ADVANCE FOR SATURDAY, AUG. 16 - Violinist Dextorist Timmons poses for a photo July 21, 2014, in Fayetteville, N.C. Timmons graduated from Reid Ross Classical and will be attending Elizabeth City State University. Much of his tuition will be paid by the money he has raised playing his violin on the streets of Fayetteville. (AP Photo/The Fayetteville Observer, Dillon Deaton)  MAGS OUT, NO SALES
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Dillon Deaton

ADVANCE FOR SATURDAY, AUG. 16 - Violinist Dextorist Timmons poses for a photo July 21, 2014, in Fayetteville, N.C. Timmons graduated from Reid Ross Classical and will be attending Elizabeth City State University. Much of his tuition will be paid by the money he has raised playing his violin on the streets of Fayetteville. (AP Photo/The Fayetteville Observer, Dillon Deaton) MAGS OUT, NO SALES

Fayetteville street violinist popular after video

The Associated Press

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FAYETTEVILLE — It’s been a busy week for Dextorist Timmons.

Since a video and story on the 18-year-old street violinist appeared in The Fayetteville Observer and on its website Aug. 6, Timmons has been trying to keep up with the response.

“It’s been kind of hectic. There have been sleepless nights when I have to stay and read what people are putting on the comments and message boards,” Timmons said. “I’m just humbled to be in this type of predicament.”

The video, shot by Observer photographers Dillon Deaton and Abbi O’Leary, details Timmons’ philosophy of trying to bring a positive outlook to a troubled community. Timmons says he wants to reach 30 million people through his music in his lifetime.

“There’s more to the people in the city than killing, robbing and stealing,” Timmons says in the video. “As long as I can bring you away from all that and connect with you through your spirit, through your mind, through your heart - yeah, that means I’m doing something big, I’m doing something positive.”

The video has been shared more than 8,500 times, an Observer record. The post has reached nearly a million people, meaning it showed up in their news feed and was potentially seen by them.

On the Observer’s Facebook page, the video garnered more than 2,800 “likes,” with most posters praising Timmons’ positive outlook.

“Wow, you’re just an awesome young man,” wrote one poster. “Keep doing what you’re doing and soon people will really start to listen.”

“I saw you playing at Walgreen’s and you stopped playing the song you were playing and switched to ‘Happy’ for my children,” wrote another. “Thank you, and don’t ever stop!”

Timmons, who bills himself as the “Violin Wizard,” said he is awed by all the positive feedback.

“I get at least 20 notifications a day now, just from the video,” he said. “It’s crazy. It’s still going, too.

“They were telling me that I’m a blessing, that they’re happy that there’s somebody in Fayetteville that’s trying to help,” Timmons said. “I’m getting a lot of offers from different organizations, asking me to play at their events. Photographers want to work with me.”

Timmons said a chef from Charlotte invited him to play at a food tasting. Another person extended an offer for Timmons to join a jazz band, and a church invited him to an open-mic night. Some have recommended he take his positive message to schools as a motivational speaker.

“My Violin Wizard page on Facebook has really been blowing up,” Timmons said.

All the attention comes as Timmons is preparing to say goodbye to Fayetteville, at least for a while. He leaves today for Elizabeth City State University, where he plans to study music performance.

But Timmons said he will visit Fayetteville frequently and hopes to fulfill as many of the offers as he can.

“I might have to just bring my books and stuff if I go someplace,” he said. “I’m definitely going to make it work.”