At the Piotique Concert Sept. 26, Elizabeth Clark, a senior at Clay Center Community High School, will play a very unusual instrument with a long history in Clay County.
It was a gift to her from Clay County farmer Jim Henry and his son Steve Henry, who practices veterinary medicine in Abilene and surrounding areas.
Steve played cello in the USD 379 orchestra and continues to participate in the Salina Symphony today. His father Jim personally repaired several old cellos belonging to the district so that they could be used for students when Steve was younger.
Jim began cello lessons with Anne Clark in the 1990's as a senior citizen, and purchased his cello from the estate auction of Clay Center dentist Mr. Hannah several years later.
On Piotique Saturday, Sept. 26 at 4:30pm, after the parade has ended, Elizabeth will play a solo on the cello, "Allegro Appassionato" by Saint-Saens with the Community Chamber Orchestra, and a six-person cello ensemble will harmonize Liszt's famous "Liebestraum."
The orchestra will also play the ever-popular Pachelbel Canon and feature three different dances: Irish Reel, Tarantella and the Beautiful Blue Danube Waltz.
Elizabeth started cello lessons in kindergarten, and gave her first cello performance when in Mary Ann Sullivan's first grade at Morganville Elementary School.
She joined Community Chamber Orchestra in the summer of third grade, and the USD 379 orchestra program in grade 5, with her mother Anne Clark as her teacher.
In grade 9 she played cello accompaniment for the CCCHS Tiger Chorale on a selection in its fall concert. After the USD 379 orchestra program was removed, she continued to participate whenever possible in events for string players such as the KSU String Fling, the KSU ASTA student chapter solo clinic, a Prairiecelli concert in Salina, the KMEA North Central District Orchestra clinic, and the KSHSAA Solo and Ensemble Festival.
In District Orchestra she has been seated chairs 2 and 3, and in State solo competition she received scores of 1 and 2.
Since grade 8, when she created an original CD of her own music with her gifted program facilitator Mary Mellon of CCCMS and Jed Wymore of Crystal Clear Recording Studio in Manhattan, she has incorporated her cello playing into some of her songs.
During the last two years she has taken independent study classes with Matt Bradford in which she writes, performs, and records original songs, and she continues to write and play the cello parts in them.
In addition to cello studies, Elizabeth has sung in the CCCHS Tiger Chorale, the Community Chamber Orchestra, the Clifton-Vining Country Music Festival, the Clay County Arts Council's Inspirational Sing, the Clay County Fair's Gospel Program, and national anthem for the rodeos in Clay Center and Longford. Her piano teacher is Dee Germann of Clay Center, and for one year she studied voice with Ann Walker in Manhattan. She plays piano regularly for the Morganville United Methodist Church, and accompanies the concerts at the Flint Hills Christian School at Green.
Tickets are available in advance from Orchestra members or in the Rex Theater lobby at 4:00 p.m. on the concert day for $5/person or $13/family. Audiences should allow extra time to find parking before the concert. For more information or advance blocks of tickets, contact Director Anne Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-926-4725.
This program is sponsored in part by the Kansas Arts Commission, a state agency, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency which believes that a great nation deserves great art. The Clay Center Area Chamber of Commerce, as well as many individuals including CCCHS alumni, organizations, and businesses, sponsor the Orchestra. They are credited in the concert programs and under "Sponsors" on the website www.kansasmusic.net. Tax deductible contributions toward expenses of the Piotique "Dances and Cellos" concert may be made up until Wed., Sept. 23.
The unique Community Chamber Orchestra plays without a conductor and includes youth through adults, both amateur and professional. Musicians in this concert live in Morganville, Wamego, Junction City, Manhattan, Green, Olsburg, and Clay Center.
New musicians of all ages may join year 'round. The Clay County Travel and Tourism Committee successfully has won a grant from the Kansas Arts Commission for the Orchestra to present a Christmas tour on Wed., Dec. 23. Mini-concert locations that day will be: Community Care home in Clifton at 10:00 a.m., Morganville Cafe at noon, Golden Living Center in Wakefield at 2:30, and Coachlight Restaurant in Longford at 5:30. The concerts are free to the public, but restaruant reservations are suggested for those wishing to dine while they listen in Morganville and Longford.