Billings native returns home to play cello in the Modern Rock Orchestra

BILLINGS — For a Billings native, music is a way of life.

Marley Ball has been playing the cello for 13 years and has performed statewide. She will perform in the Modern Rock Orchestra at the Babcock Theater on Friday night.

Ball fell in love with the cello after watching the movie “August Rush.”

“Lyla Novacek is the great cellist in this film and she’s a soloist, and at the end she plays Elgar’s concerto in front of an entire symphony. And I was like, I want to be that one day,” Ball said Thursday.

The 23-year-old Skyview High graduate has been playing the cello since she was 10 years old.

“I love the sound, and it’s not too high or too low,” Ball said.

Alina Hauter/MTN News

Marley ball

She just graduated from the University of Montana in May with a degree in cello performance and currently lives in Bozeman. When she was younger, she always thought she would be a symphonic musician.

“Now I’m like playing in a bunch of different bands and writing my own, which is what I dreamed of doing,” Ball said.

She also teaches music to aspiring cellists. When she was only a second year in high school, she interned with the Billings Symphony.

“I had the opportunity to play pretty regularly at their gigs, and at Alberta Bair, which is a cool scene,” Ball said.

She played with Montana guitarist Daniel Kosel when she was a senior in high school. They even released an album called “Better Days” together.


Alina Hauter/MTN News

Marley Ball and Daniel Kosel

“That’s kind of how I got into the different music scenes, playing blues and country and stuff like that,” Ball said.

When she was younger, she even got to play at Carnegie Hall. His love for the cello is matched only by his love for playing for people.

“You just have to see the faces of the audience after you finish playing, as if you were touching them. You touch them in a certain way,” Ball said.

She will play in the Modern Rock Orchestra at the Babcock on Friday night. It’s a project led by Roberts guitarist Grant Ferguson.


modern rock orchestra

“It’s so cool because it’s like a rock band with Grant Ferguson, but it also has this awesome backing of 10 string players behind it,” Ball said.

She hopes to be able to play the cello across the country, and she urges budding musicians to get started.

“I actually got the best advice from a fellow cellist. He said the more you’re afraid to do something, the more you should do it,” Ball said.

To buy tickets, click here.

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