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InConcert Sierra Artistic Director Ken Hardin, left, presented young musician Aneka Torgrimson with a standard cello at a Feb. 19 performance featuring cellist Peter Wyrick. Photo: Carolyn Valle

GRASS VALEY, Calif. March 14, 2017 – Side by side, Aneka Qing Torgrimson is about the same height as a full size cello. The 13-year-old Nevada City resident recently transitioned from a three-quarter student cello when she was gifted a full-size one from InConcert Sierra at its Feb. 19 Third Sunday Series performance featuring cellist Peter Wyrick.

Aneka’s enthusiasm for music and, in particular, the cello was evident in her radiant smile on stage, as well as her instant attraction to the instrument. In a letter to InConcert Sierra, she wrote of her introduction to the cello, through instructor Anna Gold at a lesson for her sister on a recorder.

“I remember Anna opening a large case and taking out her 230-year-old cello. She asked me ‘do you want to play it? I was so nervous as I ran the bow across the strings,” Aneka wrote. “The sound it made was so rich and deep I realized that the cello and I had found each other. I have been taking cello lessons from Anna Gold ever since, three years now.”

The donation of the cello was part of InConcert Sierra’s Music Matters Instrument Gift program. The nonprofit arts organization accepts good quality instruments from the community that have been appraised and then finds a new home for them with young musicians who could benefit most from the gift. The cello Aneka received was donated by Marlene Soldani. In the fall, InConcert Sierra also donated a trombone to a sixth-grader in Grass Valley as part of the program.

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The full size cello will allow Aneka the chance to pursue her musical goals. Currently, she is the principal cellist for the Music in the Mountains’ Youth Orchestra.  She has participated in string trios and quartets, performing at weddings.  She has composed music for projects for both the Nevada City School of the Arts and Community Asian Theater of the Sierra (CATS.) She is planning on attending music camps this summer.  She definitely seeks out opportunities to explore her passion.

“I have been inspired as both a musician and a young composer by the InConcert Sierra performances that I have been able to attend thanks to the generosity of (InConcert Sierra) providing free admission to students,” Aneka wrote. “The most amazing experience I have had at one of these concerts was when I was fortunate to hear Amit Peled play on Pablo Casals’ 284-year-old cello. I love how he stopped the concert midway to speak to all the students in the audience and encourage us to practice. I will never forget that concert.”

She continued that she will “not only make use of this wonderful gift by practicing, I would use it to continue to grow as a musician and explore new opportunities to advance my musical abilities. Being a musician is an important part of my life and it always will be.”

For more information about the InConcert Sierra Instrument Loan/Gift program, please visit www.inconcertsierra.org and click on the link for educational programs, or contact Associate Director Brett Bentley at brett@inconcertsierra.org.