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Fiddleheads Violin Studio Top Image featuring a photo of Rhiannon, Owner Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide View Shopping Cart Like and Follow Us on Facebook! Spring Break/March Shipping Delays: Click Here Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide foo Like and Follow Us on Facebook!

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Writings

Forrest Gump's Red Violin

The "Truth" to a Violin's Past is Revealed

by Rhiannon Nachbaur of Award-Winning Fiddleheads Violin Studio

It was a dark and stormy night. A feeble old man's hands shivered with excited anticipation as he carved away the last curled shaving from the ancient piece of maple.

"Magnifique!" he exclaimed to his masterpiece as he caressed it, as a mother with her newborn child. He kissed the smooth wood then gently hung it from a wire attached to a gold-gilded candelabra. The shapely object swayed gently above the master's head. Flickering candlelight danced with the ox-hair brush as the violin received its first of more than twenty fine coats of hot oil varnish.

The violin was completed and labeled at the poignant stroke of midnight on January 1, 1912 in Lyon, France. The year would later be known for other historic events such as the establishment of the Republic of China, the discovery of the South Pole, and more notably, the addition of prizes to Cracker Jack boxes. All these events are shadowed by the creation of a violin that would someday find its way to me.

My violin's rust-brown varnish had just finished curing when it was wrapped in fine silk and sent away in a wooden, coffin-style case. Due to rampant highway congestion and no available carrier pigeons, French aviator Henri Seimet was asked to deliver the violin and made the first non-stop airplane flight from Paris to London in three hours.

The violin's premier owner was the great-grandson of legendary violinist Nicolò Paganini who, incidentally, suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The instrument's astonishing tone helped auditioners overlook the player's affliction and earned the him a gig with an 8-man lounge music band on a cruise ship. The Atlantic voyage was uneventful, unless you consider that last little bit when the Titanic stuck an ice shelf and sank.

The violin's final tune with the band that fateful evening was a jolly rendition of "Roll Out the Barrel" before it was laid to rest in the coffin case, its owner saying a teary goodbye. The ship went down in a fury of bubbles and miraculously the case came up out of the vessel with an infant sleeping peacefully on top. When the rescue ships arrived several hours later, infant Eva Braun and violin were in the care of another survivor on a nearby lifeboat: Margaret "Molly" Brown.

Little Eva was reunited with her family and would grow up to make poor decisions in politics and boyfriends. The violin, however, now belonged to no one and was donated to a music society as a tax write-off. Joe Dawson, an eccentric race
car driver, purchased the violin (also for tax reasons, though historians dispute this fact) and won the first Indianapolis 500 race with the violin in the trunk for good luck.

Soon afterwards Dawson lost his bet with Woodrow Wilson that the latter would not win the Presidential election; the winner took the violin and a case of beer. Wilson gifted the violin to former ice hockey teammate Igor Stravinsky, who composed many of his best works using the violin. A year later, in 1913, the premiere of "The Rite of Spring" was poorly received and a riot broke out in the audience. Stravinsky himself was so upset due to its reception that he fled the theater in mid-scene, leaving the violin and his toupet behind in his haste.

Historians believe this is when my violin received extensive damage to the lower bout at the end-pin. (In layman's terms, the bottom was cracked). The facts that follow are fuzzy due to poor documentation, but it is believed the instrument was discovered in the theatre rubble and couriered to a medicine man in Cuba who repaired the violin with guar gum and papyrus extracts. The dear violin spent the next forty-nine years passed from village virtuoso to virtuoso, who played for dignitaries, millionaires and other ridiculous people.

This happy holiday ended in 1962 when one village violinist (also the acting village idiot), fearing the worst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, stashed the violin away in a fall-out shelter behind 200-cans of "extra-juicy" pork and beans. In 2005 the canned food's expiration date came to pass and, as the unfortunate cans were being disposed of, the violin was rediscovered.

A compulsive gambler working with the fallout shelter's janitorial service pilfered the violin and put it up for auction on Ebay. It was won by my cousin's dog groomer's babysitter's nephew for 50 pesos. Through a series of uninteresting events I heard there was a violin in the family and traded a broken lawnmower (he needed the wheels for a go-cart) for the violin, which is now safely in my possession and care.

Over this past year I have contemplated the mysterious label inside the antique "Lyone 1912" and pondered over the spider-like cracks on the bottom that seem to be so expertly repaired using methods unknown to local luthiers. Hence I
took it upon myself to extensively research the history of my violin and learned what little I could about the violin's history, which I have presented here truthfully (and unabridged) to you.

Strangely, the people I've shared my flawless findings with have been disappointed as they're only marginally glamourous or mysterious. Nothing fantastic or eart-shattering, sadly. Sometimes the truth is pretty boring. I only wish it could be more than that.

So now when people ask for stories about my violin's past, I fib and say my violin was found in Elvis' cold, dead grasp in a Vegas hotel bathroom.

That'll keep them interested.

Feedback for "Pop Culture Blue Bin"

Having just read your amazing violin story, you have left me speechless and in total awe really. Thank you so much for posting this wonderful story. It reveals how deeply connected we all are and how circumstance plays a large part in so many of our lives. I love Lyon. I was there this summer. You could catch my v-clip here.
 
I am a travel journalist and visit many destinations throughout my work. It would be a real pleasure to meet you one day.
 
May you continue to get true enjoyment from your beautiful violin and again thanks for sharing!!
 
Ilona, Editor/Writer + travel columnist: www.mycompass.ca

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Fiddleheads.ca Main Page Like and Follow Fiddleheads Violin Studio on Facebook View Shopping Cart: Pay with Credit Card or Paypal Account Fiddleheads is a Canadian Business that serves customers around the world Fiddleheads is an eco-friendly business Fiddleheads is an Award-Winning Business run by an Award-Winning Musician and Young Entrepreneur Serving Elated Customers Worldwide: Click here for Testimonials Fiddleheads Violin Studio is Operated by an Award-Winning Symphony Violinist and Teacher Fiddleheads is the World's First Eco-Friendly Violin Shop Fiddleheads' Owner has won numerous awards for Business and Musicianship Fiddleheads Serves Elated Customers Worldwide Welcome to Fiddleheads Violin Studio Located in Canada, Fiddleheads serves customers worldwide foo Like and Follow Us on Facebook!