‘100 Years, 100 Cellos’ Project to Support the Music Education Programs of the Quad City Symphony Or

The Cello-bration Begins!

‘100 Years, 100 Cellos’ Project to Support the Music Education Programs of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra

To raise awareness of the 100th Anniversary of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) and funds to support its Music Education programs, the 100 Years, 100 Cellos program of the Volunteers for Symphony (VFS) is now underway. One-hundred full-size cellos were transformed into beautiful works of art by artists from the Quad-City area and beyond. All funds raised from sponsorship and auctions of the cellos will benefit the QCSO and its education programs.

The 100 cellos used for the "100 Years, 100 Cellos" campaign arrived Feb. 6, 2015, at Asbury Methodist United Church in Bettendorf, IA, and from there they were distributed to the artists. Ninety of the final decorated cellos will be displayed throughout the Quad Cities at indoor locations selected by their sponsors from March to mid-May. Each cello will be labeled, stating its art title, the name of its artist, and sponsor.

“The painted cellos displayed around the community will make a beautiful statement about the link between the visual and audio arts,” said Benjamin Loeb, Executive Director of the QCSO. “They will bring a powerful general awareness of the arts in the Quad Cities.”

According to Loeb, the QCSO’s 100th Anniversary Masterworks Season opened with a spectacular appearance by acclaimed pianist André Watts and will end with an epic performance of Beethoven’s glorious Symphony #9: Ode to Joy. “As a world-class grand finale, the QCSO will host a one-night-only performance by legendary cellist Yo-Yo Ma on May 14, 2015,” he added. “The 100 Years, 100 Cellos project will capitalize on the excitement of our 100th Anniversary Season to the benefit of our Music Education programs.”

“The Volunteers for Symphony is heading up the 100 Years, 100 Cellos project,” said Laurie Skjerseth, who with Mary Kae Waytenick serve as Co-Presidents of the VFS. “Several exciting events will be taking place, and we invite the community to take part in this fantastic collaboration of the art world meeting the music world.”

Waytenick and Skjerseth are both past music educators who believe in the importance of music education shaping a child's life. They see the 100 Years, 100 Cellos project as a source of funds that will anchor the music outreach program of the QCSO for many years to come.

“A collaboration between musicians and artists is not that uncommon, but the scope of this project is both mind-boggling and attention-grabbing,” said Waytenick. “These artists are painting and using other techniques to create their visual representation of that cello. This could be, for example, its distinctive sound or its role in the orchestra. I'm calling this entire event a ‘cello-bration.’ Laurie and I are grateful that we have over 100 members in the Volunteers for Symphony. We are using every one of them to pull this project together."

The Volunteers for Symphony and QCSO staff are still seeking more corporate and individual sponsorship of 90 of the cellos. The remaining 10 cellos will be painted by selected ‘Lead Artists’ and then live-auctioned at the Yo-Yo Ma pre-concert dinner on May 14, 2015.

QCSO Music Education Programs

The funds raised from this initiative will help support QCSO music education programs. These include School Engagement classroom visits, Symphony Day, Students@Symphony, Instruments for Kids, and the QC Symphony Youth Ensembles (QCSYEs). “Music education is a central part of the QCSO mission, and 100 Years, 100 Cellos will help us greatly expand our positive impact and eventually grow the audiences and patrons of the future,” Loeb said.

Sponsors were offered the opportunity to decorate their individual cellos and to decide where they will be placed. “We compiled a list of artists, art educators and art students willing to volunteer their services to decorate a sponsored cello,” Loeb said. “All cellos will be featured in a beautiful, collector’s quality commemorative 100 Years, 100 Cellos book.”

All of these efforts will culminate in a ticketed event at the Figge Art Museum in Davenport, IA, on May 29, 2015, the actual 100th Anniversary of the QCSO. At this event, attendees will enjoy a display of all 100 painted and decorated cellos.

How the Community Can Participate

Potential sponsors and other community members interested in participating in the 100 Years, 100 Cellos project should email the QCSO at 100cellos@qcso.org or complete the online form at https://qcso.org/meet-the-qcso/100-years-100-cellos-project/.

“We look forward to hearing from many area residents, companies and organizations,” Loeb said. “If you have never collaborated with the QCSO before, this will be the perfect opportunity to get involved.”

For more information on the 100th Anniversary Season, visit https://qcso.org/concerts. Performance tickets are available at the QCSO Box Office at 327 Brady St., Davenport. You can also call the QCSO for more information at (563) 322-7276 or visit www.qcso.org

Pictured above: Red Cello by artist Amy Nielsen