Cello/Bass Day welcomes middle and high schoolers to USD
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Cello/Bass Day welcomes middle and high schoolers to USD

Cello professor Sonja Kraus, along with the University of South Dakota’s Music Department, hosted Cello Bass Day Sept. 24.

Cello/Bass Day brings cellists and double bassists in middle and high school from the surrounding area to USD for the day. Professor Emilio Colón from Indiana University, and his wife, Cara Elise Colón, are visiting to help teach the students as well.

Kraus said Cello/Bass Day is a long time in the making.

“I planned my first Cello/Bass day in April 2020, but then obviously the pandemic hit and we couldn’t do it. So since then, it has been a long build up. The reason why I wanted to do it is because I want all of the cellists and double bassists just to get to know each other in the state and the surrounding area and to create music together,” Kraus said.

Colón, who is cello professor at Indiana University, said programs like Cello Bass Day are great for students to experience.

“Speaking from my own personal experience, I used to run a foundation here at Indiana University, where we would, once a year, bring cellists from all around the world to share their experiences and students would come. It’s just a great way to bring collegiality and sharing different philosophies with students,” Colón said.

Kraus said there were 90 students from Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota attending the event, which she said was a major success considering her goal was for 10 students to attend. Orchestra directors from Sioux Falls, Sioux City, Vermillion and Omaha brought their students to USD for Cello/Bass Day.

“I could not have done it without the support of the orchestra directors that are here and in the area that wanted their students to have the experience to come here,” Kraus said.

Colón said he was excited to come to USD and would like to come back in the future.

“There’s nothing greater of a feeling than to go to a place for the first time and experiencing everything it has to offer,” Colón said.

Kraus said she wants students to walk away from Cello Bass Day with a good outlook on playing cello or double bass.

“For me, the most important thing is that they have a good experience, and that they really get to go away with a sensation of playing cello or playing double bass is really cool, and I really want to continue doing that in some capacity through college,” Kraus said. “That’s the most important thing: to keep music in your life. It adds so much value if you do it as a music major, or professional, or just as a hobby.”