Cello players can be in bands, too

“At the height of our career, we weren’t quite as famous as Hannah Montana, but more famous than Clay Aiken,” senior Tommy Fields said. Often described as a “diamond in the rocks” among musical groups in Ames, Chrysanthemum was made up of three of the finest cellists from Ames High School: seniors Kayla Becraft, Tommy Fields, and Ray Wolt. The group first formed after Wolt put an advertisement in the paper looking to form a cello ensemble. After extensive auditions and interviews, including a Russian cellist, Becraft, Fields, and Wolt got together and formed what we now know as Chrysanthemum. Their influences are far reaching, including Neo-folk, hardcore-punk, and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. There was some trouble getting gigs at first, with the competition of cellist Yeil Park, but Chrysanthemum wasn’t too startled. “I think he’s pretty cute when he plays,” Becraft said. “But at times, it can get a little disruptive.” “He gets to play a lot in the media center,” Fields said. “We get much better offers than that, such as playing in religious services and dinner banquets. We also considered doing the soundtrack for I Am Legend.” However, shortly after releasing their first album, Mum’s the Word, the group headed in different directions, leaving their future uncertain. “We said we wouldn’t really get into real specific details of the reason we broke up,” Becraft said. “Let’s just say Hillary Clinton was involved.” “I decided to endorse her by leaving the trio and playing for Clinton in a string quartet,” Wolt said. “That took a big hit on our group. Tommy wanted to go solo after I played with the quartet and it got really complicated.” Like Fields, Becraft also considered doing some solo work, but “didn’t want to get all the glory” to herself. Some of their greatest hits include “Salut d’Amour” by Sir Edward Elgar and the Vivaldi Concerto for Two Cellos in g minor, which was featured on Channel 7 and was performed on their tour to Minnesota and the fall concert. After couple months of absence, Chrysanthemum decided to get back together to produce another album, which has yet to be titled. “We just missed making music together,” Wolt said. “I won’t say who, but one of the members wasn’t too sure about getting back together, so I thought about replacing that individual with the Russian who had contacted me years before, but when the individual heard about it, Chrysanthemum was back to normal.” As they continue to grow musically and perform, the group hopes to climb back into the top of the charts before the group will separate one final time after graduation.