Bethany Beach Cellofest 2024

Bethany Beach Cellofest

Bethany Beach Cellofest 2024

Welcome to the inaugural Bethany Beach Cellofest, a vibrant celebration of cello music set against the picturesque backdrop of Bethany Beach. Join us for a series of performances and educational events that highlight the versatility and beauty of the cello, featuring both renowned and emerging musicians. This festival is dedicated to bringing classical music closer to the community and providing a platform for learning and enjoyment for all ages.

For Cellists

Are you a cellist looking to enrich your repertoire and perform in an inspiring community setting? Find out how you can take part in the festival, add music by women composers to your repertoire, and experience the joy, beauty, and richness of playing in a cello ensemble. Click the button below to register to join us as a performer.

Cellists Register Today

For Audience Members

Continue reading below for more details on the schedule, event descriptions, and additional information. Whether you’re a longtime classical music fan or new to the cello, the Bethany Beach Cellofest offers something for everyone. Discover the full range of events, from musical storytime events for kids to large ensemble performances, and how you can be part of this extraordinary celebration.

Cellofest 2024 Schedule

All events are free and open to the public.

  • 20 April – Music  & Storytime by Brenda Neece at the Bethany Beach Nature Center
    • 10:30 AM – ~ 2 PM
    • Celebrate Earth Day with Music at Bethany Beach!
      Join us at the Bethany Beach Nature Center for a unique celebration of Arbor Day and Earth Day featuring Dr. Brenda Neece, founder of the Cello Museum. Come and enjoy time in nature filled with the sounds of the cello and a lovely story.

  • 7 June – Cellos of Unusual Shape Demonstration by Erica Lessie at the South Coastal Library
    • 2 PM, South Coastal Library, Bethany Beach
    • Join us at the South Coastal Library for an extraordinary session with Erica Lessie, showcasing her remarkable “Cellos of Unusual Shape.”  Follow the arrival of Scandinavians to the upper Midwest and learn how they transformed their native instrument, the psalmodikon, into a new class of folk cellos. This program, perfect for adults and older kids, offers a rare opportunity to experience these extraordinary instruments up close. Discover the stories behind each cello’s design and hear the diverse sounds that these unconventional instruments can produce. Don’t miss this unique musical exploration that promises to expand your understanding of what a cello can be.
  • 12 June – Program for Children: Cello Storytime, Petting Zoo, and Craft by Erica Lessie at the South Coastal Library
    • 10:30 AM, South Coastal Library, Bethany Beach
    • Calling all young music lovers to the South Coastal Library for a special children’s program presented by Erica Lessie as part of the Bethany Beach Cellofest! Dive into the world of cellos with a delightful storytime, featuring Don Freeman’s Manuelo the Playing Mantis, a tale that brings the magic of music to life. Erica will demonstrate a number of her Cellos of Unusual Shape and even bring a cello petting zoo, including a tiny 1/10th-size cello perfect for little hands to try. And, for a creative twist, children ages 3+ (with adult supervision) can craft their very own instruments from yogurt containers. This interactive session is designed to ignite the imagination, foster a love for music, and provide a hands-on experience that children of all ages will enjoy. Join us for a morning of musical discovery and creativity!
  • 13 June – Cellofest Cello Ensemble performance with soloist Jennifer Kloetzel on the Bethany Beach Boardwalk
    • 7:30 – 9 PM, Bethany Beach Bandstand
    • Experience the first-ever Bethany Beach Cellofest, where our cello ensemble will perform a mix of classical, folk, and popular tunes on the boardwalk. This event features both ensemble and solo cello performances, showcasing the instrument’s range and versatility. Join us for a memorable evening of diverse music at this new addition to Bethany Beach’s cultural scene.
  • 14 June – Cellofest Cello Ensemble cello event at the Bethany Beach Nature Center
    • 10:30 AM, Bethany Beach Nature Center
    • Join us for a morning at the Bethany Beach Nature Center for another Cellofest Cello Ensemble event. Immerse yourself in the rich sounds of cellos as our ensemble performs outdoors at the nature center (weather permitting – if it’s raining, we’ll be inside). This unique event combines live music with a children’s storytime, allowing children and adults alike to see and hear cellos up close. Designed for music lovers of all ages, this performance will inspire and delight everyone who attends. Don’t miss this opportunity to experience the beauty of cellos up close in nature.
  • 16 June – Cellofest Cello Ensemble final concert at St. Martha’s Episcopal Church
    • 9 AM Concert Parish Hall (the program will start after the 8 AM service has ended)
    • 10 AM Cello Music as part of the church service, St. Martha’s Episcopal Church, Bethany Beach
    • Join us for the grand finale of the Bethany Beach Cellofest at St. Martha’s Episcopal Church on June 16th. This climactic concert will showcase the talents of our Cellofest Cello Ensemble along with stunning solo performances, highlighting the depth and versatility of the cello. Experience the culmination of our festival as we celebrate the achievements of our participants and the beauty of cello music in the resonant and sacred space of St. Martha’s. Please join us for a memorable morning highlighting the richness and versatility of the cello. Don’t miss this chance to witness the passion and dedication of our cellists as they bring the inaugural Cellofest to a spectacular close.

