Music Reminds Us We Are Human

Sponsored Story by Luis and Clark

Zuill Bailey with a young student at a recent Outreach Engagement Event at the El Paso Museum of Art.
Zuill Bailey with a young student at a recent Outreach Engagement Event at the El Paso Museum of Art.

Zuill Bailey is a Juilliard-educated, Grammy award-winning cellist, philanthropist, and Music Director of the Sitka Summer Music Festival and Artistic Director of El Paso Pro Musica. But most importantly, he is an educator.

Zuill recently visited three EPISD Middle Schools in El Paso, Texas, asking students to close their eyes and listen to the music and how it made them feel.

“When I closed my eyes, I felt really peaceful and relaxed,” one sixth-grader answered. “I am a cellist so when I heard he was coming, I was really happy. I hope I can sound like him and play like him and make people feel what he makes people feel.”

“The music made me feel both sad and happy,” said another student.

Zuill has said, “To be honest, I’ve found that kids are more interested in this [carbon fiber] cello…They’ll say, ‘This is the coolest-looking thing. It’s awesome.’ And I’ll say, ‘Wanna play it?’ And that’s even more awesome…I just need a spray of Windex when they’re done.”

He tells kids that his cello is “made from the same thing as Batman’s car.”

When asked how the carbon fiber sounds, Zuill responds that his Luis and Clark cello “has a direct, clear sound. To have a cello that can be taken ANYWHERE is a gift in itself. It has changed the way I am able to bring music to all walks of life.”

And he has brought his cello everywhere – from schools to prisons, Arizona to Alaska.

Zuill Bailey recently performed for the inmates at the infamous San Quentin Prison. As he ended, Bailey noticed that one of the inmates was sobbing. “The inmate stood up and said, ‘…I don’t know what’s happening to me,’” Bailey recounted. “‘But the sound of that cello is making me all tore up. It’s breaking me, and I haven’t cried in 26 years, and I’ve been in here 27.’ Just literally shaking. ‘Why is this happening to me?’”

Zuill, as always, let his heart speak for him: “I told that guy, when he cried, ‘You just reminded yourself that you’re human. Welcome back.’”

Read more about Zuill Bailey’s efforts to make music accessible for all here: