The Chamber Music Network

Another flying cellist lands in Ecuador

Header photo: New members Devora Donaire (cello), Art Malm (viola) and Karen Martinez (violin) performing at Mirador de Bellavista in Riobamba on January 13, 2022, with partial support by ACMP. 

ACMP members Tom Cappaert (cello) and Art Malm (viola) from Illinois (USA) went on a musical mission to Riobamba, Ecuador, January 4 -13, 2022. Tom is an orchestra teacher for the Lake Zurich public schools in Illinois and Art is a retired Civil Engineer from Elgin, Illinois. While in Riobamba, they played with local cellist Devora Donaire, who plays in the Sinfonica Riobamba and is a senior in High School, and Karen Martinez, who is in training at a University in Riobamba, planning to teach elementary school in the United States. Devora and Karen have since joined ACMP, becoming our first members in Ecuador! The informal public concert on January 13 included string arrangements of traditional Scottish folksongs by ACMP member and composer Jan Knudsen, who received a Just Play grant from ACMP towards the costs of the concert venue. 

Tom and Art traveled bearing a special gifts for the Andante String Youth Ensemble in Riobamba: 17 Instruments!

They brought 15 violins and 2 cellos in baggage containers to the children of the town of Flores, Ecuador (up in the Mountains outside of Riobamba). Inspired by a recent ACMP article about the flying cellist, Tom came up with a clever way to fly with cellos without paying for two extra seats on the plane. He separated the cellos in half so that they could fit in a suitcase. Separation at the cello neck (pictured below) may look rather drastic, but he partnered with a luthier in Riobamba who re-glued the neck back together. The sound posts stayed up and all the pegs and strings were ready to go with a good endpin for the young musicians to use.


Tom Cappaert with a flying cello!

The youth symphony in Riobamba, Ecuador is well known throughout Ecuador for including the indigenous women of the Andes in choral performances, as the women and children sing in their native Kichwa language with the orchestra. The new orchestra program will be taught by Andres Mejia, the string teacher for the Municipality of Riobamba, Ecuador. Patricia Caiza Yungan was one of the community organizers responsible for starting the orchestra - at 11,000 feet above sea level!

She is pictured below (center) with Art Malm (left) and Tom Cappaert (right), wearing ponchos given to them by the people of Flores. 

This kind of intercultural exchange through music is at the core of ACMP's mission. We hope some of you will travel to Ecuador and play with our new members there! 

And for those of you looking for new repertoire outside the classical canon, please check out Jan Knudsen's Scottish arrangements on Sheet Music Direct:

The Boatman

Highland Boat Song