Bruce Scott wanted to level the playing field for students who want to pursue music.
Scott, a retiree who plays cello in the Louisville Philharmonia Orchestra, took an instructional course on repairing violins. Last week, he donated two restored violins to Eastern Elementary Arts and Humanities teacher Amy Knight.
Equipped with new rosin and a case, the refurbished violins look new and are ready to play a reel.
Knight has two different groups that meet after school including students bussed from New Castle. One beginner group and an advanced group make up a 27-student orchestra program.
Violin is a popular instrument for students as many are interested in country music and the fiddle. Knight already has a student anticipating the violins, arrival — a student who may not have had the chance to play to otherwise.
“It’s wonderful. Some kids they’re forced to make a choice when they get older,” Knight said. “If they want to play basketball or another sport there is funding, but parents have to provide for that. It opens up an opportunity if I have these instruments available, instead of them quitting after a couple of years of doing it (playing in the orchestra). They can play one of these instruments I have open.”
When rental costs factor whether a student continues to study music, Scott’s donated instruments can literally come into play.
“For some students orchestra is a clique,” said Eastern Elementary Principal Sharon Bright. “Where they might have to work in the classroom to see results, in orchestra they know they know they are excelling and they enjoy it. To see them play and see their confidence is inspiring.”
Scott donated three cellos to the program in 2012. Repairing violins for him, became something more than just something to do during retirement. It became a hobby.
Enrolling in a course with the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians (NAPBIRT) a non-profit international educational association that promotes the repair of band equipment, Scott learned how to fix violins, bought a few off of Ebay and put his tools to work. He replaced tuning pegs, bridges and refurbished fingerboards to make them playable again.
“Henry County isn’t a wealthy county. There’s not a lot of people in it. The string program here is very impressive to me,” Scott said. “String programs, band or whatever, (music) cuts across classes, races or whatever separates. They come together and just play music. It’s self-reinforcing. In history class, you don’t know if you are any good or not, but if you are practicing violin you are going to know. There’s some correlation too that kids who know music do better in math. Once you have that foundation in your life, you never lose it.”