What are we up to?
THIS is the latest incarnation of the Cello Mafia! We are a multi-age, multi-level, multi-school cello ensemble in Missoula. For our latest performance, we were 18 strong and played Michael Jackson, Leonard Cohen, and George Michael. Many thanks to the wonderful musicians and teachers at C.S. Porter, Meadow Hill, and the South Side Symphony for inviting us to join in the fun! And extra special thanks to Britta Thomas for her cello expertise and Ryan Belski for sitting in on guitar.
What a great night of music! BRAVO!
Thanks, Angel Hughes, for the video!
We are thrilled to have been invited to join Mr. Kirk Easter's 7th & 8th Grade Holiday Orchestra Concert this Thursday, Dec 8 at 7pm (free show!). These 10 cellists have been practicing hard to put together three tunes for this show - a Pixies song, a Leonard Cohen premiere, and another premiere of this little holiday favorite >>> but this is just a little teaser >>> TO HEAR ALL THREE, YOU HAVE TO COME CHECK US OUT THIS THURSDAY!!
With all the crazy in the world right now, I feel extra thankful for my family, my friends, my students, and for the music that continues to make my world turn. To you and yours, I wish you a peaceful and cozy Thanksgiving!
Jessica was joined this year by two of her fantabulous students, Lillian and Lydia. They could be seen walking down Higgins Avenue with celli in tow while sound mastermind, Jeremy, pushed a coffin holding an amp, generator, and effects pedals to create the dark soundscapes that echoed through downtown Missoula on Wednesday, Nov 2nd. This performance was to honor the loss of Jessica's good friend and fellow cellist, Jennifer Collins.
Say hello to Maria, Lilly, Kincaid, Josey, Tait, Jessica, Lydia, and Lillian (not pictured are Kaydn and Iggy)! This is a multi-age, multi-level student cello ensemble that has been meeting once per week over the summer to work up some very challenging arrangements of some great tunes. We are gearing up to have our performance debut at Home Resource's Spontaneous Construction on Sat, Sept 17th! 1-1:30pm! Hope to see you there.
Check out a clip from our rehearsal today - in honor of "International Play Music On Your Porch Day"
: - )
Curious about all the things the homeschool community has to offer? Then this is the place to be! Grow Music - Missoula will be offering a string instrument "petting zoo" and giving performance demos all day long! *Click the flyer for more info!
Meet James. He requested that June be his time to shine in the spotlight - so here he is!!
James is 8, going on 34. He's a mellow dude who's got grit, ambition, and seems perfectly comfortable in his skin. He likes to fiddle, especially when we play stuff in harmony or try chord changes. He doesn't like to spend too much time repeating one tune, so I've got to keep it moving along while being stealth about aiming for good technique! But those chord changes keep him focused and excited!
The favorite tune he's learned so far is "Boil em Cabbage Down" and he is most excited to get to the end of Book 2 so he can learn "Wimowhea - The Lion Sleeps Tonight." He can play a mean "Old Joe Clark" and a beautiful "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star."
When not hanging out with his fiddle, he likes to swim and ski. He is part of a wonderfully supportive and musical family - check out his sister Lillian's spotlight! - and he loves to collect bugs, especially butterflies. Keep up the good work, James!!
Ah!!! These four little fiddlers just about make my heart explode! We meet before class once a week at Clark Fork School and they are such a beam of sunshine to begin my day.
These four young gals are working very hard on "Eek Eek Eek" and "I'm a Little Monkey" for their end-of-the-year debut performance!
We also like to sing folk songs, play with rhythm sticks, and take on the challenging feat of bean bag balancing.
Go, Little Fiddlers!!
This is Laurel! She has been taking cello lessons for about 15 months after a 14-year hiatus. She played as a kid into high school but in her words..."became too cool for cello and music classes" so she stopped. She held onto her cello and to a desire to get back into it ever since.
And here she is - nearly 15 years later - preparing for her solo cello debut! She is playing her first recital in mid-May and I couldn't feel more proud for her. I admire her courage not only to work hard on the music she selected for this performance (which she is ROCKING, btw) but also then to share it with her friends, family, and community. That is what it's all about!!
She told me today that this recital is special for another reason, too. It will mark her 1st anniversary of sobriety. Awesome.
I am in awe of her major courage, major strength, and major commitment to taking better care of herself! And of her major love for playing the cello. (There are def minor moments, too - It is the cello, after all. We cellists love us some minor modes.)
Grow Music has partnered up with Imagine Nation Brewery to offer a BEGINNING FIDDLE CLASS FOR ADULTS!! Have you always wanted to learn how to play? - well, now's your chance!
This is going to be a super fun, low pressure class to get you started off right in the world of string playing. The beer is optional, of course, but we do find it serves as an effective lubricant for all the squeaky sounds. Join us - sign up here today!
Give the gift of music and it will last a lifetime! Order yours here today!
These two tiny fiddlers came to class early today and just couldn't wait to get started! They warmed my heart with their singing, tapping, and bowing on their brand new fiddles. So much fun!
Four wonderful young cellists - Lillian, Lydia, Mayana, and Tait - from the Grow Music private studio participated in this year's MMTA Spring Festival, held at the University of Montana. Each cellist played their absolute best in the adjudication where they got some useful tips and feedback from Hermes Padilla Beltran, who is filling in as Violin Professor this semester at UM. Tait and Lillian were then invited to perform the following day in a public recital that showcased some of the great young talent in voice, piano, and strings that we have in Missoula! It was a great event!
