Let's Buy a Musafia Case For Emily

January 17, 2011 at 06:18 PM ·

The idea of getting a Musafia case for Emily Grossman surfaced just before Christmas, toward the end of this earlier thread, when some of us were feeling generous, and I was slightly bored: www.violinist.com/discussion/response.cfm

It took a while to get things in place, but we're finally ready to move forward with this. Poor girl, she has been saving for years to get a high-end case to replace her tattered freebie... something that will meet the challenges of the Alaska wilderness. It didn't help her case budget when her favorite bow was recently destroyed, catching on fire while in the shop being rehaired... (story in this thread)

We need to help keep violin music alive on the frozen tundra.

Forum users who have already agreed to help out:

Dimitri Musafia will cover about 1/3 of the cost. 

I've pledged $100. 

Lothar Krepke has pledged $100.

Tom Bop has pledged $25.

Ray Chen has pledged $40.

We now have a PayPal button to handle donations at the following link:

Edit: We believe we have reached our goal, and are no longer taking donations.

A Musafia Case for Emily 

I wonder if Musafia makes a bear-resistant model? LOL 

Replies (100)

January 17, 2011 at 09:37 PM ·

Sounds like fun! With Emily's Oklahoma connection, I'll be glad to throw in $25. And as a suggestion, perhaps Mr. Musafia can find an appropriate "Alaska" silk lining for the case. One of my daughters got a Musafia with a silk snake-skin interior--it's perfect for Oklahoma.

January 17, 2011 at 10:51 PM ·


Hi Jim,

Welcome aboard...! It's great that you are kicking in.

But please say more about what you believe would be an appropriate Alaska lining for the case. (Do you think Mr. Musafia could come up with a lining that is a lush green in the Summer, but starts to turn white in September?)

All the best,


January 17, 2011 at 11:14 PM ·

 soft fur

January 18, 2011 at 01:54 AM ·

Something that imitates aurora borealis would be really cool (no pun intended).

January 18, 2011 at 01:04 PM ·

There were several new donations overnight totaling $146 ($75 of it not "cleared" yet). Thanks, and please keep them coming. If any of these weren't intended to be anonymous, please post in the thread. Otherwise, I'll err on the side of caution.

Shouldn't the case have a headlight mounted on the outside for the long winter when the sun never rises? And maybe 4-way emergency flashers?

January 18, 2011 at 02:18 PM ·

David - thanks for honchoing this.  I have just made a contribution to this very worthy cause.

January 18, 2011 at 05:37 PM ·

Oh my gosh, I go away for a couple of days and this is what I come back to!  You're not actually going through with this, are you?  I could certainly think of plenty of better causes to support!

January 18, 2011 at 05:42 PM ·

What? You want us to buy you a new dogsled instead?

January 18, 2011 at 06:14 PM ·

David - I don't think that's in Ben's job description.  However, if Musafia has an Iditarod-friendly model, you should consider that one for Emily.

January 18, 2011 at 06:24 PM ·

Well, David, you actually did this! I can't believe it. No wonder my ears have been ringing... Now you really put me in the spot, I have to make a case which is bear-proof.

I suppose the best way for me to do this is get really technical. I'll need to know the latin name of the type of bear involved, as well as it's gender, weight, and age. So we narrow it down to a given type of bear. No, I'm not trying to squeeze out of this, I am obliged to provide a scientific result that, in order to be universally valid, it has to be repeatable by third parties.

Now, where was I? Oh yes. I'll get a panel organized whereby we can examine previous episodes of bears destroying violin cases and and decide exactly how the tests must be carried out for maximum validity and adherence to real-life dangers.

Since the character or disposition of even the same kind of bear may vary, I suggest we collect at least three or four specimens so then we can average the results. They should be shipped to Cremona where we can have the testing performed in the presence of independent observers to avoid any accusations of fudging the numbers.

Then, the data will be anaylized and with my new AutoCAD device I'll design the case to withstand the mother of all bears. Wow, this sounds like something I can publish..! ;-)

January 18, 2011 at 06:27 PM ·

David, my dog Ben would love a dogsled...  But he is picturing something he could slide down a hill on.

 Dmitri, take as many bears as you like!

January 18, 2011 at 08:04 PM ·

Emergency avalanche beacon, bear spray dispenser that fogs the area when case is clawed.

I'm in.

January 18, 2011 at 08:29 PM ·

OK, I'm in too.  Since Alaska actually is really a part of Canada :D

Forget the bears - the case should be steel lined and beaver proof, heck of a bigger threat to a violin.... 

January 18, 2011 at 09:43 PM ·

 Given Emily's past histories with things, maybe fireproof would be even more apropos?

