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‘An architect of sound’: Violinist to perform original works and modern covers at Fort Worth concert

 A man plays a violin in a field.
Courtesy photo
Afritina Coker
Armond Vance will perform several original compositions and a handful of old favorites in a concert event titled “Sketches of Freedom” 5 p.m. on Saturday, July 15 at Fort Worth Community Arts Center on 1300 Gendy St.

Violinist Armond Vance often showed up late to health class as a kid. His teacher made an unusual deal for him to make up for it — if he played violin for the class, he wouldn’t be marked tardy.

Vance, who started playing violin at age 12, took the deal. Seeing the reaction he got from his teacher and classmates had him hooked, and he knew then that he wanted to keep performing for a long time.

Now 26, Vance is living out that vision and will be performing at 5 p.m. on July 15 at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center, 1300 Gendy St., in a solo concert he is calling “Sketches of Freedom.”

Wesley Gentle is the executive director and president of Arts Fort Worth, which manages the arts center. He pointed to the successful careers of others who have also performed at Arts Fort Worth like Obie-winning playwright Jordan E. Cooper and Broadway performers Jay Armstrong Johnson and Major Attaway, and said Vance fits right in.

“For over twenty years, Arts Fort Worth has had the honor of showcasing local talent through the Fort Worth Community Arts Center that the rest of the world has since discovered,” Gentle said. “Anyone who keeps up with Armond knows he has the drive, ingenuity and the genuine spirit you often find in wildly successful artists, and I can’t wait to join others in the audience in saying ‘I was there when…’.”

If you go

What: Sketches of Freedom concert
When: 5 p.m. on July 15
Where: Fort Worth Community Arts Center
1300 Gendy St.
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Tickets: $25

The original compositions explore different elements of freedom and music of the African diaspora.

“It’s really fun being an artist, an architect of sound,” he said. “I get to assemble the foundation of the composition from the bassline then adding the harmonies, dynamics and all of the other musical elements.”

One piece titled “Vento Negro,” which translates to black wind in Portuguese, is inspired by Afro-Brazilian music and capoeira, a martial art which blends elements of fighting, dance and spirituality.

The opening motif is meant to mimic the feeling of flying or running through a field, and the middle section moves into a more reflective mood that harks back to his ancestors looking at the stars and dreaming of the future.

“As a Black man living in the present day, granted there are systemic barriers … I still feel like I am my ancestors’ wildest dreams because of the ability to carve my own path in a way they did not have in their day,” he said. “This piece also is trying to evoke that sensation of having the freedom and the internal liberation to decide your own destiny.

In many ways Vance’s career demonstrates the ability to create his own distinct path — the violin and viola player has a wide repertoire that ranges from Bach to Biggie Smalls. This cross-pollination of genres has earned him a wide variety of gigs from performing Ginuwine’s song “Pony” at Dickies Arena during the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo to serenading sold out sessions of “Yoga with a View” at Bass Performance Hall. He has composed and conducted original works and joyfully covers the “Cupid Shuffle” at wedding receptions.

Vance, who also teaches Mariachi and orchestra at William James Middle School, hopes to encourage his students the same way his music instructors and health teacher encouraged him.

“They see me teaching … but never really get to hear me perform. I think it will be a cool experience for them to see that and to also see a future for themselves,” he said. “If they’re interested in pursuing music … I think this will be an awesome opportunity for them to see how a professional musician functions and how you can be your own entrepreneur and really make a career out of it.”

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.