OK -- maybe it isn’t so hush-hush. Actually, the idea of a shared community violin came in 2013 from Fiddlerman.com forum member, Dennis Miloro. The popular proposal garnished interest from dozens of others within the first week!
Here’s what Dennis envisioned:
“A traveling violin that belongs to the Fiddlerman community, “ he wrote in the forum. “Essentially, an instrument would be obtained -- nothing too expensive -- and would start in the possession of one of the members. They would keep the instrument for a few months.”
The group quickly agreed on 30 days as the length of possession for the instrument. Pierre Holstein, aka Fiddlerman, added in another idea -- everyone who plays the violin must sign it!
Dennis also encouraged people to leave notes, postcards, and stickers in the case; a record of extraordinary adventures of the traveling fiddle.
In only two days, everything was set in motion.
On January 23, 2013, Dennis proposed the idea, and on the 24th, fellow forum member Scotty Bowers had donated his “Cremona SV-100 Violin to the ‘Traveling Fiddle Project’.”
Since 2013, members have shipped the violin all over the U.S. and other countries, including Scotland, Denmark, and Brazil. It has traveled via plane and cargo ship. Spent some time in customs, and sometimes, stayed just a little too long in one place.
But, it is still in one piece! The Traveler has brought people of various playing levels together, despite being miles apart. A community of trust and sharing sprang up from the start of the Traveling Fiddle program. You can watch videos and view photos of the violin here.
Amanda Anderson recounted her time with the Traveler.
“The Traveler took me on adventures, not the other way around, “she said“ I had only been playing a year, so things like playing outside, in public, scared me. But for the sake of the Traveler, I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and played it in public where people could hear me.“
“In the end, I felt I grew so much as a fiddler from my time with the Traveler, in ways I would never have without that experience.”
Dennis Boring wrote, “Traveler has traveled to the hills of Northern California tonight. Currently, this ‘exchange student’ is making new friends here at my place. Tomorrow we get acquainted and start a few tunes on it to see how things will progress. I will take the better part of a rainy Saturday morning to examine all the items left behind by other homes it's visited.”
The Traveler is currently in Brazil. To get on the list to host the Traveler, you must sign up for the Fiddlerman.com forums, and join in the discussion. To see the thread about the community violin, click here. You’ll have to be an active member of the forum for some time to qualify.
The stipulations for receiving the Traveler:
- The person in possession of the Traveling Fiddle records themselves playing a tune on it -- video or audio. They then post the recording to the Fiddlerman.com forum.
- That person would then pay shipping to get the violin to its next owner in another state or country after 30 days.
- Of course, while in the hands of the caretaker, the Traveling Fiddle is to remain undamaged. If the temporary owner wishes to make improvements on the instrument with new strings, bridge, pegs, etc, that is welcome!
- You must leave a note, sticker, or postcard in the case.
By Jasmine Reese