January 18, 2011 at 10:38 PM ·

Beavers? All of my shop assistants are highly trained beavers. They have an initial propensity for felling trees to make dams, but with a little coaching, making a violin isn't difficult.

January 18, 2011 at 10:38 PM ·


Hello to all,
I certainly admire the spirit of the concerns you have shown for Emily (particularly with regard to the bears) but I must admit that I believe you may have missed the core of the issue:
My concern is not with Emily at all. In fact, some of you might remember that in the original thread, she commented about “blushing” and I responded by saying “Blush if you must, but then step aside. We have work to do.” Having read of your concerns thus far, I now feel ready to explain to you my own motivation in donating to this most worthy cause as I have.
I am worried about the bears...!
Let’s think about this for a moment.
If, as is widely known to be their habit, Alaskan Brown Bears continue to seek out violins (and, I will add here that despite well funded, and very well conducted research, the motivation of the bears in their effort is not fully understood, though increasingly, the scientific community tends to believe that the bears are attracted to the varnish…) we must do what we can to protect these majestic creatures from the very violins they seek.
Ah, if only the violins they so desire consisted only of wood, and the varnish that draws them like children to candy…
But life for the bears is no longer so simple.
I don’t know Emily, but I do wonder if she plays only on gut strings. (And, by the way, I am not including the wound gut strings that have, in recent years, become something of a scourge for the bears.)
I hesitate to go further in describing the unfortunate possibilities, but I must say a bit more...
An Alaskan Brown Bear, indeed huge, but in a deeper sense an innocent, seeks out, or perhaps better, hunts a violin, and then devouring it with relish, attempts to ingest its metal clad strings. This is simply a tragedy, and as many of you can well imagine, it could be happening in Alaska every day, but for the fact that in addition to the one owned by Emily, there are no more than two or three violins in all of Alaska.
I have devoted much of my life to a study of this matter, and have concluded that there is nothing other than a Musafia case that can afford these great beasts the protection they so richly deserve.
I would simply ask that any among you who care about preserving the great wildlife of Alaska go to the link David provided, and make a donation no matter how modest.
I would most certainly be appreciative, but far more important than that, so will the bears.
All the best,

January 18, 2011 at 11:20 PM ·

 This is the most whimsical and amusing of the many whimsical and amusing threads I've read on Violinist.com. I can bear-ly contain my laughter. 

January 18, 2011 at 11:20 PM ·

For those of us who are rather violin accoutremant challenged, if quite familiar with 'cooking for the bear in your life', can someone please explain what a Mousafia case is and how much we need to raise to buy one?


January 18, 2011 at 11:56 PM ·


I am looking forward to the new Musafia adverts in which a gi-normous brown bear is jumping up and down on the case  with the slogan......?

The case with internal and external Paddington!     (perhaps....)



January 19, 2011 at 12:40 AM ·

"For those of us who are rather violin accoutremant challenged, if quite familiar with 'cooking for the bear in your life', can someone please explain what a Mousafia case is and how much we need to raise to buy one?"

Musafia is somewhat of a "turncoat" in our business. He went from being a fiddlemaker to being a high-end case maker. I can somewhat relate, because I had reverse role in helping to design some of the "American Cases".

I'll guess that we need to raise somewhere around $600. Depends on whether Emily wants features like Caribou antlers protruding from the outside, and skis on the bottom.

January 19, 2011 at 01:31 AM ·

I attended a Philadelphia Orchestra performance over the weekend, and it was pretty hard to top. If I were to split hairs, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra Hall is a better listening environment.

People like Emily produce the next generation of players and audiences who will fill those halls.


January 19, 2011 at 02:34 AM ·

David: my donation is done. I am looking for the old Hill Box in rosewood violinists used to have during the 30,s and 40,s...  the small one with the old shape, not square... If you have a tip, please e-mail me...



January 19, 2011 at 12:17 PM ·

After having discussed the issue with my publicist, a foremost team of legal advisors, and having studied this morning's horoscope, I believe a disclaimer is overdue. Grizzly bears will be specifically excluded. Still working on the beavers though.

January 19, 2011 at 01:10 PM ·

Or maybe Dimitri can built a replica for me... I live in the greath north too...

January 19, 2011 at 01:36 PM ·

Are you sure you want the same pink lace exterior, matching Emily's hat?

January 19, 2011 at 05:44 PM ·

Seems to me, that if a Musafia case can tolerate being run over by a car, it should be able to withstand the attentions of a fluffy little brown bear, no?

January 19, 2011 at 06:25 PM ·


Hi Catherine,

You might want to check http://www.firstpeople.us/pictures/bear/Angry-Grizzly-Bear.html to understand why David suggested Musafia over the alternatives.

All the best,


January 19, 2011 at 08:04 PM ·

Ummm... alrightie then; I stand corrected (gulp).

