Saturday, September 1, 2018

What It Means to Be An Amateur

At the Adult Strings Weekend in Tuscaloosa during sectionals, Anne Witt asked us why we chose to play the cello.

All of us -- ALL -- said it was because we loved the sound of the cello.

Ann reminded us that the word "amateur" has it's roots in "love:"

 -- late 18th century: from French, from Italian amatore, from Latin amator ‘lover,’ from amare ‘to love.’

She went on to say that she wished some of her students were more in touch with the "love" of the instrument.

Meanwhile, we, the amateurs, wish we were more in touch with the skill to make the beautiful sound we love. 

Working on it!

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Top Ten Rules for Performers

Spotted on bulletin board at Moody Music Bldg.,
University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL

TOP TEN RULES FOR PERFORMERS:

1. Be on time and prepared.
2. Create the need for music.
3. Know what you're saying.
4. It's not an aria, it's a duet.
5. Play the moment.
6. Act before you think.
7. Silence and stillness are golden.
8. If it's obvious, why bother?
9. Screw it up from time to time.
10. The Countess does not wear Crocs (wear appropriate performance attire.)

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Isn't that awesome?! So many of these stand out and demand more thought and  consideration... and you know, I think it applies to far more than musical performance.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Hello, Cello!

Last night was the first group class of the semester, and there were twelve of us in attendance: 11 students and 1 fabulous teacher named Laura Usiskin. Here is a pic, taken by Laura:



Four of us are also participating in Adult Strings Weekend at University of Alabama. We look forward to this all year and are busy preparing for those difficult spots!

This past April, Birmingham Cello Project performed at the reception for Birmingham Arts Journal. We will play for another reception November 1 at Leeds Arts Center. If you'd like some beautiful cello music at your next event, be sure and let us know!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Why Cellists Should Wear Flip Flops

... for when you forget to bring your end-pin anchor. :)

Rebecca -- cellist/creative problem solver!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Amazing Time at Adult Strings Weekend in Tuscaloosa

Three of us attended this year's annual Adult Strings Weekend, and it was a great time!

Here's the set list of the music we worked on:

Christmas Concerto by Arcangelo Corelli, arr. by Sandra Dackow

Amadeus! from Symphony No. 25 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart arr. by Jamin Hoffman

Ludwig's Tango by Richard Meyer

The Sharks of Seville arranged by Deborah Baker Monday

Dontonbori Dash by Alan Lee Silva ... which was inspired by this sign near the Dontonbori river in Osaka, Japan:


To prepare for the weekend, we got the music a few weeks in advance. One of us (thanks, John!) got together recordings of all the pieces, and then we met as a group to play with the recordings. We also got help from our teacher, Laura Usiskin.

The weekend was full of kind, enthusiastic musicians of varying levels of experience. The cello section was quite impressive with at least nine players! Big thanks to the organizers, particularly Anne C. Witt, Jane Weigel and student helpers, for making things run so smoothly! There were coffee angels and photo angels and plenty of snacks and good conversation. What lovely musicians making lovely music! And we were in such good hands with resident conductor Joe Lee, whose musical responsibilities include conducting youth orchestras in Huntsville. It was my first time to be part of a chamber orchestra. I LEARNED SO MUCH.

Great folks, great weekend! Putting next year's dates Aug. 24-26, 2018 on my calendar. Hope you can join us!


Monday, July 17, 2017

Birmingham Cello Project is 1 Year Old!

Our first meetup for Birmingham Cello Project was June 21, 2016. Which means we are officially ONE (plus a month)!


If you'd like to give us a listen, we'll be playing during the reception for Birmingham Arts Journal, this Thursday, July 20, beginning around 6:00 pm at Emmet O'Neal Library. Free!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Birmingham Cello Project Upcoming Performances

We here at Birmingham Cello Project keep rolling along, learning new things each time we gather. It's both fun and frustrating to be a beginner, isn't it? Sharing the experience helps. With that in mind, I am happy to announce two upcoming FREE performances:

Laura Usiskin & Students
 7 pm Wednesday May 24

 UAB's Hulsey Recital Hall
950 13th Street South 
Birmingham, Alabama 35233

This event will include our adult cello group playing a couple of songs, some solo and combo performances by some of Laura's students (all ages), and some pieces by Laura herself!

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Birmingham Cello Project
at the Birmingham Arts Journal Reading/Release Party
6 pm July 20

Emmet O'Neal Library
50 Oak Street
Birmingham, AL 35213

This event also features readings and talks by writers and artists included in the latest issue of Birmingham Arts Journal. Also: food! :)