Monday, November 3, 2008

Thank you, Huthmakers

Cellist Anna Huthmaker of Huthmaker Violin

I was in the Atlanta, Georgia, area recently, Duluth, to be exact, visiting my daughter. Shortly before I arrived, my daughter had stumbled across the Huthmaker Violin shop in the lovely "Old Main Street" area of Duluth, and stopped in to check it out for me. She knew I would be interested, not only because I play the cello, but also because I worked, for about four years, at Johnson String Instrument on Cape Cod.

I immediately checked out the Huthmaker web site and discovered that not only did they rent instruments, but they had their own community string ensemble, the Main Street Orchestra which meets once a week. The orchestra is open to "amateur string players who love music and love making music. There is no audition. Just come to a rehearsal, take out your instrument and join the fun."

It sounded great to me, so I immediately called to see if they would rent me a cello for a week, and whether I could drop in and play with the orchestra. They were very friendly, though, at the time did not have a full-size cello, and told me to call when I arrived. And, yes, I was welcome to play in the string ensemble.

What a treat, I thought! I hated the idea of not being able to practice for a week (especially given that our orchestra concert is coming up in two weeks, now), and thought it woud be fun to connect with another string shop. I decided to rent a 3/4 size if that was all they had. There are numerous passages in the orchestra music that I really need to work on.

Huthmakers was great. Not only did they have a full-size cello for me, but they (it is for the most part a family business, like Johnson String) were all so friendly. Roland Huthmaker (the father) was asked by another customer to play "Devil Goes Down to Georgia," and he complied, much to our delight; Anna (the daughter) and I discovered we had a mutual acquaintance at Johnson's, and we all knew cellist Eugene Friesen who has done workshops for both shops. They also had a photo of Yo-Yo Ma on their wall, though I can't say he has ever visited Johnson String's Cape shop.

Violist Dixie Huthmaker has written a children's book called Trapped in Half Position about a 12-year-old girl who has trouble moving out of half position, and Anna, her daughter, who plays both classical and Celtic music, and both cello and string bass, is in a group called Border Collies, which has a CD called Sticks and Stones. (More later on both the book and CD.)

Dixie autographed my copy of the book, "Practice every day," and I did, while I was in Georgia, though not for very long, as there were places to go and things to do, but it was great having a cello with me, and it was a delight to meet the Huthmakers.

Huthmaker Violin in Duluth, Georgia, above. Below is Johnson String on Cape Cod. I found the similarity between the two buildings striking.


Gottagopractice said...

"Practice Every Day"?

Looking forward to your NaBloPoMo postings. I think you are the only one of the bloggers I regularly read who are participating this year. Mornings were getting pretty dull!

Maricello said...

Thanks, GGP. Cello blog posting seems to be in a lull, including my own blog, so I figured this would be a good way to increase interest (my own included).

That is not to say I won't resort to widgets before the month is over! :-)