I Love Cello Day unites musicians to celebrate talents

Andrew Shermoen

This past Saturday, Feb 11 at White Concert Hall a large coalition of cello musicians from Topeka and surrounding areas gathered at White Concert Hall to perform a concert dedicated to the music of the cello. Washburn students conducted and performed alongside Washburn faculty members and younger aspiring cellists as well.

The Washburn University Cello Association assembled six groups together to perform for a large audience. The first group on the program for the day was The End Pins, a large ensemble made up of varying age groups that performed three piece arranged by Washburn adjunct instructor of cello Erin Renyer.

This collection of songs features Georges Bizet’s “The L’Arlesienne March” a well-known French march from the play “L’Arlesienne” by Alphonse Daudet. The play was poorly received, but the music is beloved even to this day. The End Pins followed this up with “Te Deum” a motet from Charpentier that requires immense focus and concentration. The End Pins were replaced on stage by The Rock Stops, who performed Renyer’s arrangement of Dvorak’s “Largo” and a very intriguing rendition of The Beatles “Eleanor Rigby.” Hearing the familiar opening notes of the famed song performed as a piece for cellos gave it an eerier sound than usual. The audience showed much appreciation for this unique take on a classic song from the modern era.

The Wolf Tones then appeared on stage and performed three songs with no conducting to help keep pace, a difficult feat with a large ensemble, yet they persevered and were not hindered performing “DMO” by Shirl Jae Atwell and “Queen of the Night” from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera “Magic Flute.” They finished off their set with a rendition of the theme from the classic television show, “Hawaii Five-O.”

The Fine Tuners appeared next with several different pieces of varying difficulty and tone. One such piece was Astor Piazzolla’s “Libertango,” a piece that mixes accordion and cello and has appeared in many films and shows, most notably Roman Polanski’s “Frantic.” They also performed Edvard Grieg’s “Sarabande.”

The final group of the day was The I Heart Cello Collective who dazzled audiences with their renditions of The Beatles’s “Yellow Submarine” and the explosive, intense and vibrant “1812 Overture” by Pytor Tchaikovsky.

The concert had over one hundred musicians involved in the production and performance of the music and was sponsored by several local cello and string instrument businesses in the Topeka area.

The next concert will be the Washburn Symphony Orchestra and Wind Ensemble. It will be at 7:30 p.m. on, Feb 21 at White Concert Hall.