January 19, 2011 at 10:46 PM ·

You should all be reported for violation of animal rights.  Tone wood is an important part of the brown bear's diet.  And violin varnish is loaded with nutrients.  Violin strings, especially gut, can provide the additional calories needed to sustain a bear through the long Alaskan winter.  Shame on you.  Bears also have a right to life.  Long live Yogi. 

January 19, 2011 at 11:12 PM ·

I guess that explains why one never sees a bear playing the violin.

A trombone should be OK....

January 19, 2011 at 11:39 PM ·


Hi Smiley,

Well sir, I am delighted to learn that I share this group with one other person who is able to see this issue "from the bears side." 

I admire your sensitivity,


January 19, 2011 at 11:50 PM ·

Ha, having a bear gnawing on your face will put you in touch with your sensitive side in a hurry.

January 20, 2011 at 01:04 AM ·


Hi Emily,

Just curious...

Are you from AK originally? It is a place I dearly love...

All the best,


January 20, 2011 at 01:14 AM ·

Go Smiley!

January 20, 2011 at 02:49 AM ·

David -- I sent the money off via paypal.

Let's go, everybody!

January 20, 2011 at 04:52 AM ·

Lothar, I'm an Okie, actually.  But I've lived in AK for twelve years.  Where are you from?

January 20, 2011 at 11:38 AM ·


Hi Emily,

Though originally from NYC, I've spent the last thirty years in Seacoast New Hampshire...

I've described myself as a "transgeographic." I was a country person trapped in the body of a city person.

All the best,


January 20, 2011 at 01:44 PM ·

Emily: I have a bear just in my backyard, sleeping right now... He will be awake in april, as usual. I live in the Boreal Forest . north Quebec...

January 20, 2011 at 01:45 PM ·

Lothar - you \obviously have the common medical condition of urbanophobiaruralophilia.


January 20, 2011 at 01:46 PM ·

Marc: why not ask him, politely, if he would mind testing Emily's new case for us?

January 20, 2011 at 01:59 PM ·

I do speak to the bear when he is around. Usually he goes away in April, but comes back for the Black Berries and my apples during  August...  He is very quiet and never breaks anything... I doubt he would take up the challenge of testing Emily's case, he is, like all the birds and animals around a music lover... I swim in my pool with music generally, speakers outside . The forest becomes enchanted...

The Magic Flute is among their favorite and also, Daphnis and Clhoé of Ravel, or Prélude à l'après-midi d'un Faune, Debussy...

January 20, 2011 at 02:09 PM ·

A most worthy cause to which I have given more than simply moral support, and I hope others will follow!

I think many of us dream of having a Musafia case so if even one of us has that honor, it's wonderfu!

January 20, 2011 at 02:22 PM ·

Since many contributors aren't posting in the thread, here's an update:

We've had 19 contributors, and with Musafia kicking in, probably enough money to get our foot in the door. Add some options like special insulation, a weather-tight closure, and a "hunter's vest orange" exterior so Emily won't accidentally be shot by an inebriated hunter, and we're probably not quite there yet.

Noteworthy, I think, is that one of the largest contributions has come from the shop that had the accident with Emily's bow (no, I won't name the shop, I think they're good people who had a freak accident, and needn't be avoided).

I'm hoping that Dimitri and Emily will hash out the details soon by phone so we'll have a solid goal.

Thanks to all who have contributed so far.


Marc, about swimming in your pool: Do you first cut a hole in the ice with a chainsaw?

Emily, do you ever travel by bush-plane? Perhaps the case should have a parachute...

January 20, 2011 at 02:45 PM ·

David.  You can try, but under the ice - is more ice till you get to about 10 ft under the pool.

OTOH you could carve a practice studio in there.  Might be a first....

January 20, 2011 at 03:14 PM ·


Hi David,

Thanks for the great status update, and I was particularly pleased to learn of the contribution from the E.B.A.F (the Emily Bow Accident Folks.)

I do wonder if Emily will ultimately choose the Aurora Borealis radiation deterrence package that Dimitry Musafia will soon announce to the public. It is a truly remarkable invention, and I do know that Mr. Musafia is already discretely seeking beta testers. 

Also, since it appears that we are about to enter the launch phase on this grand effort, I want to thank you for all you have done, both publicly, and privately, to bring us to the point of success.

In addition, I would value your opinion about this:

It would seem that we should ultimately require of Emily regular postings of photographs relating to the case. Which reminds me to ask, do we know at this point if Mr. Musafia will be flying to Alaska personally for the presentation ceremonies? I use the plural because, as you are aware, events are being planned for many communities in the state. It is all very exciting...

Oh, one last thing...

