Bach in Black performs classical renditions for Lincoln Center anniversary

Walker Discoe

Seated in a small room off the main reception center at The Lincoln Center, the cello and percussion-fusion band Bach In Black awaits their next performance. They had just played at the gala celebrating the 40th anniversary of The Lincoln Center, and would soon be performing before an audience in the lobby.

Herman Chavez, who has been playing the cello for seven years, performs with Bach in Black for the Fort Collins Fringe Festival at the Lyric Cinema on July 29. (Sara Graydon | Collegian)

Comprised of two cellists, Liam Kimball and Herman Chavez, as well as drummer Joseph Kinerson, Bach In Black performs covers and interpretations of popular songs, taking the audience on a genre-hopping, cello-powered journey through music.


“I guess I would define us as like a band, or an ensemble that does solo things interspersed,” Chavez said. “But we do play and practice together fairly regularly.”   

As a group that formed officially just last June, playing this sort of venue is a big accomplishment, especially with it being one of the group’s few performances.

“Actually this is the second time we’ve performed together as a group,” Kimball said. “The first time was at the FoCo Fringe Festival, at the Lyric, and that was a three-day festival in late July, and we formed as a group in June.”

Chavez, a freshman at Colorado State University, also plays in CSU’s symphony.

“It’s amazing because it gives us the opportunity to play at a high level,” Chavez said. “Playing professionally with an orchestra and playing professional pieces. It’s good to be able to take the concepts I learn in an orchestra and then apply them in a small group setting like this.”

Chavez plays on a nearly 175-year-old French cello, an instrument that came into his possession through a program intended to give young musicians with real potential extraordinary instruments. Chavez is modest about his caliber as a musician, but Kimball was willing to support his talent as a cellist.

“He’s great,” Kimball said. “On a scale of just okay to the best ever, I’d put him at a solid pretty good.”

Chavez finally interjected, explaining what it means to be a good cello player.

“The cello is an instrument that you play with your whole body, as compared to other instruments where you might be only using your arms or using your upper body,” Chavez said. “But having the entire cello on you means you have to really wrap yourself around it and play with your whole self. And so I think the aspect of bringing your body, and your self to the musicality is what sets a great cellist apart.”

Also in attendance of the Lincoln Center anniversary performance were the parents of Chavez and Kimball. Since their children began playing at a young age, they’ve always been supportive of their desire to perform.


Bach in Black performs live at the Lyric Cinema. Liam Kimball serenades the crowd with the song City of Stars from La La Land during the Fort Collins Fringe Festival  on July 29. (Sara Graydon | Collegian)

“We just support them as much as possible,” said Emma Chavez, Herman Chavez’s mother. “We see that it’s important for them. They love to be able to show what they are passionate about in events like this and at the same time being part of the community. So, I think it’s a good combination, and we see it as a good experience for them.”

Bach in Black hopes to perform more in the coming months, and are passionate about showcasing their performance skills. The band expects to keep playing, practicing and performing together, all the while developing their skills and becoming better musicians.

Walker Discoe can be reached at and on Twitter @Wdiscoe.