With hits such as “Come on Eileen,” “Hips Don’t Lie” and “Where the Streets Have No Name” in its repertoire, Low Strung could give even Cupcakke a run for her money. On Saturday night, Yale’s all-cello rock group performed a series of oldies and familiar pop hits in its spring semester concert — titled “String Fling.”
The performance, held in the Davenport College dining hall, drew more than 100 attendees to Low Strung’s last on-campus concert of the year. The group embraced the String Fling concept, donning tank tops and T-shirts and encouraging the audience to jam to its favorite songs. In its String Fling show this weekend, Low Strung set a high bar, giving Cupcakke a tough act to follow.
“I thought the performance and the venue were amazing,” said Colin Baciocco ’21. “I came to the show because I’m a huge fan of the cello. When I heard there was a large group of cellists on campus, I couldn’t miss out.”
Low Strung put the ballad back in rock ballad, combining classical music and classic rock to form something unique. Throughout the show, bows glided across and flicked against strings, coming together to produce a towering wall of sound. The crowd swayed and mouthed lyrics as the cellists performed in a semicircle at the head of the Davenport dining hall.
Low Strung’s spirited tone, paired with its high technical skill, made for an exciting show that was engaging for even the casual audience member.
“Their arrangements are complex and intricate,” said Isabel Sands ’21, a violist who arranges for the Davenport Pops Orchestra. “I really enjoyed their rendition of ‘Blackbird.’ I thought it was very original to do high-pitch string effects to evoke the sound of chirping birds.”
Baciocco said his favorite song from the show was “House of the Rising Sun,” whose familiar opening lines began in pizzicato, seizing the listener’s attention before the cellists’ bows swept dramatically into the chorus.
Other highlights included a twangy cover of Britney Spears’ “Toxic,” a gorgeously layered “Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” and the gentle swelling of “Don’t Stop Me Now” that built up into a wall of sound.
Low Strung consists of 12 cellists with student arrangements done by members such as Harry Doernberg ’19 and Sofia Checa ’20. The group practices two hours each week in preparation for its concerts.
“We’re a classically trained musical collective that plays rock music,” said member Jerry Zhou ’21. “We love exploring the world though cello. It’s incredibly unique.”
In addition to its regular fall and spring shows, the group goes on tour every year and holds benefit concerts whose proceeds go to charity. This year, they toured Northern California. According to Zhou, the group has also been working to release an album in the near future.
Checa, who arranged “Hips Don’t Lie” and the Bee Gees’ “Tragedy,” spoke to the News about her experience with arranging for the show.
“I picked the songs because I just really like them,” Checa said. “The Bee Gees are my parents’ favorite. Once I identify a song, I memorize every detail before arranging it. It’s scary the first time you hear your arrangement on real cellos. But, as we work on it, the music is so rewarding.”
As much as String Fling was a celebration of music, it was also a farewell for three graduating seniors who headlined the show: Max Lauring ’18, Dimitri Lippe ’18, and Han-ah Sumner ’18. They each received gifts and a personal speech during song breaks. Doernberg described Sumner as “pure poetry” in her music, motion and character. Group members praised Lippe as “a loyal friend” and Lauring as “spontaneous and genuine.”
“The seniors did really well,” said Chloe Zhou ’20, the president of Low Strung. “It was bittersweet to have this concert. We always have a ton of fun on stage.”
The show concluded with a standing ovation worthy of the performance.
Sophia Nam | firstname.lastname@example.org