Last Saturday, October 29, was the first of four opportunities for me to meet with the VSO audience and give them a taste of the reality of violin making in Vermont today. I set up in the lobby of the Flynn Theater with a display explaining the work on the VSO violin to date: the building of the ribcage and roughing of the plates. I had the finished ribcage for people to handle while I worked on carving the outline and arch of the top and back. The cleaning crew was very accepting of the shavings on the floor. I thought of saving some of the shavings as souvenirs of the project, but did not.
I talked with audience members before and after the pre-concert lecture and during intermission, for a total of about an hour and a half. I was impressed with the enthusiasm and interest and I only wish there had been opportunity for more people to handle the work in progress and have their questions answered. Most of the time was talking with folks and I did not get much work done, but I did enough carving to give people the sense of creation in process.
Most of the questions were the universal ones (and here are the answers):
Q: “How did you get started in this work?” A: Trade school in Germany after high school
Q: “How long does it take to make a violin?” A: 120 hours and usually 1 year start to finish
Q: “What kind of wood do you use?” A: Red Maple and Spruce, Vermont grown
Q: “How long have you been doing this?” A: 50 years next fall, (I can’t believe it!)
I hadn’t spent time in Burlington for quite a while. I was impressed with the good food, youthful energy, and commitment to quality. I paid a visit to my colleagues at Vermont Violins in their new (for me) location at 25 Church Street. It is good that the string community of northern Vermont is so well supported and serviced.
I’m looking forward to my next residency, December 3, when I plan to have the body of the VSO violin complete but with the top not yet on so the internal construction will be visible. I will be working on carving the scroll and will display that process.
Photos are © Lee Krohn courtesy of Vermont Symphony Orchestra.
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