Last week we left me with a beautiful cello from Michael Koeberling, but feeling like I had broken my own rule to get it and found myself with another lovely sounding cello that didn’t quite have what my heart wanted.

The three years I played this cello found all kinds of instruments passing through the shop.  I played cellos from the most celebrated modern makers, famous old Italians, and everything in between.  One cello that passed through was a cello by David Folland that he made in 2006.  The playing characteristics and tone of that cello just seemed to “click” with the way I play cello.  I ended up selling that cello, but it served to establish a relationship with both David Folland and bow maker Matthew Wehling who both live and work around Northfield, MN.  The shop was finally in a position to commission a cello from David in early 2018.  Again, this was a commission for the shop – the plan was to sell the cello through Encore.  In the early fall of 2019, David Folland cello no.221 was complete.  I traveled to Northfield to pick it up and instantly felt the same synergy I felt with his 2006 cello.  However, I wasn’t in the financial position to purchase this cello without selling my Koeberling, which I still didn’t feel free to do because of the association with my dad.

In November of 2019, I took a sales trip to North Carolina and brought the Folland along.  The routing of the trip allowed me to stay a few nights with my parents.  I wanted to share the sound of the Folland with them and took it out of the case.  From across the room, my mom exclaimed that she found it incredibly beautiful.  I began playing, noodling through scales and snippets from different pieces.  After I played the opening to the Elgar cello concerto, my dad practically yelled, “You MUST have that cello!  I have NEVER heard you sound like before!”  I told him I would need to sell my current cello and I didn’t know if I wanted to do that because of our trip.  He said, “Sell it! The treasure from that trip isn’t the cello, it is the time we spent together!”

Have I ever mentioned how great my parents are?

So this is where we say hello to “Sam”, my David Folland cello.  In my mind, heart, and soul, I feel done with the journey that led me here.  Now I am only excited about the journey of the coming decades, getting to know Sam as well as I can.  My technique isn’t what it was twenty years ago, but I look forward to building it back up as Sam and I do what I always strive to do when I’m playing – make “pretty cello sounds”.

Stay tuned for next week when I try to summarize some of the lessons I’ve learned.