I visited Port-of-Spain following hot on Anna’s heels – luckily for me, she left a very favourable impression! There was quite an overwhelming amount of work to be done. Most of the instruments I dealt with needed fingerboard work, as well as a good clean-up. Also, they all suffered from “Tropical Neck Syndrome” (lowered neck projection due to high humidity), most of them came with ill-fitting pegs and ill-conceived nuts, some of them needed new soundposts, bridges, strings …
All the fittings I brought along had been collected by my former coworkers at House of Note in Minneapolis; strings were donated by some members of the Minnesota Orchestra, House of Note, and luthier Bill Scott.
I worked on fifteen instruments in five and a half days, and taught two classes (on cleaning, pegs, nuts, and bridge curves and heights) to some of the conservatory students as well as interested members of the community. I also brought a beautiful viola, made and generously donated by Eugene Holtier of Cleveland, Ohio, which has become part of the APA’s collection and will be on loan to deserving students. After some thorough combing through my tool drawers, it turned out there were quite a few duplicates, so I was able to leave enough tools and supplies that our new friends can get on with some work until we return – Anna outlined some of the ideas we are considering in her report.
I would like to mention that our hosts were unequalled in terms of the preparation they had put into our visit, as well as the support they were offering to us on the ground. They have been building a wonderful program, and are generous and untiring in their efforts to provide a well-rounded, well-grounded learning environment for their students. I take my hat off to their dedication. Once again, LSF served as a path to establishing wonderful connections with great people.