Sunday, December 07, 2008


Christmas Gigs

I just finished a brief gig at a local High School choir concert. Our cello quartet played a handful of Christmas pieces while the audience was getting seated and the choir filed in behind us. Then we played our formal piece, "Carol of the Bells", which was arranged for cellos by Terry (also known as Chiddler in the ICS forums). That went well. Thanks so much Terry, from all of us. :)

Yesterday Cellocracy played for the better part of three hours a local Visitor's Center, while Santa was available for the kids. Sadly, not too many people showed, but we had a good time.

Two more events: one with our orchestra a week from Friday, and then Cellocracy plays a private Christmas party the next day.

Wow, y'all pulled CotB off? Who played the first part; I'm impresssed. I don't think I'd be willing to play that 1st part in public yet. Did he/she do it thumb position (that's how I'd do it), or up and down the A-string? Pinkie for the high Es, or shift?
We looked long and hard at that 1st part. In fact we first learned the piece with a viola taking the top part. But after she left and another cello joined us we realized we just wouldn't be able to play it that way; at least not in the near future.

After discussions with our coach (a pianist and violist) we tried it with that first part taken down an octave. We all liked how it sounded, with the blended cello-y richness of four cellos.

We worked on this piece for quite some time and found a groove that seemed to work for us.

Again, many thanks for the score, Terry. :)
Great, it was smart to put that down an octave. At this point, for me, believe it or not, thumb position is getting easier and easier. It seemed thoroughly impossible when I started working on it, maybe two years ago, but for about three months I put in time on thumb position everyday. Even then it seemed to be coming slowly, but now when I come back to it, it's falling into place. It seems as if there's things we just have to forget and re-learn, and then one wonders why it was a problem.
Terry, would you be able to post that arrangement again, or send it to me directly? I checked the old links on Cello Chat but the linked page no longer comes up. Now that I'm working with other cellists again I'd love to take a shot at it... if not this year, then next!
Coming up, Ms. Owl. I'll put it into my blog,, but that might not be for a day or two. I can email it to you if you'd like. I'd send you a response from terrygucwa - at -

By the way, I also have an O Holy Night arrangement for four cellos (transcription is a better word for it, it's not terribly original). In that case, I think it's the 4th part, the low part, that's the most challenging. I've been meaning to record it. Maybe this year I'll get around to it.
Guanaco just e-mailed me the copy of CotB that he has! (Thanks, Guanaco!) But I'd love to see the O Holy Night arrangement too. I'll send you a message via e-mail for you to respond to. Thanks so very much.
For other readers, O Holy Night is now on
Our cello quartet(The Cellobrations) performed the "Carol of the Bells" this past weekend at two 'gigs', one in South Yarmouth and the other in Dennis (both on Cape Cod). We love the piece and would play it again in a minute. I played the cello 1 part. I did it partly in thumb position; I did the high E as a harmonic with my third finger. We played it just as written by Terry. This was my first venture into thumb position in public, and, whew, it went okay! Thanks so much to Terry for the great arrangement. May he do many more!!!
cknox at
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