Cello project holds concert

Music by The Beatles, Ed Sheeran or the Super Mario Bros. theme song may not seem like cello music, but these tunes provided an evening of entertainment as the Liberty University Cello Project performed a number of arrangements at its concert in the Worley Prayer Chapel on April 21.  

This project consisted of a cello quartet made up of students enrolled in MUSC 193. The performers played a number of self-arranged pieces and collaborated with two guests Kristian Morris and Parker Andrews for two songs. 

David Feldman, the director of this event, welcomed guests to the prayer chapel with an introduction of the cello quartet and provided guests with a summary of the event. 

The arrangements created by students were “Nancy Mulligan” by Ed Sheeran (arranged by student Claire Voshel), “I Love You More” by John K. (arranged by Kellan Mozzone), “Zanzibar” by Billy Joel (arranged by Sara Phelps) and “Hamilton: A Choral Medley” by Lin-Manuel Miranda (arranged by Max Foster).  

Throughout the semester, these students worked continuously on their individual arrangements for this concert. 

“The students spent half of the semester arranging a song of their choice for cello quartet, figuring out how to replicate the complex sound they hear on recordings with just four cellos … The student performers spent four hours in the Mathena Studio last week recording these arrangements and learning about the high level of precision required of studio musicians,” Feldman said.

Feldman wants MUSC 193 to equip students with a wide variety of knowledge about music.

“The educational goal of this class is to equip string players with skills in arranging, recording and performing commercial styles of music, so this concert will fulfill the performing facet of this class,” Feldman said.

Throughout their performances, students showed a number of unique techniques. One major technique heard in a majority of these pieces was “chopping,” a staccato motion with the bow against the strings and drumming the outside of the cello to create a unique beat.  

Guests Morris and Andrews, both singer-songwriters and students at Liberty, also contributed to the performance, singing two songs with the accompaniment of the cellist and a guitarist.

The students also played three other unarranged songs, including “Eleanor Rigby” by the Beatles, “Your Mother Should Know” by The Beatles and “The Ground Theme” known as the main theme for Super Mario Bros. by Koji Kondo. 

Feldman said he wanted the concert to showcase both artistic creation and the joy of music.

“Ultimately, I hope that this concert brings joy both to the audience and the performers,” Feldman said. “For us, it’s the type of joy that I believe God feels when he creates. For the audience, I hope it is the joy of experiencing a new creation. I also believe that the audience will leave with a broader picture of what modern string players can achieve, and that we can help to break down the types of cultural elitism that have placed more value on certain styles of music than others.”

Greyson Manor, a student at Liberty who attended this event, said he enjoyed the wide variety of the musical performance. 

“I thought it was really cool,” Manor said. “When I heard of a cello concert, I was expecting slow songs that you normally hear. I was really impressed by the different techniques and skills each cellist showed throughout the concert, especially during the Super Mario Bros. arrangement.”

For more information about the School of Music, students can visit liberty.edu/music.

Tanner is a news reporter. Follow her on Twitter

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