Works by Women Composers Taught at Cellofest 2024

Cellists can choose one or more of the unaccompanied cello works to study during the festival. The links are to Erica’s Postcards that feature each work, and you can find a playlist of all of them on YouTube.

Cellist Jennifer Kloetzel
Cellist Jennifer Kloetzel

Jennifer Kloetzel will be teaching the following advanced-level pieces:

  1. “Lift” by Elena Ruehr (it was written for Jennifer Kloetzel) – December 2020 Postcard #2
  2. “Varsha” by Reena Esmail (means “rain”) – January 2021 Postcard #2
  3. “Seven” by Andrea Casarrubios – March 2021 Postcard #3
  4. “Sephardic Suite” by Elaine Fine – September 2020 Postcard #3
Cellist Erica Lessie
Cellist Erica Lessie

Erica Lessie will be teaching the following intermediate-level pieces:

  1. “Ike & Icky” by Liz Davis Maxfield – July 2021 Postcard #2
  2. “Permit Me” by Deborah Cheetham – October 2022 Postcard #1
Cellist Brenda Neece
Cellist Brenda Neece

Brenda Neece will be teaching the following novice-level pieces:

  1. “Water” from Five States of Change (Wood, Metal, Fire, Water, Earth) by Wanda Sobieska – October 2020 Postcard #2
  2. “Resolves” by Rain Worthington – April 2021 Postcard #1

Thank you, sponsors!

We are grateful to our sponsors for this inaugural Bethany Beach Cellofest! Please help us celebrate our generous sponsors.

Thank you sponsors: St. Martha's Episcopal Church, Jennifer Kloetzel, Catherine Black and Vaulted Sky Music, Bethany Beach Books, and High Strung Violins and Guitars of Durham, NC.

Dr. Brenda Neece

Cello Museum curator Dr. Brenda Neece, DPhil (Oxon.), is a cellist and a researcher specializing in the history of the cello. Before starting the Cello Museum in the autumn of 2019, she worked as a freelancer and served for just over a decade as the first curator of the musical instrument collections at Duke University. In addition to playing the cello, doing cello research, and writing about cellos, she enjoys experimenting with variant cellos. In addition to her modern instrument, she also plays a 5-string baroque cello, a small 5-string cello, and sometimes travels with her folding prakticello. She studied cello with Fred Raimi at Duke while she did her undergraduate work at UNC-CH. As part of her interdisciplinary major in music history, art history, and archaeology, she wrote an undergraduate honors thesis under the supervision of Prof. Jon Finson, on the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century evolution of the cello. She earned a master’s in cello performance at Auburn University, studying with Martha Gerschefski, and then went on for her musicology doctorate at the University of Oxford (Somerville College) where she was mentored by Prof. Jeremy Montagu and Prof. Hélène La Rue. While in England, she continued her cello studies with William Pleeth. Dr. Neece lives in Durham, NC, with her husband and cats. When not playing or writing about the cello, she enjoys reading, photography, and martial arts.