Eleanor Rigby has special significance for Sally Browne. The classic Beatles tune features a cello solo, and our summer-time innkeeper, Sally, was thrilled to play the solo in her first appearance with a rock/pop band last Saturday evening at the San Juan Community Theatre.
The Band was Abbey Road, a Beatles tribute band. For their repeat appearance in Friday Harbor, they employed six islanders to sit in with them on stage. Their drummer was flanked by locals playing sax, trumpet and flute, and on the opposite side, what the band director dubbed “the lonely heart strings” – two violins and Sally’s cello.
With barely more than an hour’s rehearsal, the ensemble plunged into the familiar tunes of that famous album, while audience members, dressed in tie-dyed ‘60’s garb and groovy glasses, jumped out of their seats and boogied all night.
Sally quips she’s been playing cello “since it was bigger than me,” which puts it about 4th grade. Her professional music career spans decades of performing chamber music and in string quartets in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as teaching private music instruction. Since moving on island, she founded the local Performing Arts Society and has been teaching cello to private students as a sideline.
But even with written charts, going from the intimate environment of chamber music to the electronic blast of pop was quite an adjustment for Sally. It was disconcerting for her not to be able to hear the other musicians – and even herself, since she discovered after-the-fact that her monitor was not properly adjusted. She noted the band members were very gracious and patient, and enjoyed the evening immensely, but “chamber music is my heart and soul.”
We hope we have the opportunity to hear Sally perform her to heart’s content soon.