For several years, Aniela Perry has been looking for ways to give back to the community the only way she knew how, playing music. After learning of Josh Tate’s “Hell Walk”, a fundraiser where Josh walked around a 100-foot circle for 24 hours straight, she loosely alluded to doing something similar with her cello. Recent events in the world spurred her into action.
“I’m a musician so I know what that’s like, the issue of health care is personal to me because I had a family member go through a cancer diagnosis with very uncertain health care coverage during that time. It’s a terrible and real problem that every American faces, but musicians are definitely kind of on the ‘bottom rung’.”
Extensive preparation went into making Hell Cello a reality. Mentally, physically, and musically, Aniela tested and pushed herself to the limit. She stopped sleeping, having to take melatonin just to make sure she was resting throughout the night. She had never been so nervous about something with so much uncertainty. The thoughts concerning the event weighed heavy in her mind.
“Is this going to change my career? Am I going to do permanent physical damage and am I going to have to stop playing afterward? These were real concerns.”
To manage her unease Aniela began weight lifting, pilates and eating a lot of carbs and protein. Similar to how a runner would train for a marathon. Musically, her extensive history in improvisation helped her perform music over the 27 hour period. What she also claims helped her continue were friends and colleagues who would come by and perform alongside her.
“It was really transformative when a new person would walk in.”
Just hours before her energy was dwindling, she lost all feeling in her fingers, and she began to doubt her musical tenacity. It was between 6 and 7 a.m that Aniela’s former teacher from Cal Arts walked into the room with a latte, a stack of duets, and her cello. They sight read music for an hour. The energy, she says, had a noticeable physical effect on her.
In the end due to her boldness and self sacrifice, she accomplished her goal and successfully played cello for 27 hours. While doing so, she also raised over $10,000 for Sweet Relief. We can not thank her enough for enduring such a difficult journey. If you’d like to watch the entire interview with Aniela Perry, see below!