You closed your last post with a comment about using a chainsaw for cutting ice. But, you are dealing with a very sophisticated readership here, and they, and most certainly you, well understand that chainsaws are reserved for the carving of plates. I doubt that you would have asked about using a Sawzall for cutting ice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v1XXuo3hv6U

All the best,


January 20, 2011 at 05:46 PM ·

Lothar, for some reason, this other bridge fitting video is funnier to me.


Folks can also watch Peter Goodfellow carving a violin with a chainsaw:


Please pardon Peter and I for having no sense of humor. We're fiddle makers, ya know, and are supposed to be as drab and dull as possible, bordering on catatonic. At least we're making an effort not to be "girly-men". LOL

Oh, I better add that we don't really fit violin bridge feet with sandpaper, or a Sawzall, and Peter doesn't normally use a chain saw, so please don't try any of this. It's all just a joke.

January 20, 2011 at 07:00 PM ·

The funniest part of the bridge fitting video was the string of comments from people who took it seriously. 

January 20, 2011 at 07:28 PM ·

But don't you worry a little bit that someone could damage their bridge, or worse their violin if they were not very aware.  I must admit I was wondering (OK so I'm luthier-impaired, I admit it)...

Perhaps a disclaimer at the end?

January 20, 2011 at 07:46 PM ·


Hi David,

The two vids tickle me in different ways...

As I watch the first one, I smile. But then, you rev the Sawzall to its limits, and even though I have seen the vid many times, I laugh out loud, every time.

It is the introduction to the second vid that kills me. Your tone is so completely "off hand" as you say "Perhaps I should have mentioned..." 

In any case, they are a hoot !

All the best,


January 20, 2011 at 07:49 PM ·


Hi Elise,


Ah yes. Indeed it is comforting to have a name for it.

Are you, by any chance, similarly afflicted?


January 20, 2011 at 08:00 PM ·

All three videos were made to be posted on a violin-maker forum, and I must admit that I totally failed to anticipate that anyone could possibly take them seriously. In my microcosm, that's how absurd they are. I don't know much about Youtube, but I'll see if I can figure out how to edit.

January 20, 2011 at 10:02 PM ·

 I thought the videos were hilarious and hope you don't edit BUT if you want to, you can use the YouTube annotations feature to make little "Just kidding!" and "Don't try this at home!"  bubbles or title bars pop up in critical places. 

January 21, 2011 at 12:09 AM ·

Since my status report earlier today, we've received three more donations, and one of them was a mega-donation (over 10% of the total).

Let's call it quits for now. I'm already incompetent at YouTube postings, and would rather not compound it by trying to figure out how to give PayPal refunds.

Please don't stop posting the goofy stuff. It's part of what makes the project worthwhile for me (and Lothar, who has prodded me along). And please be willing to resume contributions if I've miscalculated, or if Emily decides on a violin case with wings and a jet engine.

January 21, 2011 at 12:23 AM ·

I think the luthier contributing is good and obviously the right thing to do, after destroying her bow ...but as for the other Kool-Aid drinkers, it disgusts me. Donate to a soup kitchen or a couple free lessons to a "poor student" but to a V.com member not in financial distress...ridiculous

January 21, 2011 at 12:31 AM ·

Well Royce, do you feel better about yourself, up on your high horse? You don't know anyone in here or what they contribute to. Get that plank out of your eye and grow up a bit.

January 21, 2011 at 12:42 AM ·

Royce, I hear ya, and can relate to where you're coming from. I donate thousands in time and money to various charities and worthy causes every year, so I hope you'll give us permission to  have a lark once in a while. Call it "decompression" or whatever you may. It's out of our pockets, not yours.

Last time we did something like this, it was to provide a violin outfit for a soldier stationed in Iraq. This is a little different, but who knows, maybe you'll be next. ;-)

January 21, 2011 at 01:33 AM ·

Royce - would you say the same thing if I spent 30$ on a silk scarf I did not need?  And just take a moment to consider whether you have any pecadillos of your own - money you spend that is not essential for your life, livelihood or essential passions. 

Lighten up a bit - its easy to argue that one should make the most of every asset - but to do so would make us all very dry indeed.  Mao Tse Tung's world (which was if anything totally pragmatic) was probably ethically correct - but from what I have read it was not worth living in.

January 21, 2011 at 02:44 AM ·

January 21, 2011 at 07:59 AM ·

Royce, aside from the kool-aid insult to my friends, I agree with you in that there are many more worthy causes that could use financial support.  Take my husband, for instance.  He's a missionary, cooking at a youth camp, and earns a salary by raising support from donations in order to keep the cost down for campers.  Though he's not one to ask for anything, he's very grateful for people like you.

January 21, 2011 at 09:09 AM ·

In response to what Royce said:

first of all, I think he could have put his point of view across in a more 'polite way' (sorry Royce....)

second: at first I was 'surprised' by this thread, I thought maybe Emily was struck by some terminal illness or some disastrous misadventure as usually acts of generousity like this are sparked by these events...then I realised there was no such thing going on....

