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Joshua Bell shares his spark / HamptonRoads.com

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The tuxedoes with tails and the white ties had to go. Early in his career, Joshua Bell decided that to connect with those who were perhaps intimidated by the ceremonious world of classical music, he'd have to shed some of the formality as he played sweepingly melodic compositions on his 300-year-old Stradivarius violin.

He felt more relaxed in a button-down shirt and slacks or a sharp suit as he performed the works of the world's greatest composers, sometimes introducing them with witty anecdotes and interesting insights. Anything Bell can do to remove the stuffy veil while respecting the music, even playing anonymously in a baseball cap inside a Washington, D.C., subway station, he's more than willing to try. READ THE FULL HamptonRoads ARTICLE and see him play with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts this weekend.