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CellOhio Brings Bach to Campus

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Members of CellOhio perform at the Wexner Center for the Arts student party. Credit: Courtesy of Destiny Lee

Members of CellOhio perform at the Wexner Center for the Arts student party. Credit: Courtesy of Destiny Lee

Weigel Hall is often filled with music from student orchestral groups — but one group’s sound transcends performance halls and permeates around campus.

CellOhio is a group of 14 cellists that performs in different locations around campus, ranging from performance halls to dorms to the RPAC stairs.

“The great thing about this music is that because it’s unaccompanied, solo cello, you can literally play it anywhere if you have a chair and a stand and a cello,” said Clara Davison, executive director of the club and a second-year in arts management and business

CellOhio is a branch of Ohio State Cello Studio, a group that has been on campus for years. Both organizations are lead by the same faculty adviser, Mark Rudoff.

Samuel Johnson, a graduate student in musical arts and artistic director for the group, said CellOhio has already drawn an audience with its music. Johnson said the group’s performance in Sullivant Hall was one of the best performances to date, attributing some of it to the sound quality of the hall itself and the engagement of the audience.

“On the third floor, dancers just came out of their studios and they were just in awe of the cello music that was happening,” Johnson said. “They were just out on the third floor improv-ing, warming up, stretching and just basking in cello gloriousness.”

The organization has been working on the Bach Project, putting on small performances of music by Bach to lead up to the group’s Tuesday performance, which will be a combination of all of Bach’s works.

“My cello teacher always said that you could play Bach for your entire life and you would know everything you ever needed to know about the cello,” Davison said.

The group will be performing each of Bach’s six cello suites, with two soloists per suite for the first five. The sixth suite is more difficult and requires an extra cello string, so one soloist will play the prelude and other movements will be arranged for the cello orchestra, Johnson said.

“These are six works by J.S. Bach that are considered really staples of repertoire,” Johnson said. “They are kind of the benchmark by which every other composer writes works for solo cello.”

While Davison and Johnson started playing cello in grade school, they welcome people of all skillsets to be a part of CellOhio, whether they want to take part in the performance or just watch.

“A part of our mission is to get out into the community to really share cello and really engage groups of students,” Davison said.

The Tuesday performance will be held in St. Joseph’s Cathedral at 212 E. Broad St. at 7 p.m. CellOhio members said they hope to have a large audience to celebrate Bach’s music.  

“If music can be delicious, it is so tasty,” Davison said.

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