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Department of Music
Phone: (509) 963-1216
Fax: (509) 963-1239

CCC Information

October 21-22, 2022

Ten cellists performing in the concert hall at one of our past cello celebrations.The Central Cello Celebration is a biennial summit of Northwest cellists who wish to revel in the rich cello repertoire and collaborate in a massive cello choir performance. Open to cellists of all ages, high-school players will additionally be able to perform in recitals, workshops and masterclasses. Rehearsals of the cello choirs begin the evening of Friday October 21st, and the Celebration culminates with the performance in the Finale Concert on the evening of the 22nd

We are celebrating Diversity this year in all its forms: people of all race & ethnicities, gender & sexual preference, and the neurodiverse; and repertoire of all Western & world music styles, historical & newly composed, and concert & popular. With our guest artists panel, we will discuss how we as cellists can broaden our perspectives, diversify our repertoire choices, and champion a more varied, representative body of works. The combined Grandioso Celebration Cello Choir will be commissioning and giving the world premieres of works by JiYoun Chung and Tom Walworth!

All participants must complete the standard Online Registration Form. Registration cost is $85.00. Registrants will receive a link to submit online payment soon.

Participation / Eligibility

Participants will rehearse and then perform in either the Celebration Cello Choir (high school/college level) or Debut Cello Choir (intermediate level of 2y+ experience) in the Finale Central Cello Celebration Concert. For the final work all cellists will perform together. All participants are encouraged to attend all sessions: masterclasses, discussions, rehearsals and concerts.

Students between 14-18 years of age are eligible to participate as a performer in the master class sessions and recitals with teacher recommendation.

Pianist Accompaniment

If you are performing and your piece requires accompaniment, you are responsible to acquire your own accompanist or music-minus-one recording.

Faculty & Staff

Artists and Clinicians

  • Walter Gray, Cello, Seattle Symphony
  • Bruce Walker, Columbia Basin College Professor
  • Tom Walworth, CCC resident composer, Thomas Jefferson High School orchestra director
  • Jiyoun Chung, CWU composition professor
  • Kara Hunnicutt, Yakima Symphony principal & Ellensburg Schools strings/orchestra teacher
  • John Michel, CWU Professor of Cello

Official Pianists

  • Teresa Harbaugh, CWU collaborative pianist
  • Barbara Balatero, cellist / pianist based in Seattle


  • Celebration Cello Choir, Nikolas Caoile, CWU Director of Orchestras
  • Debut Cello Choir, Bruce Walker, Columbia Basin College professor


  • Francis Fay
  • Kailee Chen
  • Bernadette Phillips

Barbara Balatero, Special Honoree

Barbara Balatero graduated from Oberlin Conservatory with a Bachelor Degree in cello performance and a Master of Music in Teaching where she studied cello with Andor Toth Jr. At Oberlin, Art Montzka introduced her to the Suzuki method. Between 1974 and 1976 she served as a US Peace Corps volunteer in El Salvador, playing in the National Symphony, teaching cello and starting the Suzuki program in the National Music School. Barbara has maintained a large private studio of Suzuki students in Seattle, and has retired from being the director of the Japan–Seattle Suzuki Institute in order to do more teacher training in Latin America. She is a registered teacher trainer of the SAA and is a cello student of Rajan Krishnaswami. After 50 years of teaching, Barbara is retiring from studio teaching in June. She will continue to do Suzuki Teacher training throughout Latin America.

Walter Gray

Walter Gray has performed as soloist and chamber musician throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and the Far East. He was a founding member of the Kronos Quartet and for over five years presented hundreds of concerts including numerous world premieres. Mr. Gray’s expanded contemporary music adventures have included working with Pearl Jam, Dave Mathews Band, Queensrÿche, Heart, and David Lanz. He has recorded works of John Cage, Paul Schoenfield, Jake Heggie, and Chinary Ung and produced recordings for the London Symphony, Seattle Symphony, New Hampshire Music Festival and numerous solo and chamber musicians.

