Into the spotlight

Into the spotlight

Shelby Pendowski

A cello plays an important role in keeping the beat and sound of a band, but it tends to fly under the radar in the background. Cello Fest 2013 will bring the overlooked instrument center stage.

Beginning Oct. 21 with a master class with German Marcano, Grand Valley State University’s Cello Fest 2013 celebrates the instrument through a variety of performances, master classes and guest musicians.

GVSU professor Pablo Mahave-Veglia said Cello Fest was started so that students had the chance to hear artists who were nationally or internationally renowned.

“It is just a lot of fun to go to a concert where all the music (is) performed by an instrument that you tend to see sort of as an accessory or as an assistant artist,” Mahave-Veglia said.

GVSU students attend different master classes all three days of the festival. High school students also receive the opportunity to learn about the cello through live performances.

This festival brings awareness to the young students, Mahave-Veglia said. It is an event to show all students the importance of the cello and bring the instrument out of the shadows and into the spotlight.

“We want to see our students, high school students interested in disciplines like this, to see us as a resource,” Mahave-Veglia said. “This is a way of opening our doors and being available to the community.”

Through recommendations and his own insight, Mahave-Veglia invited several cellists from around the country. Marcano, Jeremy Crosmer, Aron Zelkowicz, Anthony Arnone, Alicia Eppinga, Martine Benmann and Melissa Kraut will perform as a group and as individuals. The musicians will also conduct the master classes.

“I think there is style and there is technique,” Mahave-Veglia said. “Sometimes when the students are exposed a lot to one faculty member, mainly me, sometimes they have not a very clear difference between the two.”

The visiting professors and musicians will help the students to differentiate between the two concepts, Mahave-Veglia said.

University of Iowa professor Arnone said the students with a passion to learn and improve their skills will take the most away from the master classes.

“Younger people, high school or college people, need to be reminded how amazing it is to hear live music,” Arnone said. “I feel like in this day and age of technology that the art of going out to a live concert and hearing string instruments live is being tested right now, so I think it is really useful and valuable for people to hear an instrument, like the cello, live to see how amazing it is.”