The Salem Philharmonic Orchestra is kicking off its 2024 concert series by honoring the life of one of its late members.
Cheryl Campbell, a lifelong resident of Marblehead, died last February at the age of 79 after a brief battle with ovarian cancer.
In her memory, the orchestra’s first concert on Sunday, Jan. 7 will be entirely dedicated to Campbell, who Salem Philharmonic Orchestra Conductor John Koza described as one of its most passionate and longstanding members. Campbell began her tenure with the orchestra when she was just a sophomore in high school, initially playing the French horn. Graduating with a master’s degree from the New England Conservatory of Music in 1967, Campbell later switched to the cello and became the principal cello of the orchestra for more than 60 years.
Koza called Campbell “perhaps the premier cellist on the North Shore,” playing in various other orchestras in the region, in addition to playing as a soloist and providing her insight to students as a teacher.
“She appreciated the orchestra’s invitation of young players, principally from the SPO’s youth orchestra and the Salem High School Orchestra, which provided those students with the rare opportunity to play alongside working musicians in a full symphony orchestra,” Koza said.
During the concert, the cello will be featured in multiple selections, including as a featured instrument in the “William Tell Overture,” and as the solo instrument in Max Bruch’s “Kol Nidrei.”
Campbell will also be honored with a special selection that is performed by the orchestra when memorializing members who have died.
Koza recalled that Campbell “always said that she loved to play in the ‘Salem Phil,’ as it is sometimes affectionately known.”
The orchestra’s concert series consists of four concerts spanning from January to February each year. Admission to each concert is free.
For nearly 120 years, the Salem Philharmonic Orchestra has been providing winter concerts to local community members. Most of the orchestra is made up of professional musicians drawn from nearby communities, including Marblehead.
The orchestra’s Jan. 28 concert will feature soloists from Marblehead.