Extreme Cello was born after three cellists from Sheffield - Clare, James and Jeremy - read about, and watched on television, the sport of "Extreme Ironing", in which contestants iron clothes in locations such as up mountains, up trees and under water. They are judged on both the extremity of the location and quality of the ironing.
Initially finding the sport bizarre, we then watched a documentary on Channel 4 which focused on the World Championships in Germany. This gave us an idea: if a household task such as ironing can be performed in extreme locations with such panache, why not a creative activity like music making?
When the music fund at Westways Primary School in Sheffield was brought to our attention, the result was inevitable - Extreme Cello became a reality. Since the cello is a large instrument, this gives the venture an added complication, but at the same time a far more visual impact. Unlike Extreme Ironing, Extreme Cello is not a competitive sport, but a collaborative experience of musical, visual and physical endeavour.
Since 2003, we have climbed buildings, walked long distances, run marathons (well, one marathon), climbed mountains and performed various other exploits with our cellos - giving performances at many unusual places, and often to unsuspecting audiences. All of our previous major ventures are documented in the Previous Challenges section of the site.
There are three main purposes to Extreme Cello, all of equal importance to us:
- To raise money for good causes. To date we have raised over £38,000 for a variety of charities, both local and national.
- To bring cello music to audiences who might not otherwise hear it. It is often a source of sheer delight to see the faces of children - and, indeed adults - hearing a cello trio for the first time, particularly if it's halfway up a mountain. (We've even played to very attentive audiences of cows before...)
- To do something a little bit different, and have fun in the process. We're not afraid to appear a little mad - in fact, it's part of our collective identity - and we encourage others to do the same!