2016-02-11 / Around Town


Meet Chris Carbone
By Mark Gorman

Many musical experiences are “one way.” The artist plays a song, and the audience listens – or pretends to – and applauds when the tune is finished. But this week’s featured musician leads his listeners through an interactive session where the audience and the performer are equal partners. Meet Christopher Carbone.

“I use music as a vehicle to share the joy of creativity and community. I’m a facilitator. It’s not me simply performing; rather, I lead the group through a participatory musical experience,” Carbone explained.

He and his wife, Katherine, conduct music workshops for both children and adults through their organization, Arts in Celebration. A typical performance includes singing and movement and is always rhythm-based.

“I love working with families. I’m an educator, and research shows that children pick up music if their parents engage in musical activities. I want to empower parents to be musical with their children, which helps to connect the left and right sides of children’s brains. The potential benefits of that are limitless,” he said.

Mark Gorman is a retired high school guidance counselor and guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week. Mark Gorman is a retired high school guidance counselor and guitarist-vocalist who performs locally each week. I have had the pleasure of attending one of his workshops and can confirm that it was truly enriching. Carbone sang interactive songs with a call and response and passed out percussion instruments to help teach kids about rhythm. As he played his guitar he encouraged everyone to move their hands and feet. It is impossible to be involved in one of his workshops and leave without feeling energized.

He didn’t start out to be a musician and performer. In fact, he describes himself as an accidental musician. His dad played accordion and his grandmother enjoyed Italian songs and sang in the church choir. Both of his brothers play instruments. But Carbone was always drawn to the theater, earning a master’s degree at NYU in theater and performance.

For the past 14 years, the facilitator has been teaching at Salve Regina in the university’s expressive arts program. “I love teaching there. It’s a great opportunity to train other people through the arts for the purpose of building a better world,” he revealed.

There are two upcoming opportunities to take part in a Christopher Carbone workshop, and both are part of the Newport Winter Festival (newportwinterfestival.com). On Tuesday, Feb. 16, he will hold a Teddy Bear Tea, featuring creative stories and songs of the wonders of winter. It’s at 11 a.m. at Newport Harbor Hotel; admission is $3 or free with a festival bracelet. Then, on Thursday, Feb. 18, Carbone will host a Wintertime Celebration, featuring live music, treats and refreshments at 10 a.m. at Hotel Viking. Admission is $3 or free with a festival bracelet. Visit arts-in-celebration.com for more information.

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