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Artist of the day: Betsy Goode



Roll over, Beethoven, the String Diva rocks. Betsy Goode fuses Mozart and Led Zepplin, Vivaldi and Michael Jackson with her intense playlist of hard rock and classical orchestra on electric cello.

The contrast energizes the tall, blonde entertainer who riffs Beethoven’s Fifth dressed in mini-skirt and black leather stiletto boots.

“I love to find the common element that reaches young and old,’’ Goode said. “Combining musical genres is a neat way to close the gap.”

Last summer, her version of The Devil Went Down to Georgia was a showstopper in “The Rock Tenor” touring concert. If all goes according to plan, Goode expects to join the “popera” artists again in Las Vegas or London.

Dozens of traditional cello bookings have included gigs with Ricky Skaggs, Rod Stewart, Josh Groban, Il Divo , Sarah Brightman and Destiny’s Child. In December her cello solo, Christmas Eve in Sarajevo, opened Trans-Siberian Orchestra concerts in Tampa, New York and New Jersey.

Goode also plays violin and viola and has served in principal positions with Opera Tampa Orchestra, Walt Disney World Symphony Orchestra and numerous Broadway shows at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts. She's also a performer with Tampa's String Divas collective.

“My living room started off as my stage at age 2. Now I entertain crowds of thousands,’’ said Goode, 29, a Gaither High and University of South Florida graduate.

By 6 she was studying cello by the Suzuki Method. From age 9 to 18, Goode studied with Lowell Adams, assistant principal cellist with the Florida Orchestra. Now she teaches cello at Blake High.

But it’s the String Diva who really sparks interest.

“It’s totally different than anyone else,” she says. “Others try to imitate, but you’ve either got it or you don’t.”

-- Amy Scherzer, tbt*

[Last modified: Wednesday, July 28, 2010 3:16pm]


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