Fan­tas­tic Fid­dlers!

Stanstead Journal - - LENNOXVILLE NEWS -

- I started play­ing the vi­olin in Mo­bile, AL, when I was 10 years old. I was a to­tal mu­sic geek! I was con­cert­mas­ter of the Mo­bile Stu­dent Sym­phony, as­sis­tant con­cert­mas­ter of the Alabama All-State Fes­ti­val Orches­tra and worked through my fresh­man year at Tu­lane as the prin­ci­ple sec­ond vi­o­lin­ist of the Gulf Coast Sym­phony Orches­tra. Af­ter col­lege, I be­came a pro­fes­sional en­gi­neer and an ed­u­ca­tor. I worked for var­i­ous com­pa­nies, spent a decade work­ing as an en­gi­neer­ing con­sul­tant, and ul­ti­mately be­came a cer­ti­fied pub­lic high school teacher of math and physics, which I pur­sued for 4 years, all the while teach­ing part-time at var­i­ous col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties in NH. I dab­bled with mu­sic dur­ing those years, but mu­sic def­i­nitely took a back seat to fam­ily and ca­reer un­til 2002, when ev­ery­thing came to a screech­ing halt. Jobs for en­gi­neers were nonex­is­tent from 2002 through 2005. I was too old to be re-in­te­grated into pub­lic school ed­u­ca­tion. So for those 3 years I read ev­ery­thing I could find about vi­olin-mak­ing. I went to luthier work­shops and pestered friends who WERE luthiers half to death ask­ing ques­tions about the craft. I bought old vi­o­lins on Ebay and used them to learn how to do ba­sic vi­olin re­pairs. Af­ter do­ing these ex­per­i­ments, I found that I could re­sell them on Ebay at a profit, so I worked as a luthier most of the time for those 3 lean years, and have dab­bled in the craft ever since.

- Thur­mond is pic­tured here as prin­ci­pal cel­list of the Richey Com­mu­nity Orches­tra in New Port Richey, Florida. He is shown hold­ing a copy of a Stradi­var­ius cello

he made in 1995, named in honor of his mother, Ellen Frances. He be­came in­ter­ested in re­pair of the vi­olin fam­ily of in­stru­ments when he took his bro­ken cello to a master luthier for restora­tion. That ex­pe­ri­ence led him to study for 16 sum­mers at the Uni­ver­sity of New Hamp­shire, Durham, with master vi­olin maker, Herr Karl Roy of Bavaria. The last 9 years at UNH Thur­mond was shop fore­man and teach­ing as­sis­tant to Mr. Roy. Thur­mond has pro­duced 73 in­stru­ments, in­clud­ing 6 cel­los, 8 vi­o­las and 59 vi­o­lins. He works in his Glover, Ver­mont shop and, for the past 25 years, has trained a num- ber of stu­dents in the art of vi­olin mak­ing.

Paul Gavin has been play­ing the vi­olin since grade school, al­beit with sev­eral in­ter­rup­tions of var­i­ous du­ra­tions. He played for sev­eral years with the Con­necti­cut String Orches­tra in Hart­ford, and in more mu­si­cals than he is will­ing to ad­mit. Un­der coach­ing from a friend, a mem­ber of the New­port Area Com­mu­nity Orches­tra who had lent him in­struc­tion man­u­als, books, spe­cialty tools and tem­plates, he took the plunged into the mys­te­ri­ous art of vi­olin mak­ing. This friend turned out to be a very pa­tient men­tor, and eight months later the fin­ished prod­uct looked good, al­though the sound left a few things to be de­sired. Thur­mond Knight pro­vided in­valu­able as­sis­tance in the fine tun­ing of the bridge, neck and fin­ger­board.

Thur­mond Knight

Frank Ru­dolph play­ing his vi­olin.

Paul Gavin

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