Meet the silliest fiddlers on this side of the Appalachians. I'm talking about Adelaide and Delaney - they're both 6 years old and an absolute hoot! Who says music lessons aren't fun? 'Cuz these girls sure know how to roll when it comes to having a good time - and learning something, too!
They've been sharing a semi-private lesson for almost a year, which is how they met. But today, in their "I'm-gonna-be-famous!" and "They'll-even-see-me-in-India?" spotlight interview, we learned that they also have a bunch in common. Both girls like singing, skiing, math, and soccer and they share some favorite fiddle tunes like, "Green Grass Grows" and "Shortnin' Bread." But Delaney likes "Frère Jacques," while Adelaide prefers "Boil 'Em Cabbage Down."
These two are doing a magnificent job with their learning, they compliment one another so well, and I can see they inspire each other to do their individual best every week. I always look forward to spending time with them each Wednesday!
A couple things they'd like you to know:
Adelaide likes fairies A LOT and wants to be a Rock Hound (Geologist) when she's older.
Delaney doesn't like pirates (most of the time) and plans to be a Soccer playing Professional Artist Teacher who Skis.
Chelsea Pierce is a Montana native who enjoys an active performance and teaching schedule across Montana and the Pacific Northwest. She recently earned her Bachelor of Music degree in Violin Performance from the University of Montana and currently can be seen playing with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra.
When not practicing, Chelsea enjoys studying violin pedagogy and teaching violin to her studio of young students in both private lesson and group class settings. She has participated in violin pedagogy classes and workshops with Margaret Baldridge and Brenda Brenner. We are thrilled to have her on board! Welcome, Chelsea!
Tiny Tots with Fiddles and Grow Music Missoula has made it to ONE YEAR!! Yay!!
I've enjoyed getting to know your kiddos and exploring the beginnings of their musical journeys with them. It's been a joy. Thanks, Missoula!! - Jessica Catron
Meet Jack. He's five years old and is in the "Little Fiddlers" class at Clark Fork School. Jack is a fun-loving kid with an ultra-sweet disposition. He's an attentive listener and approaches his fiddle with a confident and calm spirit.
His favorite thing about fiddle is what he calls "free fiddling" - when he plays fast and crazy. His favorite song on the fiddle is "Eek! Eek! Eek!"
Someday, he would like to learn the theme to Ghostbusters and Shake it Off by Taylor Swift on his fiddle.
Other things that Jack likes are playing with his friends at school, biking, building with Legos, reading books, eating sweet treats and burritos.
OK. So, I'm just like a beaming ball of sunshine right now. Like a proud parent...........of 80+ children.
Before I moved to Missoula 2 1/2 years ago, I lived in Los Angeles. I was there nearly 15 years and spent the last 8 of them teaching music for a wonderful organization called the Harmony Project. This is where YOLA (Youth Orchestra Los Angeles) was born, in partnership with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.
It was through YOLA that I was graced to start over 34 young cellists and work with the string sections of 4 youth orchestras. I was with these kids from their very first music lesson - to working with them 4-5 days per week for nearly 6 years - until I moved to Montana to raise family of my own. We worked on cello, we worked in orchestra, chamber music, solo repertoire, fiddle tunes, music theory, improvisation. I loved this job and all the families involved. We were together A LOT.
Now - this news!!!
Gustavo Dudamel and Youth Orchestra L.A.'s Super Bowl halftime show will be a win for the arts
TEN of my cello students, along with other wonderful young musicians from YOLA will be taking the stage at the Superbowl Halftime show! I couldn't be more proud of these kids and how far they have come. They work so hard and are so dedicated, it's just been a joy all-around to see them grow, becoming knowledgeable and successful musicians. And what an opportunity!! WOW.
SO PROUD. : ))))))
UPDATE: What a wonderful opportunity for these equally wonderful kids. Watch this touching video and meet Lilliana, Juliana, and Matthew...all three of whom I worked with for nearly 8 years at YOLA! I gave Matthew his very first cello lesson probably 6 years ago! YOLA is playing with Coldplay this Sunday for the Superbowl Halftime show!! (In the video - The woman conducting the orchestra in the blue scarf next to Chris Martin of Coldplay is the new cello teacher there now - gotta say that made me wish I was the one standing there! AHHH!!)
SEE IT HERE:
Meet Lillian. She will be turning 13 years old next month and started playing the cello when she was 10. She has a fierce appetite for music, loves all styles and genres, and has a deep enthusiasm for playing her cello. She's a hard worker, likes to share her thoughts and ideas, and approaches every new piece and musical challenge with a "can do" attitude...it's fantastic!
Her favorite pieces, thus far, have been Two Grenadiers and La Cinquantaine. Her dad tells me Lillian often plays for him while he cooks and they are two of his top requests, as well! And music is certainly a family affair - her brother plays a mean fiddle, her sister is quite a force on the bassoon, and her mother is an accomplished pianist (with a side of flute).
When asked what she loves about the cello, Lillian says, "When I play the cello, I feel open...It calms me down and relaxes me. I love the hard stuff, I love shifting, and I'm not afraid of making the mistakes."
Here is a clip of her playing Scherzo. Go, Lillian!!
We are thrilled to be bringing early childhood music education classes to Origins! Beginning in February, both Tiny Fiddlers and Young Fiddlers group music classes will be offered at Origins Preschool on Thursday mornings. More info on our classes page! And click the logo above to learn about this wonderful school!
musings from Fiddleland