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Southbanker

07 Nov 2018

Southbanker Image

Strings of dedication

By Jacklyn Yeong

Joe Kelly could not remember a time when he was not engaging with music.

Choosing to play the cello was a natural instinct for him as he grew up in a very musical family. His dad and mum play the trombone and viola, while his sister learned to play the violin up until the end of school.

Although Joe and his parents thought about forming a family musical trio, it was a little tricky to create a performance as all their instruments simultaneously produced lower and deeper tones.

“It’s hard, it would be a very unique group with a trombone, a viola and a cello,” he said. “Actually, I think there’s a trio for that, we jokingly said maybe we should do it. We haven’t up until now but maybe we will.”

Besides learning the cello since he was seven, Joe also learned to play the piano in high school up until grade five, as he thought that picking up another instrument would be an asset to helping other students practise.

Now a university student at Melbourne University’s Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, he is focusing solely on performing with the cello while studying under the music performance program.

Joe and his family relocated to Wells St, Southbank in 2014 to be closer to the city’s music scene. He appreciated the fact that living in the Arts Precinct provides him and his family convenient access to the music community.

“I love the area, it’s obviously amazing for music because all of the arts would just be at your doorstep which is really nice,” he said.

“Just being surrounded by arts and with the Melbourne Recital Centre, Hamer Hall and the galleries just being down the street as well as being close to the city but not feeling like you’re stuck in the city all the time makes living in Southbank really special for me.”

Having previously performed in The Librarian for Outer Urban Projects in a string quartet, Joe was invited to return and perform for the organisation’s collaboration with the Newsboys Foundation’s 125-year anniversary concert in October.

He had to recover and gear up for 125BPM rehearsals right after a recent tour where he performed in the Shanghai Symphony Hall in China and the Esplanade in Singapore with his university symphony orchestra.

In the near future, Joe is looking forward to further pursue music somewhere in Europe or America for post-grad studies, but for now he is focusing on perfecting his skills for upcoming university recitals and final exams.

Next to music, his biggest interest is the NBA basketball league. He used to play basketball competitively but had to sacrifice that to prioritise his love for performance music.

“I used to play but I don’t anymore, at least competitively because of my fingers and how important they are for cello and instruments,” he explained. “I used to jar them quite a bit and obviously if you do that to your finger then you either can’t play for a week or you can’t play for a month so it’s very difficult.”

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