CELLObration Spokane features guest from New York


Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

By Dayana Morales, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Fifty participants took part in CELLObration Spokane this year, consisting of 18 adults and professionals, 10 college students and 22 high school students.

CELLObration is an annual festival that celebrates the cello and music for cello ensemble. This festival began in 2001 and was founded by professor John Marshall.

To gather participants, Marshall sends out information via email to all the schools, all the cello instructors in the area and all his colleagues in the Spokane Symphony. After all the emails go out and participants register online through EWU, the music is then sent out.

Cellists are asked to request a part.

Some of the participants that performed at the CELLObration | Bailey Monteith for The Easterner

“Cello I is the hardest, Cello II is a little bit easier, Cello III is easier, and by the time you get down to Cello IV and V it’s really for those…who’ve only played for two years,” said Marshall. “I try to be inclusive. I am not trying to make it exclusive.”

The festival is a whole day event,  starting at 9 a.m. and ending at 9 p.m.

At 9:30 a.m., there was a large ensemble rehearsal at Recital Hall until noon. After lunch, the cellist returned to the music building and broke up into sectionals.

“Everybody in Cello I goes off to their own room and just works with that principal player, same with Cello II and III, IV and V,” said Marshal. “It’s where they can get more dedicated work. We can talk about fingering and bowings, we really can’t take up that time when it’s the large ensemble.”

From 3 to 4 p.m. the “Perpetual Motion Olympics” Suzuki Seminar with guest artist Amy Sue Barston, from New York, took place. The Suzuki method is the idea that all children have the ability to learn music.

“I am a Suzuki kid, meaning I learned the Suzuki method,” said Barston. “I also teach at Juilliard, but I don’t do any Suzuki stuff there because we don’t have a Suzuki program. I am basically going to talk about what the Suzuki method is, what it offers and why it is important. How you can take a kid from age three and beginning through the Suzuki method all the way up through a graduate student at Julliard. Sort of wide ranging effects of the Suzuki method on the world.”

After that, all participants rehearsed together one more time, they went through sound check, ate dinner, and changed into performance clothes before the concert at 7:30 p.m.

The first half of the concert was six songs performed by Barston and Cellist performing solo’s.

The second half was the full cello ensemble where they performed five songs. They ended the concert with the Star Wars Medley.

“The music is really fun and so is coming together with a lot of people,” senior Arthur Brunnenkant said.

CELLObration Spokane has become the largest annual gathering of cellists in the western United States.