We had a little mix up with the music. My stand partner thought he'd be at the rehearsal, so he took home the part. But as it turned out, he couldn't be. He called and left a message, then he called three more times just to make sure I got it.
“I'm so sorry,” he said, with genuine concern, when he finally got the real me. “I hope it's okay. I promised to run a fundraiser for my son's soccer team, and I had asked to be excused from a rehearsal before. I thought I could be at this rehearsal, but as it turns out ...”
This was no big deal, I had practice parts. This guy actually has his priorities straight, I thought. Good for him. He's there for his son, and that's more important than this rehearsal. As it turned out, we did not even rehearse that piece that night!
Over that week in September, I came to see that David Ewart was one nice guy. Just a good soul, happy and quirky, beloved by his peers.
So I felt great distress when I came to realize that the article I was reading, about a family caught up in a terrible fire after their holiday party, was about David.
It seemed completely in character that he was throwing a party for his entire block that night. Not only was he throwing a party, but he went all-out. Even Mr. and Mrs. Claus were there!
The fire started later that night, and Ewart suffered second- and third-degree burns over 32% of his body — including his hands, arms, back, chest and face. His 15-year-old son was the most seriously injured, with burns over 41% of his body. Ewart's father, 81-year-old Hugh Ewart, a retired concertmaster of the Oregon Symphony in Portland, had facial burns and a broken nose from falling.
The fire also destroyed his house, including all his family pictures. I don't know if his violin was in there. He may have to go through difficult therapy if he is to play again, as well. Ewart has played in the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, as well as for movie scores such as "Million Dollar Baby" and "Spider-Man 2."
Undoubtedly, David and his family will need financial help, and they will need much encouragement. Here's how you can help financially.
Donations for the Ewart family can be made at: Account No. 8606155136, Wells Fargo Bank, 25850 The Old Road, Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381.
Checks should be made payable to: David Ewart Catastrophe Fund.
Here, also, is a link to more fund information.
And how can we help with the encouragement? Well, I've seen you guys do it before. So you can start right here, and I'll see to it that he receives it.
Hear more from the world's top violinists in The Violinist.com Interviews: Volume 1, which includes our exclusive conversations with Joshua Bell, Sarah Chang, and David Garrett, and others, as well as a foreword by Hilary Hahn.
Laurie Niles is from Pasadena, California. Biography
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