Tidewater Cello Ensemble, Goodwyn to perform in May at Sundays at Four

Published 6:38 pm Friday, April 26, 2024

By Heidi Bloch

Eight teenage cellists, all members of the Tidewater Cello Ensemble, recently returned from a concert-filled eight days playing in Austria and Germany during their Spring break. 

The ensemble of 13 will bring their most recent and well-traveled program to Christ Episcopal Church as part of the Sundays at Four classical music series on Mother’s Day – Sunday, May 12, at 4 p.m.

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They are conducted by mother-daughter duo Susan and Erin Hines and Virginia Symphony co-principal cellist Michael Daniels.

These teens, who rehearse bi-weekly and practice daily on their own personal instruments, had to rent cellos for their European adventure. This was arranged by a seasoned travel expert who introduced each teen with his or her temporary instrument once they arrived in Germany.

Cello cases can’t fit into the overhead bin, and musicians wouldn’t dare send their costly instruments into the belly of the airplane, so cellists who travel with their instruments are required to purchase an additional seat. These teens are now experts at quickly adapting to an unfamiliar instrument, tuning, and playing as a seasoned ensemble in varying rooms with varying acoustics and allowable space between them.

After attending the Sunday morning worship service at 18th century German composer Johann Sebastian Bach’s church – St. Thomas – they spent Easter Sunday evening playing in the stunningly beautiful chapel of the University of Leipzig. In Salzburg, the group moved to St. Andras Church at Mirabell Palace. 

There are no tickets to the Christ Episcopal Church recital, but the generosity of those in the audience will support this group of students as well as future Sundays at Four offerings.

Joanne and Wayne Willis have already stepped forward to provide a sponsorship for this Sundays at Four program. Their son, Rob, grew up playing the cello. Now a retired military officer who often took his cello on his assignments, Rob is the principal cellist of the Scottsdale, Arizona Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Sundays at Four cello program will include a variety of their favorite musical genres ranging from classical to fiddle tunes!

The Tidewater Cello Ensemble was formed in 1999 to perform a pre-concert showcase prior to a Virginia Symphony concert featuring Yo Yo Ma. What began as a group of very young children playing pieces from Suzuki Books 1 and 2, has grown into a musically mature ensemble of wonderful young musicians.

The church is handicapped accessible, and there is ample parking at 111 S. Church St. in Smithfield’s Historic District. 

A reception to meet these young cellists and their instructors will follow the program. 

Sundays at Four will return May 19 with a recital by Ricky Goodwyn Jr., a native of Isle of Wight County and graduate student majoring in vocal performance and choral conducting at James Madison University who’s been invited to study at the American Institute of Music in Graz, Austria this summer. His recital at Christ Episcopal Church will be part of the arts Festival weekend. Attendees wishing to support Goodwyn’s travel expenses can make checks to PCCMI at P.O. Box 127, Smithfield, VA 23431. For more information, call 757 675-5777.