Therapy Through Harmony

By Samantha Young

There is so much more to music besides the old fashioned classical orchestra and the period dress/harpsichord. It doesn’t take auto tune and heavy bass (clef) to create a fun and contemporary atmosphere. This is what Cellanthropy is all about.  We are a group of cellists with various experiences in youth orchestras, both in and out of the Chicagoland area. We are all juniors or seniors in high school, each with a long history and passion for music. All of us have competed for distinguished chairs in ILMEA All State over the course of our high school careers. But our group was not created to compete. In fact, our rehearsals have been some of the most fun I’ve ever had. We play contemporary music, ranging from Inception’s theme, “Time”, all the way to classic Beatles music. Our Christmas program contained a lot of jazzed up carols as well as old classics to sweeten the holiday atmosphere.

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Our group performing for the first time at a cocktail party (From left to right: Liam Morgan, Lucie Ticho, Jake Semba, Christian Naval, Samantha Young (me), Amelia Smerz).

I think one of the best parts of this group is where we get to perform. Our goal is to make our pun proud, providing philanthropy and charity through music while having some fun. Our group has just made its start, so right now we can add only a couple venues to our list, including Elmhurst Memorial Hospital, in which we performed at a lunch for most of the surgeons and nurses on call. I am personally excited to play in more hospitals, and I know our supervisor, Robin is currently working to get us a couple of gigs at a children’s hospital. Also on our agenda is to host a charity concert, but of course the process is right now limited to throwing around ideas of possible charities and program lists.

We are not about dictatorship, and working together is the reason all of us get along (with exception to the banter that occurs when someone inevitably forgets their music). Since we are all of similar talent and capability, parts are equal and distributed appropriately; so one person doesn’t get all of the fun “Cello 1” solos. Even our performances have been relaxed, and we’ve had some fun improvising Pachelbel’s Canon with our own twist on the scale. I think that’s the atmosphere we want to give.  It wouldn’t be any fun if you sat through our performances rigid and polite, clapping appropriately after every piece. If I could, I would strap my cello to my waist and dance with it while playing. It’s so amazing to hear us make interesting harmonies into well-known pieces with a classical twist.

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Liam and I posing after a Christmas gig (Amelia was really smart and brought us tinsel and hats to wear).

I think we have a long way to come in terms of solidifying ourselves in our identity and our group.  I see us, talented and so friendly with each other, and I know that we can accomplish so much. Despite being a little bit crazy and strangely amused by the comedy of music, we can be serious and determined when needed, and that work ethic is what drives us to success. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues for hopefully a long time, providing music and joy to where it’s needed.

Samantha Young is a senior at Downers Grove North High School in Downers Grove, IL. She has played cello for most of her life, working with Protege Philharmonic and serving as principal cellist for the past three seasons.

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