Homegrown cellist Nick Strobel ready for 'Night Beat' chamber music concert


Bellingham Music Club presents the next concert in its "Night Beat" series at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 14, at Firehouse Performing Arts Center, Bellingham, 1314 Harris Ave.

The evening will feature chamber music from Whatcom Symphony Orchestra members - principal cellist Nick Strobel, bassist and executive director Thom Mayes, and principal second violin Kathy Diaz. Also playing will be WSO music director Yaniv Attar, making his first public guitar performance in Bellingham.

Suggested donation is $20. Details: 756-6752 or 671-0252.

Here's some background on cellist Nick Strobel.

Question: What's your musical background?

Answer: I grew up in Ferndale and began my cello studies in fifth grade. I started cello lessons the following year and kept playing through high school.

Along the way I was lucky to study with Joanne Donnellan and Cathy Hayward. As a kid I took piano lessons in addition to cello and played in the Whatcom Symphony Orchestra as a high-schooler in the early '90s.

After high school I studied cello and history at Oberlin College and Conservatory, where I worked with Andor Toth Jr. I earned my bachelor's in cello performance in 1997 and came back to Whatcom County to pursue my master's and teaching certificate at Western Washington University. I've been teaching for the Bellingham School District since 2001.

Q: And when you "grew up?"

A: I'm currently the principal cellist of the WSO and have been playing with the group for the past six seasons.

My conducting began while at grad school with a seven-year stint with the North Sound Youth Symphony. I've also conducted the North Sound Community Orchestra and the Ferndale Summer Pops. I also direct the orchestras at Bellingham High School.

Q: How did you become involved with the Music Club?

A: I was approached by the music club to play a solo recital this fall, but then the pieces fell together for a second show involving more musicians. I'm very excited to be playing the aria from the "Bachianas Brasileiras" by Villa-Lobos with maestro Yaniv Attar.

Q: Why is classical music important to young people, and how can parents and teachers get kids involved in music programs?

A: Music is important for kids to do because it feeds the soul every time you play. Music also develops patience, encourages long-range planning and gives long-term rewards. This last one is critical especially with all the "have it right now" we have in our society.

We have great music programs in our schools, several great youth music organizations and many superb private instructors in the area, so starting out in music is easy to do. Parents should talk with their school music teacher for advice on how to get started with music.

Reach Margaret Bikman at 360-715-2273 or margaret.bikman@bellinghamherald.com. Follow Bellingham Entertainment on Facebook or @bhamentertainme on Twitter.

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