Lessons from an Ailing Instruments Workshop

Tales for Life


The space did not trumpet “welcome”: small, cramped, dimly lit by a standard flex-armed light that swung from the wall and smelling of special glues and polishes. A basement cubbyhole down the back stairs, past the laundry area and a cobwebby fruit cellar that housed home canned treats, beyond the furnace and stacks of storage boxes.

The designated spot where an unobtrusive magic happened was called the workshop. Just one door away from a modest recreation room (where I enjoyed birthday gatherings and impromptu dance fests), it was a favorite haunt of mine.

Dad seemed to reside there part-time. That is, after he played in (as well as being assistant conductor) the symphony, taught music theory and history, after he conducted high school orchestra and a summer city band, tuned pianos, administrated the public schools’ music department and judged music competitions all over the Midwest. And gave private violin and viola lessons…

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