Then I just discovered she is just an 'old' (not in age but in membership) v.com member who is very charming, kind fun and friendly and admired by all, she has indeed captured the hearts and friendship of many and her v.com friends want to show her how much they love her with this act of generosity, how lovely! it is truly altruistic and wonderful and I must say I am also a 'tad jealous'! 

 well done Emily :) congratulations for being such a great violinist and thank you for your contributions to v.com, I often read your blogs and they are very very nice reading material, they lighten up the day :)

January 21, 2011 at 09:20 AM ·

Royce: I spent £200 on getting my "new" violin set up. I already have a violin. I actually don't "need" a violin at all. I could spend all the time I use for practising engaged in good works for the benefit of the community but I don't. I have 2 German Shepherds - why don't I have those put down and give the money I save on vets' bills and dog food to charity?

I haven't contributed to the "Emily" fund (January is always a financially challenging time for me) but I think that it's great  that those friends on here have and are prepared to do such a lovely thing. 

And no, I don't drink Kool Aid, whatever that is.

January 21, 2011 at 11:45 AM ·


Hi Julian,

As I said to someone else earlier, "Welcome aboard..."

You wrote, in part "I haven't contributed to the "Emily" fund (January is always a financially challenging time for me) but I think that it's great  that those friends on here have and are prepared to do such a lovely thing."

and I wanted to offer my reaction:

With your very kind comments, you most certainly have contributed. I would offer, with respect, that anyone who understands this thread as being about the donations is far off the mark.

For me, it is, at its essense, about about the friends we have become, linked by something we love. It is about the great fun we can have together even though we are separated by thousands of miles, and have never met.

This has been a delight for me.

I have already thanked David for kicking it off, but now, I want to thank Emily for allowing, with such grace, this most pleasant experience to unfold. And, I want to thank you, for being an important part of it.

All the best,


January 21, 2011 at 11:50 AM ·

royce is one party pooper.

royce did a most unpopular thing: to stay true to his feeling and freely express it, a concept constantly instilled in musicians but infrequently endorsed.  precisely because those involved are deservedly held in high esteem--emily with her prose of pearls and burgess with his manliness-- it makes royce's individual voice even more thought provoking.   what a wonderful lesson to my kids:  how to differentiate what others consider the nice thing to do vs what you consider the right thing to do.  where to draw the line between free expression and causing others grief and discomfort?

but, royce, please,  the cool-aid smear has got to go because it is socially unacceptable!




January 21, 2011 at 12:55 PM ·

If I have mispercieved, and made a mistake I am truly sorry. I will take full acountability and whatever is imposed I will bare on my shoulders alone. If it has anything to do with my issues, I alone should bare the brunt and no one else. I extend formaly my appologies. Thank you all for your patience and encouragements in times past.

January 21, 2011 at 01:41 PM ·

A moment of angst Royce - forget it, we all will.  The important thing is it was well intentioned.

And don't go selling your violin for Oxfam either OK?


PS never drank kool aid - it looks and smells totally toxic...

January 21, 2011 at 01:43 PM ·


Hi Royce,

Many thanks for writing that...!


January 21, 2011 at 02:21 PM ·

 I'm new to v.com, and have followed many of the threads with great interest, learned a lot from several of them, and want to add my $0.02 worth--this thread has given me warm laughs and a sense that, in the bleak mid-winter, there is still sunlight--even through the computer!

Peace to you all.

January 21, 2011 at 02:49 PM ·

Interesting to hear about your husband, Emily. In my own family, it's my sister who has dedicated much of her life to "good deeds", and the community work I do pales in comparison. So far, she and her husband have adopted five crack cocaine/fetal alcohol syndrome kids. Some of them have behavioral problems which preclude attending school, so these are home-schooled. One will probably never be able to live on her own.

Kind of funny story: One of the kids had been in and out of a succession of foster homes. When my sister first met him, he seemed like a nice kid, and my sister couldn't figure out why he had been rejected so many times. Later, she discovered that he had an obsession with fire, and one of the foster homes had burned down as a result!  Anyway, many years have gone by, and my sister's house is still there, and the he's still there. Neat kid. He's still fascinated with fire.

Then there's the little girl whose mother was a stripper. The school found her behavior to be too disruptive (she liked to remove her clothes at school), so she's home-schooled now.

January 21, 2011 at 04:30 PM ·

my miniscule donation to this project is not made in the least as "charity" and shouldn't be interpreted that way.  I've enjoyed Emily's excellent posts and photographs on this site for a long time, and, as much as you can get to "know" someone on the www, she's very likable,and I hope she continues contributing.

