Citizens of Newton County will soon be able to groove to the music when electric violinist Ken Ford plays on the Covington Square Friday, Sept. 28.
"I bring a lot of energy at my shows," Ford said. "I run across the stage and around the stage and through the audience. I'm an entertainer. I'm like Usher on the violin."
The free event is presented by the Arts Association in Newton County and will begin at 7 p.m.
"When we program our events, we try to cover as many genres as possible, and we had not had a jazz performance in a while," said Buncie Lanners, executive director of the Arts Association.
Once the Arts Association had decided on a genre, the only obstacle became finding a performer.
"I was asking people about different artists when Eric Lee, pastor of the Springfield Baptist Church, recommended Ken Ford," Lanners said. "He's from Atlanta and has a good fan base in the area, so I thought it was prefect."
While Ford may be grouped in the jazz genre, he considers his music more a blend of modern styles.
"Kind of R&B, hip-hop instrumental," Ford said. "Something you can get up and dance in the isle to."
The Arts Association had been discussing holding a concert outside for a while, Lanners said, which led to the location of Ford's concert. Thanks to sponsorship from several local business, the event will be presented free of charge.
"It's a wonderful way to provide a service to the community," Lanners said.
Ford has played the violin since he was 9 years old and was a founding member of the DeKalb Youth Pop Orchestra. He moved on to play with the DeKalb Symphony Orchestra and the African American Philharmonic Orchestra, where he played with Barry White.
Despite his classical training, Ford's true passion was contemporary jazz. About 10 years ago, he decided to quit his job as a computer program and work on his music fulltime.
"That was when I committed myself to becoming the best violinist I could be," Ford said.
To achieve that goal, Ford played every event he could book in the years to follow and made a decent living with his craft, but he still had his doubts about future success.
"Not until I let my doubts go and realize this is obviously what I was supposed to be doing did I truly find success," Ford said.
Ford can now pick and choose when and where he plays. In the past, Ford has played with Wyclef Jean on "VH-1 Storytellers." The pair performed an acapella duet of "'til November" from Wyclef's album "The Carnival." Ford also performed a tribute to Stevie Wonder just before a performance by the living legend himself at the home of baseball great Hank Aaron. Ford has also released two solo albums, "Burnt Toast" and "Chevelle Lane."
For more information about Ford, visit www.kenford.net. For more information about the concert and other Arts Association events, please visit www.newtoncountyarts.org.