Back in fourth grade, I joined the orchestra. I can’t remember why, but when the school offered to teach kids to play instruments, I signed up. I picked the viola, and this I remember why, because as the violin had all the important parts, the viola was the support…in the background…where I liked (and still like) to live.
I don’t remember if it was once or twice or whatever a week, I would leave class to got to my lesson. However, soon after beginning, my instructor recommended to my mom that I switch to the violin. He said I would be happier with it. So I did…no big deal.
My parents rented me an instrument for a while. And I kept playing…and they thought maybe they should buy me my own and stop having to make payments. When I could play a full size violin (yup, they have sizes), the search began. My mom remembers my instructor calling her to inform them that he had found me the perfect one, the sound was great, and would they be interested in buying it.
So my parents bought me a violin. And dude, those things aren’t cheap. So I felt a bit excited…and a bit guilty that they spent so much money on ME!
But I loved playing. In high school, I went to orchestra everyday and participated in all the concerts. I also joined the Central Illinois Concert Orchestra (CICO…yup, we pronounced it “sicko”…fun, right?). We had to AUDITION for that! The nerves on try-out day! Playing all by myself in front of a table of serious-looking people! Stomach churning. However, playing in a full orchestra, with brass and woodwinds and percussion, was AMAZING! I got my first taste of Wagner and Mahler and Holst, and WOW! Chills, people.
When I moved to Springfield, Il., there was no orchestra at the high school.
Mom found the Sangamon Valley Youth Symphony… and I played with them the rest of my junior year and all of my senior year.
Then…I went to college.
And my violin sat at home. Then I got married and moved, taking my instrument with me…because it was mine.
Over the years, I always knew where it was, but never thought much about it. It was a closed chapter in my life.
Chapters can be re-opened.
Three years ago, my daughter started playing the trumpet. I remembered playing my violin. And how much I loved it.
So I pulled out the case and opened it. The strings were broken…the bow had seen better days. The thought of getting it fixed entered my head and never left.
Well, a couple of years later and with a bit of money, my violin is playable again!
I took it to the music shop where we bought my daughter’s trumpet. I flipped the latches up, a sound I had missed. I opened the case, one I had carried for years, one I opened and closed so many times, so long ago. The string-guy (that’s what they called him) told me it was in good shape and could certainly help.
Leaving it there, with the experts, send odd quivers of sadness and excitement through my stomach. That instrument means a lot to me. The fact that my parents spent money on it…for me! All the music I played on it. All the concerts. It is a piece of me, one I’ll never lose because I love it.
I brought it home and set it under my chin and played a note. I bought a beginning violin book and can still read the music…can still remember what fingering to use. Though I have forgotten a lot, with a little work, I hope to make beautiful music with it. And my daughter wants to learn how to play, too.
The case still has my name on it from grade school…Mom carefully wrote it out and taped it there.
Pretty, right? For being 30 or so years old…
So there it is. The story of my violin and my current attempt at violin-ing.