Travels With My Cello

  • The Sana'a Community Orchestra

    Marianne Ide My neighbor had a friend, Stephen, who had started a small orchestra in Sana’a several years back.  He was a missionary with two daughters who played instruments and felt like they needed musical companionship, so he rounded up anyone who could play a western instrument.  Aid workers, teachers, government employees: whoever had a little extra time joined.  Usually he wanted musicians to be at least 12 and have played for two years.  While I more than met the age limit, I was quite a bit below the experience requirement.  Stephen didn't care: there were no cellos in Yemen, and he...

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  • Damage, Part 2: Home Cello Repair for Dummies

    Marianne Ide Warning!  The following story is not for the faint-hearted: It involves the graphic description of  cello maiming by amateurs! Before I begin, I feel you should know two things:  First, the story ends well.  Second, from the moment of my very first bow stroke across my old Cremona, all I ever wanted was to play the cello well—not brilliantly, just well—and my long-suffering husband has only ever wanted to support me.  I think it’s important you know these things, because in this story we appear to have a little less sense than Laurel and Hardy. That year, summer...

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  • Damage, Part 1

    By Marianne Ide I knew that having a cello in Yemen was going to be complicated.  Before making the purchase, I had thought over every likely scenario and decided that it was well worth the risk.   However, of all the problems I anticipated, the one that proved my undoing was one I had truly not foreseen.  I had thought about the fact that Yemen had no national orchestra, no local orchestras, no other cellists, no cello repair shops, no cello teachers, and still I decided it would all work out.  Some might consider me delusional to the point of insanity;...

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  • Mail Call

     Receiving mail at the international school where I worked in Yemen was always a good time.  If a package managed to arrive, chances were that it was from Amazon, or a friend sending you highly coveted items from the States.  So when the campus PA system called us to the office to pick up mail, we hustled to retrieve our highly anticipated packages.  The fact that I had recently ordered a cello from Stringworks significantly ratcheted up the excitement quota.  The very idea of something as large yet as fragile being shipped to Yemen was so outlandish that a campus...

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