Geneseo Student Spotlight: Cellist Monica Savedoff

Almost everyone has a passion for something in life, but not everyone pursues this passion, and even fewer can bring their passion to full fruition. Monica Savedoff, a senior at Geneseo has found her passion, which lies within the woodwork of her cello.

Savedoff started playing the cello in the second grade, drawing her inspiration from her older brother. While she majors in speech rather than in music, she still relishes her cello as much at 21 as she did at 7. Savedoff even lightheartedly discussed the possibility of sleeping with it in her bed at night.

She is currently an integral member of the Geneseo Symphony Orchestra, with which she traveled to China two summers ago. "My cello has taken me so many marvelous places," she said, laughing.

Certainly, her talent has opened doors. Savedoff recently traveled to Falmouth, Mass. for the College Light Opera Company in Cape Cod (affectionately known to its members as CLOC). This past summer was CLOC's 39th season of an intensive and thorough nine-week music program.

There are six performances per week at CLOC; the students rest only on Sunday. They produce such musicals as The Music Man, Anything Goes, Bye Bye Birdie, 42nd Street, Candide - Savedoff's favorite - and others, for a total of nine performances every summer.

The troupe consists of 80 members: 32 in the vocal company and 18 in the orchestra pit; the remainder work in technical and costume design. All college-aged members - plus the married couple that heads the organization - live together in a huge mansion-like house. The students share rooms and chores, experiencing a full living situation.

Of all the members in the orchestra, Savedoff was the only non-music major. This was a rare opportunity for her, because at Geneseo, music majors are given seating preference, allowing Savedoff to have fewer opportunities to move up in the orchestra. Her passion, however, doesn't wane in the face of such adversity: Savedoff embraces the experience for the joy of music.

Reflecting on her non-music major at school, Savedoff stated, "It was pretty intense at first, especially being around mainly just music people, but by the end I had gotten used to it," she said. "Now, I miss talking about music."

Savedoff said she absorbed a great deal from the program, including lasting friendships, a great experience and a noticeable improvement in her music.

Savedoff was at first speechless when asked about what she gains from the cello, overwhelmed by the task of conveying her emotion. "It's just enjoyable to me."

There's always something new, it never gets old." Savedoff's difficulty in explaining her unique connection and persistent love for the cello is manifest in her struggle to explain her passion. Music is something that has resonated in her family, and she has embraced it fully. Certainly, Savedoff is fortunate to have the ability, persistence and passion to thrive in the music that drives her.