Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Happy Holidays from Birmingham Cello Project

Alyssa Zasada, Irene Latham, Rebecca Cleveland,
Paul Houston, John Nelson, Karen Morris (l-r)

What a great year we had playing together! We met monthly and performed...

Birmingham Arts Journal reception in April
Birmingham Arts Journal reception in November 
Highland Lake Christmas Brunch in December

We look forward to sharing more music together in 2019. 

May your holidays be joyous and bright!

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


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.)

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!