Jonatha Brooke, Rebecca Arons & The Cello Songs Project World Premieres on June 24 at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church

June 24 will be a beautiful night of world premieres with Jonatha Brooke & The Cello Songs Project (including Rebecca Arons) at Hennepin Avenue United Methodist Church, including performances of Jonatha’s poetic folk/pop songs and the debut of the new string quartet Children’s Theme by composer Adi Yeshaya — dedicated to the children of Ukraine and performed by the STRINGenius Quartet.

While Jonatha and Rebecca have worked together for years, The Cello Songs Project is a new collaboration. It’s one of those pandemic silver linings; the forced slow down gave them time and space to work together in new ways. (Both have very busy and prolific music lives outside of this project.)

We had the honor of premiering their latest video (New Dress) a few weeks ago; it was fun to talk about the music and the partnership between Jonatha (singer) and Rebecca (cellist). They play as if they are both singing and interesting to hear how pairing so closely a voice and an instrument change how each performs. For example, the sync their breathing to keep together but also to hear the challenges and advantages inherent in instrument vs voice. It will be exciting to see them play live – there’s an intimacy that is comforting to the listener at a time when we all need a little comfort.

Joining them for this performance will be an amazing cast of musicians hailing from New York, Israel and Minneapolis, including the STRINGenius Quartet: Allison Ostrander (violin), Elise Meichels Parker (violin), Susan Janda (viola) and Rebecca Arons (cello) and world-renowned percussionist Benny Koonyevsky (Israel Philharmonic, Gloria Estefan, Vanessa Williams), jazz bassist Jeff Bailey (Minnesota Orchestra, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, James Carter, Chastity Brown), indie/pop vocalists Aby Wolf (Champagne Confetti, Dessa) and Linnea Mohn (Rogue Valley).

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