Guest artists bring their talent and creativity to Fine Arts Week
March 2, 2023
Each year, professional artists and musicians from across the country travel to share their craft at Fine Arts Week. This year, Dan Konopka, York alum and drummer of OK Go, and Anne Harris, local American Roots violinist and vocalist, will be performing during Fine Arts Week.
Konopka’s band, OK Go, gained traction with their 2005 album “Here It Goes Again.” The band’s fame grew even more with the release of the music video for the title track. It showed the band’s imaginative side with choreographed moves on treadmills. The band learned their self expression would jumpstart their careers, with the music video gaining 60 million views on YouTube.
“Keep making the stuff you want to make because you never know, there might be the one thing you never thought was going to do it that gets you world exposure,” Konopka said.
For OK Go, that video got them more than just exposure; they won a Grammy award in 2007 for Best Music Video. However, for Konopka, the best part of his career was the impact these videos had on students.
“We found out there were a lot of teachers all over the world using our music videos as teaching aids,” Konopka said. “They would write us letters and say ‘the video you did with the Rube Goldberg machine has got a lot of simple science and physics that we can use in our classrooms.’”
Like Konopka, Anne Harris made herself known in the early 2000s. She created a unique sound in the Chicago music scene; incorporating violin and defying genre stereotypes. She toured globally with blues singer Otis Taylor for nine years and was on the Grammy Awards board for two years. She currently lives in Elmhurst, recording at her home studio and performing her original music.
“When I play music I’m fielding expressions from different disciplines like movements,” Harris said. “I’m also tapping into how the music is moving me emotionally in that moment.” The list of Harris’s influences go all across the board. Her youth involved studying classical violin, while also immersed in her parents’ eclectic taste in music that included funk, R&B, and rock. She also studied musical theater at the University of Michigan before going on tour. Harris describes her own music as American Roots: an umbrella of a musical genre that includes blues, rock, folk, and Americana music.
“It’s such an honor – I think when you’re a hustling artist, all you do is hustle all the time and when you’re done with any job you think, ‘it might be my last, I might never work again,’” Harris said. “When someone feels that you have value to give something back – that someone could be positively influenced by something you say, or a performance, that your work could be a value to someone else or someone who is just starting, that’s the highest honor.”
Konopka will be performing Friday during periods 3 and 4 in the auditorium, playing drums along with student band The Pool. Harris will be performing on Wednesday during period 5 in the band room, playing violin, mandolin and singing, with cellist and bassist Ryan Carney and guitarist Ernie Hendrickson.
“If I could have one wish for people after I play, it would be to give them a lift of vibration,” Harris said. “I want to have a positive impact on someone. When I’m making music that’s a conscious projection because music is the vibration that reaches people in a magical way, outside of language, outside of logic, it has a way of going straight to our emotions and uniting people.”