have more of an educational impact on the students for years to come. It will push them to reach new performance goals, give them an opportunity to work cooperatively with students from around the county and forge lifelong friendships.”

According to Caballero, there are currently 157 students registered to participate from Barrington and other local middles schools including Benito, Burns, Randall and Progress Village. The group is still searching for a venue to host the workshop and anyone with suggestions is encouraged to contact Caballero. Sponsorships will be accepted through the end of March. For information, visit or contact Caballero at

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Kate Quesada
Assignment Editor Kate Quesada started working at the Osprey Observer in 2004 after graduating from the University of South Florida with a masters degree in Mass Communications. Since then, she has held various positions at the paper and has been working as the assignment editor since January 2020. She lives in Lithia with her husband Mike and sons Dylan and Max and stays active in the community on school PTA boards and volunteering with local organizations.