Sunday, November 21, 2010

Violins Are Here!

Thirty-five violins arrive from Chengdu, China ready for JAMM kindergartners
The closing of the curtain on last week's Paper Violin concert marked the beginning of JAMM lessons using the real violin!  The kindergartners can't wait to hold these beautiful violins, which arrived from Chengdu, China.   Mr. Xia, our violin instructor, personally played on these violins while visiting China last summer and was able to describe our program to the owners of the Seven Colors Wind String Shop who sold the violins to JAMM at a generous discount.  Thank you,  Seven Colors Wind String Shop and Mr. Xia, as well as Holland America and the Douglas-Dornan Foundation who funded violins to outfit an entire classroom of kindergartners. 

Our hope is to be able to quickly transition the violins from the hands of one kindergarten class into the next.   Fortunately, I had the opportunity to visit ORCHKids in Baltimore last year as part of the Abreu Fellowship.  While there, Dan Trahey, the director of the program, shared with the fellows a classroom violin storage unit on wheels that they had custom-made to help cut down on transition time, as well as avoid opportunities for violins to break when children take them in and out of their cases.  Here is it:

Violin storage unit from ORCHKids in Baltimore
JAMM heeded Dan's advice and built something similar with storage donated by Glacier Valley's art room.  With the help and ingenuity of the Juneau School District Maintenance Department, our storage unit became a sturdy violin storage unit with maximum capacity of thirty-five violins and room to store bows and other supplies.  We color-coded each cubby with tape:  white for 1/10 size, yellow for 1/8, red for 1/4 and green for 1/2.  Here's the final product with one of our master craftsmen standing proudly beside it.   Thank you, Juneau School District Maintenance Department for your time, energy and creative problem-solving!  Now we're ready for next week!

JAMM's new violin storage unit built by the Juneau School District Maintenance Department

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