NewsPositively Montana


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

Posted at 6:57 PM, Oct 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-28 10:02:07-04

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

Marley Ball has played the cello for 13 years and has performed across the state. She’ll be playing in the Modern Rock Orchestra at the Babcock Theatre Friday night.

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

“Lyla Novacek is the big cellist in that movie and she’s soloist, and at the end, she’s playing the Elgar concerto in front of an entire symphony. And I was like, I want to be that someday,” Ball said on Thursday.

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

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

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’d be a symphony musician.

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

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

“I got to play in their concerts pretty regularly, and the Alberta Bair, which is a cool stage,” said Ball.

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

Marley Ball and Daniel Kosel

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

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

“Just seeing the audience’s faces after you’re done playing, like you touch them. You touch them in a way,” said Ball.

She’ll be playing in the Modern Rock Orchestra at the Babcock, Friday night. It’s a project lead by Roberts guitarist Grant Ferguson.


“It’s just so cool because it’s like a rock band featuring Grant Ferguson but also he has this awesome support of 10 string musicians behind him,” Ball said.

She hopes she can play her cello across the country, and she urges aspiring musicians to go for it.

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

To buy tickets, click here.