Fancy Fiddles Auction, a silent and live auction of dozens of string instruments decorated by local artists, including Dianna Shomaker, will benefit the orchestra program in the Los Alamos Public Schools.
A silent auction is underway now at Village Arts Framing where the instruments are currently on display. The live auction will be held at Fuller Lodge Art Center in Los Alamos from 2-4 pm on Saturday, February 18th, with selected items auctioned live by auctioneer Jeff Favorite. All are welcome.
All of the instruments were owned by the Los Alamos Public Schools and had been loaned or rented to students in decades past. They were in such poor condition that repairs would have been either impossible or far too costly. With a complete renovation of the Los Alamos High School music wing approaching, all of these instruments needed to be cleared from the building. The plan was to send them to the local landfill.
That's when a group of volunteers and artists who wanted to save the instruments came up with the idea of the Fancy Fiddles Auction. LAHS orchestra teacher Michelle Rosette and Ann McLaughlin, artistic director of the Los Alamos Concert Association, delivered nearly 50 violins, violas, cellos and basses to Village Arts Framing where owner Ken Nebel distributed them to local artists. The artists worked their magic and donated them back to the project.
Decorated Violin To Be Auctioned For Charity
The Story of Dianna's Violin
Violins and the music they make have been in my genes since I was a child. I struggled with learning to play and making it sound beautiful. My fingers ached from practice and in the end I decided I was more of an appreciator than a performer.
And that continues today. I deeply appreciate the feelings and memories from the violin music and performers I have heard in my lifetime. There were professional classical performers in great concert halls, and there were jazzy, wonderful, toe-tapping fiddle players at the barn dances of my youth.
The thing they had in common was the joy they gave to the world in their unique and delightful interpretations. When I had the opportunity to decorate one of these well-used instruments I knew what I wanted it to look like. It had to reflect the beauty of what that instrument gives to our ears. To me it feels like all the air up to the sky is filled with music. So I started with a suggestion of skies to be filled with music.
Then I added a large abstracted flower bed of notes gathering at the bottom of the violin and gradually moving up to the neck until it reaches the final thread of a beautiful strain and leaves you with a dreamy quality of enjoyment. Supporting all that was a sense of rhythm that began pouring out of the sound holes, represented by piano keys accompanying the melody and the journey it was creating for us. All of it leaving us with the depth and heights beyond our ability to describe, and the feeling of calm, tranquility and peace.
What made this project doubly meaningful was the idea that this violin -- in an entirely different way than it's maker's intentions, will help the next generation of students who aspire to follow in the footsteps of Jascha Heifetz and Itzhak Perlman. Amazing!
~ Dianna Shomaker, artist