This January, Ute and I were so happy to be invited to Belize for two weeks of intensive luthier education! The wonderful thing about this particular invitation is that is came from Giselle O’Brian. My first year in Trinidad, I was sitting at a table in the lobby of the APA School of Music and a young woman came up and asked if she could interview me. That interview became a video on a blog, and that young woman was a guitar student from Belize.
Flash forward seven years and she has now gradated, returned to her home country of Belize and invited LSF-USA to come work at her school. We happily made ourselves unnecessary in Trinidad, thanks to the study and growth of our luthier students there, but they are beginning to carry us on to other countries. It is such an amazing example of what can happen when we travel somewhere with the hopes that our work and passion will spread.
New Years Day found me arriving in Belize City, in a haze of heat, humidity and the smell of the ocean. I was greeted by Giselle and her partner Yassir, and my week was off to a whirlwind start!! Our classes were held at the Pallotti School of Music, in the heart of Belize City, and for my week of bow rehairing class, I had three students.
Stephanie is the Director of the School of Music, Cindy is a violin teacher in the program, and Anselma is an adult that left her career in banking to come back and study viola full-time. They were excited and enthusiastic, and we jumped into work immediately.
Due to the small class size, and structure of the program, Ute and I split up the day. I taught the women in the mornings, and then she did instrument repair with them in the afternoons. While we were not actively teaching, we were working hard to fix instruments and bows that were part of the Pallotti program.
The women worked so hard……cutting plugs, tying off hair, cleaning sticks, etc. We even had time to start faceplates and Stephanie was able to do a complete rehair, faceplate and thumb leather within her five days of half-day study!! They worked so hard and we will continue to work together thru online meetings and emails. It is our hope that they work hard and improve so that we can come back next year and continue their education!
One of the most fun events of the week was a group class on the Bow. Students, teachers and parents came, and I spent an afternoon teaching them about the history of the bow, its wood, parts and how it comes from all over the world. Incorporating Johnny Depp, the African bush and Mongolian horses made for a fun afternoon and everyone left knowing more about the bow and where it came from.
All in all, my week in Belize was not only a lot of fun, but thanks to my students, a huge success. They worked hard and learned a lot and I am so excited to see what the new ‘Bow Queens of Belize’ do with their knowledge!!