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5x5 Five Minutes, Five Questions Justin Kauflin

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April is Jazz Appreciation Month and in celebration, the Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville is hosting a month of spectacular musicians. The next show takes place Saturday in Starr Theater: The Justin Kauflin Trio, featuring the child prodigy of the same name. Before Kauflin's performance, visitors also have the chance today to see "Keep On Keepin' On" -- the film, created over five years, the depicts the friendship between Kauflin and his mentor, music legend Clark Terry.

A professional performer by age 6, Kauflin lost his eyesight at age 11. Despite the total loss of vision, Kauflin continued pursuing his passion and the classical musician switched to jazz in high school, wasting no time becoming an award-winning professional jazz pianist. Now Kauflin tours the globe with his trio or for solo performances, and is working on music for his third album.

FAQ

Justin Kauflin Trio

part of the Starrlight Jazz Series

WHEN — 7:30 p.m. Saturday

WHERE — Walton Arts Center, Fayetteville

COST — $30-$50

INFO — 443-5600, waltonartscenter.org, justinkauflin.com

BONUS — “Keep on Keepin’ On” will show at 7 p.m. today in Starr Theater. Tickets are $10.

Kauflin took time out of his touring schedule to answer these questions for What's Up!

Q. How did the world of sound change when you lost your sight?

A. My experience and perception of the world around me didn't change necessarily. What changed was my focus. After I lost my sight completely, many of the things that occupied my time, like outdoor sports, TV and video games, were no longer accessible. So I found myself concentrating more and more on the music. Losing my sight helped me realize how important music was to me, and my passion grew from there.

Q. What is the first piece of music you remember made you want to create music, or had a profound effect on you?

A. My first instrument was the violin. When I was 8 years old, I was given a tape of Pachelbel's "Canon in D." I vividly remember sitting in front of my family's stereo and listening to this piece intently. I was extremely eager to learn it. The second piece that truly caught my ear was (Johann Sebastian) Bach's "Double Concerto for Violin in D minor." Both of these pieces still enrapture me.

Q. Does being blind help or hinder you relationship with an audience?

A. I don't believe my blindness has played any part in my ability to relate to an audience. On stage, my primary hope is to express myself through the music and through my own explanations and context surrounding the pieces I perform. The ability to make eye-contact or to see the audience hasn't enhanced or hindered this.

Q. How do you think seeing the film "Keep On Keepin' On" will influence viewers' connection with your performance?

A. My hope is that folks who have had the chance to see the film will have a deeper connection to the music I play, as well as the story behind some of the music I've written. I'm so grateful that the director, Al Hicks told the story of Clark Terry and myself so honestly. Everything that's portrayed in the film -- the beauty, the friendship, the struggle, the reality of life -- is all true and is the source of much of the inspiration for my music.

Q. What kind of music does Candy (Kauflin's Seeing Eye dog) like? Is there anything she hates?

A. Candy is a sweetheart and a great sport. When I was training with her, I made sure to have some of my musician friends stop by the training facility to make sure Candy was exposed to live music before our session was through. I wanted to make sure she wouldn't be disturbed or uncomfortable with all the noise. After a few minutes, she was fast asleep and snoring. She's shown the same amount of enthusiasm over the 8 years we've been together. It's an absolute joy to have her with me on stage every performance. It also doesn't hurt that she matches and blends perfectly with the piano.

NAN What's Up on 04/14/2017

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