100 Years, 100 Cellos

100 Years, 100 Cellos

Art Project to Support the Music Education Programs of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra
IA/IL QUAD-CITIES – To raise awareness of the 100th Anniversary of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (QCSO) and support its Music Education programs, the Volunteers for Symphony has launched “100 Years, 100 Cellos.” 100 full-size cellos will be sponsored and transformed into beautiful works of art by artists from the Quad-City area and beyond. All funds raised will benefit the QCSO and its education programs.

“Our 100th Anniversary Masterworks Season opened with a spectacular appearance by acclaimed pianist André Watts, which some said was the best performance they ever heard from the QCSO, and will end with an epic performance of Beethoven’s glorious Symphony #9: Ode to Joy,” said Benjamin Loeb, Executive Director of the QCSO. “Then, 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. The 100 Years, 100 Cellos project will capitalize on the excitement of our 100th Anniversary Season to the benefit of our Music Education programs with this visually stunning, community-building project.”


“The Volunteers for Symphony will be heading up the 100 Years, 100 Cellos project,” said Laurie Skjerseth, who serves with Mary Kae Waytenick as Co-Presidents of the Volunteers for Symphony. “Several exciting events will be taking place, and we invite you 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 will paint and use 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 these next five months a ‘cello-bration.’ Laurie and I are grateful that we have over 100 members in the Volunteers for Symphony. We will need every one of them to pull this project together."

The Volunteers for Symphony and QCSO staff are seeking 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 Tours and 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 will be offered the opportunity to decorate their individual cellos and decide where they will be placed. “Many will request that we provide an artist to do this for them,” Loeb said, “so we are compiling a list of artists, art educators and art students willing to volunteer their services to decorate a sponsored cello. This list of artists would be provided to the sponsor. Artists who are not selected to decorate a cello can still help the project by creating a 100 Years, 100 Cellos poster, for use in public displays and in a forthcoming commemorative book.”


The cellos will arrive in mid- to late-January and then be distributed to the artists, with a completion date of March 1, 2015, with a possible extension to April 1. From March 1 to mid-May, 90 cellos will be displayed at indoor locations selected by their sponsors. Each cello will be labeled, stating the name of its artist, sponsor and the title of the artwork.


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


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

Artists, 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 www.qcso.org/100-Years-100-Cellos.html.


“We look forward to hearing from many area residents, companies and organizations, wishing to take part in our historic 100 Years, 100 Cellos project,” Loeb said. “If you have never collaborated with the QCSO before, this is the perfect opportunity to contact us and get involved.”


For more information on the 100th Anniversary Season, be sure to download the full season brochure at www.qcso.org/calendar.html. 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.