A member of the Seattle Symphony since 1979, Mr. Gray has performed as soloist with the orchestra several times. “Gray played with his usual intensity and flair…the cello’s lyrical possibilities are realized.” (The Seattle Times) He has taught at SUNY Geneseo, Mills College, Western Washington University, Seattle University, and the University of North Texas. In the summer he makes regular appearances at the Concerts in the Barn, Marrowstone, New Hampshire, and Grand Teton Music Festivals.

CCC Schedule

Friday, October 21st

  • 5:00pm - 6:45pm ~ Registration/Check-In, Lobby
  • 7:00 pm ~ Central Cello Celebration Recital, Recital Hall
  • 8:05 pm ~ All Participants Reception (meet and greet), Student Lounge
  • 8:30 pm ~ Combined Cello Choir Rehearsal, Concert Hall
  • 9:15 pm ~ Debut Choir Rehearsal, Room #150
  • 10:00 pm optional: Cello Movie/Game Night, Room #113 or Informal Cello Ensemble readings into the wee hours of the night!

Saturday, October 22nd

  • 8:00am ~ Registration/Check-In, Lobby
  • 8:30am ~ Debut Choir Rehearsal, Band Rehearsal Room #150
    ~ Festival Choir Sectionals:
    Part 1 in Recital Hall
    Part 2 in Choir Rehearsal #153
    Part 3 in Classroom #113
    Part 4 in Concert Hall
  • 9:15am ~ Cello Choir Rehearsal, Concert Hall
  • 10:30am ~ Master Class with John Michel, Recital Hall
  • 11:30am ~ View Sponsor Exhibits, Lobby
    ~ Lunch, Student Union Building (optional)
  • 1:00pm ~ Master Class with Walter Gray, Recital Hall
  • 2:00pm ~ Panel Discussion on 'Diversity in Music', Recital Hall
    ~ Nathan Chan, Bruce Walker, Kara Hunnicutt, Alex Pualani and other panelists
  • 3:00pm ~ Cello Celebration Recital, Recital Hall
  • 4:00pm ~ Cello Choir Rehearsal, Concert Hall
  • 5:00pm ~ Dinner (El Caporale, optional)
  • 6:30pm ~ Cello Choir Call, Choir Room #153
  • 7:00pm ~ Cello Celebration Finale Concert, Concert Hall
  • 8:05 pm ~ Farewells, Rotunda ( possible breakout hangs)

Optional: College-Bound Activities (Observe actual college classes at CWU!):
Thursday, October 20th

  • 10:00 am ~ Lower String Methods class (observe Prof. Michel teaching cello to non-string players)
  • 12:00 pm ~ Virtual Lunch with Cello Studio (hang out with cello majors over lunch)
  • 1:00 pm ~ Cello Studio Class (observe CWU cello students perform for each other)
  • 2:00 pm ~ CWU Student Open Lesson with Prof. John Michel (observe a CWU cello student lesson)
  • 3:00 pm ~ Participant Open Lessons with Prof. John Michel (get a short/free lesson)

Friday, October 21st

  • 8:00 am ~ Freshman Theory or other class (observe)
  • 9:00 am ~ Freshman Theory or other class (observe)
  • 10:00 am ~ History II or Instrumental Music Education class (observe)
  • 12:00 pm ~ Lunch with Cello Studio
  • 2:00 pm ~ CWU Symphony Orchestra rehearsal with Dr. Nikolas Caoile (listen or play along)
  • 4:00 pm ~ Questions about College (ask and discuss college with CWU cellists)

Special thanks to the CWU Music Department and our sponsors:

  • Hammond Ashley Violins
  • Starkie Lutherie
  • R.L. Ray Violin Shop
  • Rafael Carrabba Violins
  • Henry Bischofberger Violins
  • Carlsen Cello Foundation