Virtual Cello Choir Concerts

2020 Virtual Cello Choir Concert

“Cello Carol Medley”


As our 2020 year-end member “gift”, we are very excited to invite our members to participate in a virtual Cellospeak Choir concert video of a special all-cello arrangement called Cello Carol Medley. The piece is a combination of Greensleeves and Carol of the Bells specially arranged for Cellospeak by Gary Fitzgerald.  The piece has five cello parts in levels of decreasing difficulty from Cello 1 (advanced) to Cello 5 (beginner). 

We invite you to prepare and send us a video of yourself playing your selected part of the Cello Carol Medley. Faculty member and engineering whiz Marion Baker will combine all of the recordings into a single video of our virtual Cellospeak Choir concert. The final product will be posted on our YouTube channel and linked to our website and Facebook page. We are aim to have the final product completed before the end of the year!

If you are already a member, you can participate for free.  If you are not yet a member, we invite you to participate but ask that you first sign up for membership ($25.00) HERE. You will be able to participate in this seasonal initiative as well as enjoy all membership benefits for an entire year. 

Below are links to the sheet music and audio files, detailed instructions on how to participate, and the deadlines for submitting your video.  Please review all of the instructions and choose your part. Then fill out and submit a Cello Choir Application Form, using the link in the instructions below.

Participation in this project should be fairly easy for everyone. So, anyone who wants to participate should have confidence that they can do it! 

Schedule and Due Dates

Due Date for Applications:  November 23, 2020. Please submit your Application Form as soon as possible so we can plan for the number of participants and the number of players on each part.

Due Date for Video Submissions:  November 30, 2020.  Please submit your videos as soon as possible.  Unfortunately, videos submitted after November 30, 2020 cannot be included

Target Release Date: December 31, 2020!

Participation Instructions
What you will need:
  • Ear buds or headphones.
  • Two devices – any combination of computer, laptop, smartphone (Android or iPhone) or tablet (e.g., iPad): 
    1. One to play the audio backtrack of your selected part into your headphones or earbuds to enable your video recording to be synced with everyone else’s, and
    2. One to record your video.
  • Sheet music and audio backtracks:  See below.
Step-By Step Instructions

Step 1: Review the sheet music and backtracks and select your part.

Sheet Music. Just click on a part below to view, print and/or download the pdf. Select your part and print a copy for practicing. Please follow the noted bowings! The full score is also provided for reference.

Audio Backtracks. Below are audio backtracks for each part as well as the entire ensemble, all with metronome clicks. You can listen to the backtracks right from this page or download the MP3 audio files by clicking on the three dots on the right side of the player or the Download button.

Ensemble Backtrack

Step 2: Fill out and submit the Virtual Choir Application.

If you are not already a Cellospeak member, please first join ($25):

After you have selected your part, please fill out and submit the brief Virtual Choir Application Form by clicking the button below so we know you are participating and the part you will play:

Step 3: Practice!

Tune to 440 Hz with your tuner.

Practice your part separately and also with the backtrack played in your headphones or earbuds. You may find that you hear best if you use them in only one ear.  On the backtrack, you will first hear the following instructions at the beginning:

“ Welcome to the backtrack… Start your camera… quietly check your tuning… 2 bars for nothing … Here we go … 1 2 3 1 2 3”

At the end you will hear

“You can turn off your camera”.

If some passages in the music are too difficult, you can simplify it for yourself.  For example, play only one note of a double stop or fake or drop out for a hard passage.  JUST BE SURE TO STAY WITH THE BACKTRACK AND BOWINGS! 

Step 4: Video yourself.

Lighting: Make sure there are no windows or bright lights behind you. Instead, have the light from a window or lamp light up your face and the front of your cello.

Mic: A separate mic is not necessary but can be used. In most cases the placement of the camera will dictate where the microphone is but in case you have a separate mic, place it at least 8 feet away from you so that the sound is more mellow.

Set up Video Frame: Set up your 2nd device to video record yourself playing while you are listening to the backtrack on the other device.  If at all possible, the video should be positioned to record in PROFILE or vertical format rather than landscape or horizontal format, so that the video of you playing is tall, not wide.  Smartphones and tablets are the easiest to set to record vertically. The video should capture you from the top of your head (not a lot of wall or ceiling above you) down to your bow.  We don’t need to see the cello below the bridge.

Follow Backtrack: With the backtrack playing in your headphones on one device, follow the audio backtrack instructions and record your video.  Make sure you can hear a good mix of the backtrack and your own cello playing by only using one earbud instead of both, or only covering one ear with the headphones.  You can re-record as needed to get a video you are pleased with. Always start from the beginning of the backtrack and follow all of the audio instructions (e.g., “start your camera,” “check your tuning,” etc) each time you record.

Step 5: Upload your video – no later than November 30, 2020!

As long as you are connected to the internet, you can upload your video from the same device on which you recorded it. If you recorded on a computer and can rename your video file, please first rename it to include your own name and the part you played – for example “Marion Baker Part2 top line”. In any event, using the same device that you recorded on, navigate back to the Cellospeak website and this page (Virtual Cello Choir Concerts) and click on the following link: or on the button below, and select “select files from your computer.” If you recorded on a mobile device such as an iPad, iPhone, or an Android cell phone, your recently created recording should be in your photo library. If you recorded on your computer or laptop, it should be in the folder where you renamed and saved it.

If you have any questions, or any trouble recording or uploading your video, please do not hesitate to contact us at Enjoy!!