The following originally appeared at natesviolin.com.
My third year of Curtis, 1998-1999, Zach DePue transferred from Cleveland and we immediately began playing in quartet together (along with Priscilla Lee and Jessi Thompson, the Grancino Quartet after a violin the school was lending me). But Zach grew up in Ohio, the youngest of four violin-playing brothers, and fiddling was his first love. So for the Holiday Party in December, which used to be a sort of vaudeville show, we volunteered this act, Flaming Fiddles. Zach's brother Jason played guitar and stuntman.
If you're not up for the whole thing, just skip to about 1:30 in where we start throwing bows. And if you watch the last third, you'll see what the Flaming refers to!
I didn't realize back then that once I was out of school, the occasions to throw bows and light them on fire wouldn't just present themselves like this. Had I known, I would have put many more things on video! Zach and I had a lot of violin adventures, a trend that he continues with his excellent group Time for Three.
As for the bows themselves, we ordered the cheapest fiberglass ones we could find. But the violins? Obviously we didn't want to use our own, but even a cheap violin was a hundred bucks. So we turned to the Curtis instrument repository, the same place from whence my Grancino had come! I asked the keeper of the instruments if there were any junky ones that we could use in a Holiday skit.
"Sure, take these two, nobody has played them for decades."
"Really? They look kind of nice, what are they?"
"I don't know, what does it say there on the cubby hole? Just take them."
"You know, there's going to be fire and..."
"Look, just take the damn violins!"
OK, we took them. :) To be honest, even though they looked nice, they were pretty junky. And I'm happy to say there were no accidents, pyro or otherwise! I've done worse to my violin in some pizzicato passages.
More entries: March 2011
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