Hello everyone! I'm Betsy C from Cello Chat. I am Betsy Clark, just like that woman who makes the round faced cherubs on the Hallmark Cards. I see no reason to not give my name here because so many of you feel like friends and colleagues, and I have only met a very small portion of the folks who reside on the ICS Bulletin Boards. When Tim asked me if I would consider contributing to the Tutti Celli's Membership Spotlight, my first response was that I would do whatever necessary on behalf of the ICS. My next response was "Me?" I truly feel blessed and fortunate to be part of this ever growing cello community with its amateurs and experts. Once I sat back and thought a little bit about what I could write about, it became apparent that I could only write about my perspective, which is definitely that of a full-fledged Cellist-By-Night. I am a late-starter to the cello, and sympathize and empathize with my other late-starting friends here. It truly is a situation that has problems and bonuses all its own! Above all, we Cellists-By-Night are jugglers trying to "get it all done." Sometimes, I have to push other things to the side to give my cello the time she deserves.
I am a 45-year-old cello girl who just started playing cello last year. I've played for about 15 months now. The name "Cello Girl" has good connotations for me; I have recently acquired a license plate that has CELO GRL on it! I am married (happily) to a guy who supports my cello habit in every possible way! He loves cello so much that he is at times the one asking me if I have practiced today, etc. because he just loves the sound. What a good man; he requests that I play and I am very much still a beginner. He is very encouraging! When I told him last year that I had a weird idea, something that I'd been contemplating for a long time, and told him that I wanted to take cello lessons, he was awfully happy! He said it had always been his favorite instrument! After 18 years together, I didn't know this about him. Now he just smiles every time I get some new piece of music, another rosin I just HAVE to try- well, you fellow cellists understand. I am a big experimenter and try out things all the time. I have fallen so completely in love with the cello that I cannot imagine my life without it now.
I am a grandmother of a 5-year-old girl. My son is 28 and is a single Dad. I am very proud of him for the way he takes care of his little girl. She is a sweetie and is becoming a big fan of the cello. Whenever she comes over, she asks if I would take it out and we sing together while I play. We are now working on our Christmas Carols together!
I live in Virginia, in an old Civil War area. We actually have trenches from the war on our land. It's a very historic area, but it's becoming less rural all the time. We still have some wide open space, but we are losing it a bit as progress takes over.
I work as an Office Manager for an Internist. It's a very rewarding job, but can be demanding at times. We have a very aged patient population and they have a lot of problems. Some of our patients are in really great shape and some make me very sad. I feel fortunate to go into a job where I know that I am making a bit of a difference in the world by helping people.
And, my job helps support my cello passion! The first time I had to buy strings, I was surprised at the price! Many years ago, I played guitar and clarinet, and guitar strings were not as expensive as cello strings. I just figure it is all a part of doing something that I really love.
I have a lesson almost once a week with my wonderful, patient, and humorous cello teacher, Walter. He posts on Cello Chat, too. Walter, hope you aren't offended by the humorous tag! You make lessons fun and interesting! Lessons are work, but a lot of fun with a teacher like him. It is an intense relationship IMHO. The student/teacher relationship thrives on trust and respect and I know he respects me, and I feel the same about him. He is a rare find and I know just how lucky I am to have him for a teacher and friend.
I am using the Louis Potter Jr. book The Art of Cello Playing. I like the book immensely; it is arranged in a logical and sequential manner and builds upon skills that you've (hopefully) mastered in an earlier lesson. I am learning thumb position early, so I do not get intimidated by it. I like thumb position quite a lot! I find it to be fun. We play duets from the Samuel Applebaum books Beautiful Music For Two String Instruments. I appreciate duets because I find it helps me with my intonation -- a lot! And, it's just plain fun to play with someone else.
I really appreciate my special cello buddy, Beaker, who also posts on the boards. She is more advanced than I, but she is always encouraging and willing to play music that she's done previously so that I can stretch myself. To me, that's one of the beautiful things about the cello and cellists. On the whole, I have found cellists to be open and willing to share knowledge, tips on technique, and just pass on whatever they can to help a fellow cellist.
When I attended the WCCIII, I was so gratified and impressed at the spirit of camaraderie and friendship I encountered there. I met so many amazing people, among them Ellen G, Bob, Tim, Laura, Max, Cheryl, Cordula, Dave, Ryan, and a lot of others, and it was an event I'll always cherish. I hope to meet so many more of you next time around. I will stay the whole week next time, and a goal of mine is to be able to play in the massed cello ensemble. At some point, I hope to be in a community orchestra and will work hard to achieve that goal. I met Victor Sazer too, which was a pleasure, as I am learning to play using techniques he has developed. I won't go into the details here because they are archived on the ICS website, but I believe strongly that he has offered cellists an option that is worth exploring. He was a very interesting and classy gentleman.
When I am not involved with my cello, I have other things that take up my spare time! I exercise (keeps the stress down and middle age spread kind of away), like to cook, read, participate in a hospice organization once a month, and I am very active in my church. I am forever looking for new music to add to my growing music library. I spend time cello chatting (you folks are the best resource other than a teacher I know) as well. I take care of my menagerie, too. I have an adorable white bulldog named Miss Petunia Pig who adores the cello! She'd crawl through it if she could. When I play, she has to be very close to it. She leans her jowls on the bouts, sometimes. She has a cello face she does when she is blissed out on the cello. She sticks just about 1/4 inch of her tongue out and closes her eyes and does a little half smile! Goofy dog. I have a Senegal Parrot named Sinbad who periodically cackles at my humble efforts. To round out the tribe, we adopted a stray named Miss Kitty who is an orange manx cat. We love our pets in this family!
Well, that's my biography. I hope you enjoy the snap of me at the Cello Congress. I was just overjoyed to be there -- I guess it may show a little in the photo! I just hope that I am given many more years on this earth, because the older I get, the better I love life! I want to be an old woman who happily plays her cello. I'd like to conclude by putting in a word of thanks for all of you here; this is an interesting melange of people and you have enriched my life enormously. I hope to read about you all in your bios someday!
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