There is a story behind every instrument. Each musician brings their personality and experiences and the instrument gives them a voice. In this next series of blog posts, I plan to share the cellos that I have owned over the years. While that might sound like the written equivalent of watching paint dry, there are points worth sharing and lessons worth learning in each of these chapters.
The first cello I played is the only one I can’t remember; great way to start, right? Like many students here in Indiana, I had the opportunity to pick between orchestra, band, and choir in sixth grade at my school in Hickory, NC. While no one can remember exactly why I picked orchestra and then cello, I like to think it had something to do with the classical music I was exposed to through my dad. My mom knew something about procuring an instrument because one of my older sisters had briefly played saxophone in band. There was a small, local music store that handled the rentals and all that is remembered is that I ended up with some form of cello to start with. My memories of the cello and the first two years of orchestra are foggy at best. Sometime during my seventh grade year we made the decision to buy a cello. What the impulse was, who made the decision, who guided us to an online instrument company, who helped us select cello, case, and bow…almost all of these details are lost. All I know is that I ended up with a “Popper” model cello from William Lewis & Son workshop. I also received an octagonal stick pernambuco bow from the Seifert workshop and one of those massive, plywood-shell, vinyl-covered hard cello cases that weighed about thirty pounds. Little did I know that I had ended up with a perfectly serviceable outfit for learning how to play cello. When eight grade brought Mrs. Sally Ross into my life as the new-to-town orchestra director and cello-teacher-extraordinaire, the stage was set for my love of cello to take hold…but not yet. No, first I needed to travel with this cello to Saudi Arabia for my freshman year of high school in an international school that barely had an orchestra program. The cello miraculously made the trip to and from and was what I used to begin my sophomore year of high school.
Stay tuned for the exciting second installment!
Also, enjoy the infamous “jorts and cowboy hat” school picture from my 8th grade year.