Every seat in the Music Building’s recital hall was filled. By the time 7:30 rolled around and the CELLObration Spokane concert was slated to start, audience members were still trickling in, filling in the back of the hall and spilling into the aisles
On Jan. 17 John Marshall, D.M., professor of cello at Eastern and principal cellist with the Spokane Symphony Orchestra, welcomed the full house to listen to over fifty high school and middle school students, college students and, according to Marshall, “about three quarters of the Spokane Symphony” play a 90 minute concert.
The concert opened with Franz Schubert’s “Quintet in C Major, Op. 163.” Marshall waxed poetic about his love of the piece, for which he played one of the two cello parts, introducing the second movement as “the picture of stillness” and the third movement as “19th century rock ‘n’ roll.”
The Quintet was followed by a short intermission after which local high school and middle school students, along with cellists from both EWU and WSU joined professional musicians from the Spokane Symphony to play various dances, classical and pop music arrangements for cello. Three of the pieces were arranged by Marshall himself.
“The high school students came from all over the Spokane schools, and also included some students from the Tri-Cities and Coeur d’Alene schools,” said Marshall. “My goal is to get cello students from as far across the region as possible.”
Marshall said similar cello festivals take place in the midwest and eastern U.S. which are larger than CELLObration, and Central Washington University holds its own biennial cello celebration. Still, CELLObration, which started in 2001, holds the distinction of being “the largest annual cello gathering in the west.”
The concert ended with “CELLObration Girls,” an arrangement by Marshall of the 1965 pop hit “California Girls,” by The Beach Boys.