By Mark Backes
If you have ever found yourself with a lot of free personal time (read: “reorganized, restructured, repurposed…you know: fired”), you’ve shared a similar experience with a few million other folks and me. I was “re-whatevered” in the late ’90s and found myself looking for ways to occupy my time while I sorted out how I was going to spend the next 20 years of my life.
In the kinder and gentler days of corporate restructuring, those of us who were the “glorious outplaced” were sent to be counseled by career coaches paid incredible sums of money to polish our resumes and help us find occupiable office space somewhere else so our significant others felt we had something better to do than redecorate the bedroom.
I managed to sit through a couple resume-writing sessions, but in an unexpected moment of inspiration, having an epiphany of sorts, I decided to take up the violin.
Why not, I thought, I’m as musical as a 5-year-old. And being an adult, I figured I could be playing with reasonable virtuosity within a couple of months.
I was a very quick study. Unfortunately, with the exception of my late, great dog Tommy, who would howl (in perfect pitch) to my rendition of the timeless classic “Somewhere Out There,” my family agreed I should stick to golf, go back to my resume-writing class, and put the violin away. (Preferably in a double-locked vault buried somewhere near the earth’s core.)
But as Isaac Stern or Jascha Heifitz might tell you if they were alive, “Once a violinist, always a violinist.” As such, I continue to immerse myself in all things violin (violinesque? violinie?) to this day. So in my role as retail director of Goodwill, when news reached me that we had sold a violin online through our e-Commerce site, I was intrigued.
The violin had been anonymously donated and was a beautiful German replica of a German Schwietzer violin.
Rosalie, our musical instrument specialist, recognized the instrument had value, but also realized it needed some TLC to get it back into playing condition. With the assistance of a local violin expert, Roland Feller, the violin was authenticated. Roland was impressed by the instrument and offered a reasonable $500. But the best part of this story is that Rosalie, as a true “ambassador of Goodwill,” shared what the Goodwill mission objectives are with Roland. He was so impressed that he wrote the check for $750. That’s a win-win!
The real miracle? This has re-kindled my interest in playing music again.
However, this time, I will stick to the ukulele. I only wish I could find ukulele sheet music for “Somewhere Out There”!