Cellists Emily Faris, Courcelle Stark, Kaylee Lino, and Kurran Singh performed last summer at Highfield Hall in Falmouth.
Everyone loves the exquisite, warm, expressive sound of a cello. What could be better than hearing four of them together, played with dedication and enthusiasm by talented young students? Easy… Two cello quartets!
On Saturday, January 28, at 7 PM, two quartets of talented young cellists will perform a benefit concert at the Woods Hole Public Library. All eight cellists are students of Nikki Patton of the Chappaquoit Cello Studio in West Falmouth.
The Chappaquoit Cello Quartet is made up of high school students: Emily Faris from Nauset High School and Courcelle Stark, Kurran Singh, and Kaylee Lino all from Falmouth High School.
The group will play works by Telemann, Palestrina, Critelli, and MacDowell.
The students have been performing together for a little over a year now. Several of them also play in the Repertory Orchestra of the Boston Youth Symphony, have partcipated in summer cello workshops, and in Soundfest, the annual chamber music festival at Falmouth Academy led by the Colorado String Quartet.
A quartet of younger students will open the concert for the Chappaquoit Cello Quartet. The younger players are in the fourth and fifth grade in Falmouth: Celeste Newman, Qianlong Xu, Nell Bowen, and Ava Warner. Most have been playing the cello since they were 5 or 6 years old.
Celeste Newman, Qianlong Xu, Nell Bowen, and Ava Warner rehearse for the concert in Patton’s cello studio. They will be playing from memory, without relying on sheet music.
The younger quartet will perform French Folk Song, Allegro by Shinichi Suzuki, and Minuet No. 2 by J.S. Bach.
Jennifer Gaines of the library was effusive in her praise for all the cellists and for their teacher, Nikki Patton: “Hearing and seeing her students perform is proof enough of the excellence of her teaching. Not only are the students musically talented and trained, but also their poise and self-confidence are obvious, certainly a result of the nurturing and teaching which Nikki has given them.”
Nikki Patton (who is also my cello teacher) has been teaching out of her home since she moved to Falmouth about 18 years ago. She operated a branch of Johnson String Instrument in Queen’s Buyway for seven years.
Nikki said there were many benefits for students who play together, including learning to play in ensembles, learning to hear other players and oneself better, and playing in time, together, and learning to play expressively.
It is a wonderful experience to be part of the “ocean of sound” in an orchestra or ensemble, to be part of something larger, to know that “every person in the group matters.”
Or, her students put it, “It is way more fun” and “more friendly.”
Nikki teaches cellists of all ages, from 4 up. She has a 90-year-old student and several who have started, or restarted cello in adulthood or retirement. Every student progresses at his or her own pace, she said.
Her job, she said, is to inspire, to show her students how to bring out the”soulful sound” of the cello. It is not an easy instrument to learn, but the rewards are plentiful, for the student and the audience.
Jennifer describes the joy of listening to the cellists: “To the outside observer, the performance of these students is nothing short of miraculous. I have listened spell-bound as they performed one melodic classical piece after another. Not only are the students so young and talented, but, to my ears, the music composed for cellos is in such an attractive and robust register. Also, it is an unusual pleasure to listen to a concert entirely of cellos, making the listener more attuned to the range and delight of the music composed for this instrument.”
The concert will take place in the main room of the library, which will be transformed into a concert hall by moving out book shelves (they are on casters) and tables, and bringing in chairs. When the library was reconstructed in 1990, Jennifer said, they built in this flexibility to create a concert space with excellent acoustics.
The concert is open to the public and benefits the library. Tickets for the concert will be available at the door; the suggested donation for admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $ 15 for families. For more information, call the library at 508-548-8961 or visit www.woodsholepubliclibrary.org.
I am quite sure this will be a very remarkable and inspiring event, because I have heard many of Nikki’s students perform over the last several years, including the author of this blog, my very talented wife, Marilyn. A single cello, and cellist can give a wonderful performance, but a quartet of the ages of these two groups will provide a very unique listening experience.