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Valerie Vigoda sings while playing violin

The versatile performer is coming to Clark State.

To play a violin alone is a musical challenge. To do so while singing too opens up another frontier.

Valerie Vigoda is perfecting both as she begins a solo career. Local audiences can experience this unique balance during her Jan. 17 appearance at the Clark State Performing Arts Center.

The 7:30 p.m. performance, appropriate for all ages, is part of the Club Kuss Series, which will include a pre-performance lobby party beginning at 6 p.m. that will include complimentary appetizers and a cash bar.

“It is one of the hardest things I’ve done,” said Vigoda. “It’s like trying to split my brain in half. Every day I work on it and I’m beginning to love it.”

Vigoda has spent years as part of the indie band GrooveLily, along with her husband, Brendan Milburn. She’d wanted to explore her solo possibilities and Springfield will have a chance to see one of her first performances.

“I’m excited. I’ve spent three years putting the program together and it’s been invigorating.”

Vigoda will play originals, including GrooveLily songs, and mash-ups of familiar tunes on her six-string V-shaped electric violin, which she said creates a bigger palette of sound agility, recreating a cello or guitar. It uses the classical violin technique but the difference is in the number of strings, six instead of four.

“It’s an incredible time to be a musician. Ten years ago this technology wasn’t there, so it means learning more all the time.”

Vigoda said she’ll perform some new original material at the Performing Arts Center.

While Vigoda and GrooveLily are known for their indie folk and storytelling side, she’s had her brush with known brands as well.

She’s toured with Tina Turner, Cher and Cyndi Lauper. In addition, her music has been used in Disney’s Tinker Bell series, in addition to a live Toy Story event she wrote songs for, and had one of her songs performed during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

“All these experiences have been incredible training to create something on my own. It will be like rock theater, a pop-rock symphonic sound.”

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