- 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.
Frank Rudolph playing his violin.