When David first suggested taking up a collection, I thought it was in the nature of "hey, let's do something nice for Emily," not "there's this poor, deserving, casesless violin in ice-cold Alaska with a helpless, hungry woman who can't cover it at night."  It was around Christmas, and I'm thought of it just as a nice present to a nice person, and that's good in my book.  I hope she enjoys her new case as much as I've enjoyed my Musafia (which I received as a gift),  and feels appreciated when she opens it, as I do with mine.

Had I been thinking of charity, of course, the money would have gone to Haiti or somewhere like that, but this isn't that sort of thing at all to me.

January 21, 2011 at 04:36 PM ·


I think you have nailed it. The definition is the difference.

If you look at it as charity, there are indeed many better ways to contribute.

If you look at it as an opportunity to provide a gift to someone who deserves it, then it is in a completely different category.

January 21, 2011 at 04:59 PM ·

I think the most Youtube-worthy part of this will clearly be the live-bear QA trials in Cremona.  But this presents a problem - who will face the bear?  None of us were crazy enough to move to Alaska.  We don't wander the Arctic ranges, taking pictures until only God and GPS know where we are.  Paraphrasing an eminent Japanese jurist pondering a similar dilemma, I would say to Emily, "As you're already under Alaskan citizenship, everything seems to point to you."

But due to the high risk of death or life-threatening injuries with this plan, we would need a team ready to intervene instantly to rescue the bear if Emily starts going all Palin on him.  That would be a public relations disaster for V.com - the poor Arctic animal, bleeding his life out on his white coat, turning the color of Emily's stolen red dress, without even the concomitant comfort of being able to perform Sarasate (assuming that the test is successful).  Wondering with his dying breath, "What am I doing in Italy, anyway?"

Caution is clearly in order.

January 21, 2011 at 05:55 PM ·

I think Marc 'vollunteered' above - he has one sleeping in his back yard...

January 21, 2011 at 07:41 PM ·



Bill wrote:

"I think the most Youtube-worthy part of this will clearly be the live-bear QA trials in Cremona.  But this presents a problem - who will face the bear?"

But it seems obvious to me that it can be none other than Dimitri Musafia.

All the best,


January 21, 2011 at 09:38 PM ·


Seems to me you could get a bit more delicate with a Multifunction Oscillating Tool instead of a Sawzall! Maybe even use it to carve the f holes?

January 21, 2011 at 11:39 PM ·

To give, whatever the reason, is a wonderful gesture I think. A Musafia case,  a composition, a poem, a compliment  to a V.Com member means that we are a community apart. And that makes us very special...

January 22, 2011 at 12:16 AM ·

Lothar, you're right.  The challenge is Dimitri's alone.

An open letter to Dimitri Musafia:

There comes a time in the life of every artist when their work is tested in ways that they could never have imagined.  A difficult problem of ensemble, or the realization that greater creativity can be expressed in caring for the voice of the violin than in creating the violin itself, or an injury, or a large, furry predator.  When a man realizes that his whole artistic life has been drawing toward one supreme challenge.  His response to that challenge - your response, Dimitri - defines the integrity of his work in the eyes of history.

Dimitri, will you meet that bear?

This commercial is just a taste of the glory that can be yours.

January 22, 2011 at 12:23 AM ·


Hello Bill,

Very  well said...

All the best,


January 22, 2011 at 12:27 AM ·

"Seems to me you could get a bit more delicate with a Multifunction Oscillating Tool instead of a Sawzall! Maybe even use it to carve the f holes?"

Delicate? Delicate? That wouldn't be very manly now, would it?

Sounds like you've been thinking. That's not very manly either. Remember our manly mantra: Stimulus- response (no thinking allowed), with an occasional grunt or belch.

Now you've got me thinking. I could hook a bow up to the Sawzall, and we'd instantly have millions of men  interested in playing the violin.....

January 22, 2011 at 12:50 AM ·



I've always seen David using this sort of manly cutter for f holes: http://tinyurl.com/4cg4lrs,


January 22, 2011 at 07:25 PM ·

OK, I'll retract the comment about the Multifunction Oscillating Tool as it does lead to delicacy.

How about taking the base of a 2 HP router, and using it to carve? You cold use carve the scroll, the neck, all kinds of things. As a matter of fact, you could possibly carve the back and ribs out of a single piece, instead of making the ribs separately! Just hollow out a block of maple!

Of course you would have to one-hand it to do it in a real manly fashion (if I can use 'manly' and 'fashion' in the same sentence).

January 22, 2011 at 08:04 PM ·

Lothar and Bill, I will rise and take command of the challenge with no fear whatsoever. Evidently, you have never met my mother-in-law.

