Ashland cellist plays to connect, provides solace through music

ASHLAND, Ore.– A simple idea is taking on a bigger meaning for local cello player whose performances in Ashland have connected with those that stop to listen.

On any given day, a walk in the park never sounded so good until Daniel Sperry played his first chord. Started eleven years ago, Sperry says in his first performance he found the signs that told him he should stay in Ashland for a little longer.

“It feels like a connection to the community,” he said. “It’s my – I think it’s my big reason for being here.”

Sperry says he found the spot in Lithia Park and just started playing. Now, he performs every Tuesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. But as a cellist for six decades, he now writes and performs his own music to help others find hope in their struggles.

He says when he first came to the park, he didn’t have any of his own music to play and would improvise instead. Now, he’s been commissioned for nearly 50 pieces across the world. But what he loves most about this is the chance to watch as people let down their guard and let go of their worries.

“I can see that there’s a need for people to be able to melt,” he said. “Couples that seem as if they haven’t been that close are suddenly in arms and feeling like themselves again. So I witness all of this.”

It’s therapy for many listeners including one man – Alberto.

“Yeah, I am losing my sight. I actually lost my left eye, “said Alberto.

He says he finds comfort in Sperry’s music as he waits with the hope surgeons can save his right eye.

“To be in my shoes, to actually lose a sense, losing your sight and have hearing,” said Alberto. “It’s just something you have to experience.”

Sperry says he and Alberto have met several times in the past few weeks as Alberto comes to enjoy the music on his lunch break.

“You can tell he’s in one way struggling but in another way just gathering his resources and trying to find out where some solace could be,” said Sperry.

A picture is said to be worth a thousand words. For daniel, one song is worth a million.

“Classical music has a unique capacity to just paint an interior landscape of a person’s emotions.”

But for Alberto – words aren’t enough.

“It’s something that you just have to come out here and experience,” he said. “Because some things you just can’t put in words. To have this and to have Daniel.”

Until his last chord is played…

“Music, piano, listening to this – it’s a getaway,” said Alberto.

These struggles we face are just another walk in the park.

 

NBC5 News Reporter Miles Furuichi graduated from Chapman University with degrees in English and Journalism. He received post graduate experience in Los Angeles in photojournalism and commercial photography. He also spent time in Dublin, Ireland working in print journalism and advertising.

Miles is a Rogue Valley native, raised in Ashland. He enjoys hiking, mountain biking and photography.

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