My Cello Belle

imageI’m taking part in the weekly Slice of Life Challenge sponsored by  Two Writing Teachers, where teachers write and share each Tuesday. Join in yourself or head over to check out what’s happening with other slicers. If you’re taking part in the SOL, leave a link to your post. I’d love to read it.

Saturday we took my daughter to compete in her first state level solo and ensemble contest for strings.  She has practiced her cello for long hours in preparation and now it was time to play before the judge.  It was quite an experience.  (My husband said he didn’t know there were that many string players in the state.)  Here is a poem I wrote to try to capture the moment.

The hum of voices
and snippets of melody
swirl throughout a gym
filled with a maze of cases and stands
and string basses and cellos lying on their sides,
staking out claims for their musicians to practice and to wait
for their moment to play before a judge.
One girl curls around her bass,
caressing the neck in a one-armed hug
while drawing the bow back and forth across the strings.
Ensembles of violins and violas cluster
close as toes tap in time to dancing bows.
Even as the bleachers fill,
I can pick out the strains of melody
from Handel’s Sonata in C
that float above the notes
surging from a multitude of strings–
different melodies and harmonies colliding in midair–
but my ear tunes ever to my my cello belle.
Soon enough the door swings
shut on silence
and my cello belle sits alone
before the judge, poised to play.
As the piano fills the accompaniment,
her bow weaves across the strings
and fingers skip nimbly up and down the neck.
Rich notes escape and swell with music made
with nothing but wood and strings and air.

 I made a podcast of the poem as well:

6 Comments on My Cello Belle

  1. Lee Ann Spillane
    March 3, 2014 at 7:45 pm (3 years ago)

    My son performed in a music festival last Friday (middle school)–the lines “poised to play” and “curls around her bass” remind me of the harps group from his school… must have been a lovely concert. I hope you shared the poem with her!

    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 3, 2014 at 7:58 pm (3 years ago)

      She hasn’t seen it yet. It may become her birthday poem–but her birthday’s not until June!

  2. Leigh Anne Eck
    March 3, 2014 at 3:21 pm (3 years ago)

    What a beautiful poem and tribute to not only your daughter but all the musicians. I am in such awe of musicians. The podcast was an excellent touch – but it would be really neat if you could add her playing in the background. :) That would be cool!

    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm (3 years ago)

      Cello music in the background would be cool. I’m not sure I could talk her into it though.

  3. mgminer
    March 3, 2014 at 2:45 pm (3 years ago)

    I, too, was a cello mom. I remember beginning with Twinkles at age 5 all the way to the glorious senior recital when I was brought to tears by Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata in g minor. When she was 12, I remember her anger that I had picked cello–no one else had to lug around such a big instrument! But then, through her teens, her cello became her own and what beautiful music she made. The cello is such a giving instrument. Good luck to your daughter!!

    • Mrs. McGriff
      March 3, 2014 at 3:39 pm (3 years ago)

      I was the one who was surprised when she chose the cello. I kept offering her the flute I played in high school, but she loved the sound of the cello. I love listening to it, but I’m glad I don’t have to haul it!


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