VIDEO — Not much music is written for multiple cellos, says Portland Cello Project director Douglas Jenkins.
Not much music is written for multiple cellos, says Portland Cello Project director Douglas Jenkins.
"We have to rewrite pieces so that they work for our ensemble," he says. "We take anything that we think will be fun or that audiences will enjoy — from Bach to Brubeck and pop to classical. Our music is like Oregon weather, it changes by the minute."
Portland Cello Project formed about seven years ago, when a group of cellists began gathering to play classical music and drink beer. One night, over too many beers, Jenkins says, they decided to play classical music in rock clubs and bars.
"We weren't the first to do it," he says. "We thought it was a fun idea that would involve a wider range of music for diverse audiences. The first concerts were classical, then the project evolved toward different kinds of music."
The Project's first show was in 2007 at the Doug Fir Lounge on East Burnside Street in Portland.
"It's always been a fun, laid-back party of show," Jenkins says. "The cello is a diverse instrument that can play a wide range of sounds and pitches, both low and high. Modern cellos use steel strings and are constructed from different materials."
Cellists Skip vonKuske, Kelly Quesada, Kevin Jackson, Lauren McShane and Jenkins will be joined by trumpet player John Whaley, drummer Jeff Anthony and singer Patti King for a concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, March 15, at the Craterian Theater, 23 S. Central Ave., Medford.
Along with some classical music by composers throughout history, audiences may catch arrangements of classic rock by Led Zeppelin, heavy metal by Pantera and jazz by Dizzie Gillespie, Jenkins says.
"We pass the solos around, and the audience quickly recognizes who can shred and who cannot."
Portland Cello Project's newest album, "Winter (The Best Nine Months of the Year)," was released in December and can be purchased online at www.portlandcelloproject.com.
The concert is sponsored by the Rogue Valley Symphony. Tickets cost $22, $28, $33 or $38, $5 for students, and can be purchased at the Craterian box office, 16 S. Bartlett St., online at www.craterian.org or by calling 541-779-3000.