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The Cello Project

art into the ordinary

Many people have little exposure to classical music. Many people believe that classical music, and by extension classical musicians, are boring at best and elitist and divisive at worst. In 2016, Sarah Walder imagined her Cello Project into existence in an effort to change these preconceived notions and engage her community. Classical music can also be funny, lovely, heartbreaking, life changing and downright silly! And given a chance, Sarah believes that most people will find it has something to offer. The Cello Project is a continuously expanding project and consists at the moment of The Arizona Project and The Nederland Project. 

Is it theater or is it life?

The Arizona Project 2016

During the months of July and August Sarah could often be found, usually in the morning, at various locations in Flagstaff, AZ, playing Bach on her cello. She chose unusual and unaesthetic locations in which she was most likely to be seen, most often along roadways or in parking lots. Hoping to pique peoples’ curiosity she donned fanciful formal wear, as befits her classical musical training, but utilized things she found on site to sit, stand or lie on while playing, like public trashcans and outdoor tables at fast food restaurants. Passersby were asked to take pictures, which Sarah then posted to Facebook. At the culmination of the AZ Project 2016 Sarah performed two free concerts of Cello Trip, including Bach (for the classical music lovers) and Sarah’s own compositions for cello with loop-station (for everyone!).

Peaks and Valleys: The Arizona Project - Radio interview with Lumberjack reporteer Gabriel Granillo, September 26, 2016
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Radio Interivew with The Lumberjack

Arizona Project Community Day 2016

Sarah devised the AZ Community Project Day in an effort to involve and engage local musicians in her project and with each other. Unfortunately, .94 inch of rain fell on the morning of the event! Two valiant musicians joined Sarah after the rain had stopped, bravely facing the traffic with their stunning formal wear and sweet melodies.

The Arizona Project 2017 &

Arizona Project Community Day 2017

Sarah hopes to reinvent the AZ Project in July and August 2017, and the AZ Community project in August 2017. This time with a rain contingency plan! Look for more info later this spring.

The Nederland Project

Sarah lives in The Netherlands for part of the year. Classical music has a real, though often elite, place in Dutch Culture. Recently the Dutch government withdrew subsidies for many classical music ensembles. As a result, ticket prices went up, making classical music even more inaccessible. Sarah hopes to change people's attitudes toward classical music, or just to brighten peoples’ day, with her NL Project. Due to different cultural attitudes toward art in public spaces, and because of the rainy climate, the NL Project can be experienced in single, unusual locations rather than primarily street side. 

NL Project 2016

In 2016 Sarah had just one opportunity to perform in the spirit of her Cello Project, at a castle in Brummen, The Netherlands. Because of winter temperatures she could mostly be seen indoors!

NL Project 2017

Sarah has been asked to play at a castle in Maarsbergen in July and at the National Military Museum near Amersfoort in October. Imagine!

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