January 22, 2011 at 08:45 PM ·


Hello Dimitri,

I is certainly admirable that both the man, and the product of his company, are prepared to rise to the challenge...

Now, to select the bear...,


January 22, 2011 at 09:27 PM ·

You know, I was just reading over the whole string of comments on this thread, and I am thoroughly warmed by the number of kind people there are in this community.  I don't even know most of you, other than what you've revealed about yourself on this site.  And many of you gave to me without even letting me know who you were so that I could properly thank you.  By remaining anonymous, you gave me an extra gift: now, when I go about, I have to assume that any one of you could be an anonymous gifter.  You have no idea what this does for my general outlook on life.  I've been happy all week, looking for ways to be nice to people as a form of indirect reciprocity for the generosity I've received.  I am so grateful for this--grateful for a reminder that life is sweeter when you expect and believe the best in people, and more enjoyable when you give to others without expecting anything in return, not necessarily because they need it or deserve it, but just because.

January 22, 2011 at 09:49 PM ·

Lothar wrote:  Hi Elise, "urbanophobiaruralophilia"  Ah yes. Indeed it is comforting to have a name for it. Are you, by any chance, similarly afflicted?

Nope.  I'm urbanomagnetic and ruralophasic.  It appears I'm also froidotropic, pinot noirotrophic and violinoadherent.

which is probably why I am watching snow fall in the city street outside while sipping a glass of red wine with a violin stuck to my chin....




January 22, 2011 at 10:00 PM ·


Hi Elise,

You wrote "sipping a glass of red wine with a violin stuck to my chin...."

That may be the alcohol vapors softening the varnish!

All the best,


January 22, 2011 at 10:08 PM ·


Emily wrote:

"You know, I was just reading over the whole string of comments on this thread, and I am thoroughly warmed by the number of kind people there are in this community.  I don't even know most of you, other than what you've revealed about yourself on this site.  And many of you gave to me without even letting me know who you were so that I could properly thank you.  By remaining anonymous, you gave me an extra gift: now, when I go about, I have to assume that any one of you could be an anonymous gifter.  You have no idea what this does for my general outlook on life.  I've been happy all week, looking for ways to be nice to people as a form of indirect reciprocity for the generosity I've received.  I am so grateful for this--grateful for a reminder that life is sweeter when you expect and believe the best in people, and more enjoyable when you give to others without expecting anything in return, not necessarily because they need it or deserve it, but just because."

Hi Emily,

Your lovely comments certainly brought a smile, and I thank you for them. But, as I hope you already know, there has been great joy for many of us involved in all of this.

Except for one.

For one of us, a difficult trial awaits, though we have great faith in Dimitri's capabilities (and those of his cases) in fending off the bear.

Now, about the photos I mentioned earlier:

What sort of rythm do you believe would fit your schedule? Should we expect daily, weekly, or perhaps, monthly, photos of the "Adventures of the Musafia Case in Alaska?"

All the best,


January 22, 2011 at 10:30 PM ·

"And many of you gave to me without even letting me know who you were so that I could properly thank you.  By remaining anonymous, you gave me an extra gift: now, when I go about, I have to assume that any one of you could be an anonymous gifter."

These are lessons I'm still learning in life, so thanks for articulating them. Perhaps it will help others come along faster than I have. Kindness is contagious.

January 22, 2011 at 10:31 PM ·

Rrr, my camera is currently broken.  Right now, I think it's in the Subaru.  George is currently driving the Subaru up the Al-Can highway.  I'm guessing he's somewhere near Saskatoon.  Once he gets back, I'm going to see about having it repaired and then I'll be able to do some photo-documentaries.

January 22, 2011 at 10:42 PM ·

Lothar: are you a clinician?  I think you have provided the correct diagnosis for my violionadherent symptom...

Now the only question is what do I put down, the wine or the violin.... :-\

January 22, 2011 at 11:24 PM ·

wine... performance...  Musafia cases . . three  V.com threads colliding head on... the sparks are flying ===>   I see a new feature Dimitri should consider in his cases- a hidden flask or wine bag.  Instead of a string tube, it could have a tube like a camelback hydration pack.  Sometimes one needs a bit of liquid courage before venturing out into the frozen tundra or the performance hall.


January 23, 2011 at 05:08 AM ·


I'll volunteer to stand by with you as you test the case; I think I could confuse the bears if they decide to attack you by redirecting them. Why would any normal being of any species decide to wall themselves up in brick & mortar buildings, when they have the chance to sleep next to a rushing stream. Why would a critter buy food so processed and manipulated that it no longer has more than a passing resemblance to real berries or fruit?

After the bear has decided to take pity on the poor misguided creatures we are, it will allow us to escape.

January 23, 2011 at 12:58 PM ·

Time for an announcement. A few people (very few, actually) have questioned my motives for participating in this “Let’s buy a Musafia for Emily” initiative, and of course the main question focuses on “why Emily”.

