To the editor: The first Fairbanks Cello Festival, May 3-5, ended with a marvelous performance by almost 100 local cellists of every age, background and experience. Sponsor of this high-voltage event was Ryan Fitzpatrick, UAF Music Department cello faculty member and principal cellist of the Fairbanks Symphony Orchestra. Invited guest instructors for the daily intensive workshops were internationally known concert artists and pedagogues Emilio Colon; his wife, Cara Colon; and Mina Rose Chung.
As cello-trio and together with Fitzpatrick as quartet, we were wowed with their performance contribution of a Haydn Divertimento and “Suite de Angel” by Astor Piazzolla, arranged by E. Colon. The Davis Concert Hall was truly vibrating with effort, energy, enthusiasm and expertise. Three days of intensive teaching sessions, geared to the younger generation, culminated in various ensembles and a mixed program of many musical styles. The grand finale by the Festival Orchestra, all cello bows crossing all cello strings, conducted by Emilio Colon, was a sight to behold and a pleasure to hear. Not one piano was involved! It seems even the UAF graduation weekend was no disturbing factor.
The stated mission of the project — “To celebrate the role of the cello in the greater Fairbanks area” — met and may very well have exceeded its goal. Bravo! Encore!