I don’t know Emily personally, and as we are all attending this virtual reality which is V.com, there is a theoretical possibility that she doesn’t even really exist. Or that I do, for that matter, as far as you're concerned. The world around us is only what we perceive through our senses, and viewing it through a computer screen only removes us further from reality.

Last Saturday night I attended a dinner where an artist was presenting his new collection of collages and sculptures, and we got into a discussion which is as old as the Big Bang: what is art? We ended up agreeing that art is a metaphor. You can look at a piece of modern art and say, yeah, great, but if the author then explains what it’s all about then you really get the picture (pun intended). Art is a representation of something.

So, again why Emily? Because I view Emily (and I hope she forgives me!) as a metaphor herself. In our little V.com world she is representing a form of humanity that is all too rare, and that should be printed in red on the endangered species list. The genuinely nice, honest, sensitive person. A truly beautiful picture, that I would imagine like a Matisse or a Monet, and which prodded David Burgess’s sensitivity to invent this initiative.

The world, by dear v.com friends, is by and large a challenging place i which to live and many of you will agree that it is also increasingly more so every day. For that reason many years ago I started affiliating myself with organizations that try to do something about it, and in this case (again, pun intended!) donating a few hours of my time to make a violin case for Emily is just a gesture of kindness, to make a deserving someone happy and feel that the world maybe has some hope after all.

Of course, my effort – and David’s, and that of all of you who have contributed to this initiative - are an infinitesimally small drop in an ocean of indifference and self-interest. By itself, in the big picture, it’s all meaningless. However this initiative should be viewed as a modest but important example to follow, like the concertmaster who gives the “A” to tune the orchestra before a concert. There are many of you out there in a position to do much more that make a violin case for a deserving someone. Let’s all chip in, each with what he/she can, to each of our capacities, and make the world a better place!

That would indeed help make a difference in the big picture, and give this initiative the meaning that I believe David intended. 

January 23, 2011 at 01:20 PM ·

 There is a beautiful parable in the bible new testament (irrespective of religion, a great book) about a landlord paying workers who worked only half a day the same sum as initially agreed with the workers who worked a full day. When the full-day workers object to this, the landlord replies something like "why would I be unjust to you? I paid you what we initially agreed. That I pay the same to someone else does not hurt you." One often sees this false perception of injustice. 

When I first posted something on this forum, after coming back to the violin after a many years long hiatus, with a technical question about finger strength, Emily was there immediately to give me a warm and helpful response. Thanks Emily.

By the way, another person who helped me back then was the very Royce who was a little bit under fire here recently. Thanks Royce.

January 23, 2011 at 04:04 PM ·


Hi Dimitri,

I very much appreciate your most interesting comments.

But, with respect, I must disagree with your view that the world is a "crappy" place. Of course, terrible things happen, as they always have.

Yet, in a sense that may relate to your comments about "metaphor" I believe that we each have the opportunity to make things a bit better, or I suppose, a bit worse, every day.

I'm certainly a skeptical fellow, but I try to avoid cynicism, and I fully admire your generosity,  and sprit of fun.  As a result, I do find it rather surprising that anyone would question your motivation for participating is all this.  

Emily is not, by the way, the only recipient of your generosity. I know that I have taken something from this that I will not soon forget, and I sincerely thank you for that.

And on another matter:

I'll be in touch shortly when we nail down the travel arrangements for the bear....

All the best,


January 23, 2011 at 04:23 PM ·

Lothar - Dissenting point well taken, amendment done. Thanks for all of your thoughts too.

January 23, 2011 at 04:29 PM ·

Gad Zooks, we just received a donation from Viet Nam, from someone who is on an extremely tight budget!

Thanks for the spirit in which this was done. Let me restate though that we think we've reached our goal, and are not requesting further donations at this time.

I may not have another chance to post before this thread runs out at 100 posts, so I'll start a new thread when we have some news, like which case Emily has selected, or her reaction upon receiving it. Thanks again, everyone.

January 23, 2011 at 04:58 PM ·

Hey!!!  If art is creating metaphore then I'm an artist.  Metaphorically speaking of course.

But, gadzooks, so is the bear....

January 23, 2011 at 09:27 PM ·

You are all aware of the fact I get highly edited before I reach the internet, aren't you?  Just ask my friends at the coffee shop!  Ask my mother!  But it's what we artists do: we tell stories, paint pictures, and make music (or musical instruments and cases...) not because facts need reported, but because ideals need expressed.

January 23, 2011 at 10:13 PM ·

Emily has already expressed her feelings on her blog.

January 24, 2011 at 12:56 AM ·


Hello to all,

Please accept my thanks for the great fun...!

All the best,


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