The LSF-USA chapter is up and running and we are in the middle of our first official mission. Ute Zahn and I traveled to Trinidad to work with the students and faculty of the University of Trinidad/Tobago and the Academy of Music.
I went in early March, 2013 and spent a week rehairing and restoring bows, as well as teaching 6-7 college-aged students how to rehair bows.
The faculty provided housing in one of their homes, and the First Citizen Asset Management bank provided our air transportation as an outreach of their Canoe String Program. Needless to say, the support of this bank made a huge difference in the success of this mission.
During the week, I rehaired approximately 50 bows. The majority of these were student bows for the University and the elementary school programs in the area. I was also able to travel to one of the schools and teach two cello lessons while I was there. At this time, there is no cello faculty on the island, so that was a welcome addition to the trip.
The University set me up in the lobby of the School of Music so students could observe and learn about the LSF mission during the week. During this time, the bow students would gather around the table and practice rehairing techniques using bows that were donated by Huthmaker Violins and Ute Zahn.
I was also able to take four violins and a viola to donate to the program. All of these were supplied by Huthmaker Violins, along with a suitcase full of strings, accessories and bow hair. I left behind tools and hair for the students to continue working with.
In my opinion, Trinidad, and possibly Tobago, is the perfect places for future LSF missions. There is severe need for instruction in this kind of work, and there are a lot of programs on the two islands. Also, there is some funding available through programs in the area that would help continue the work there. In terms of sustainability, Trinidad is a wonderful place for us to put our resources.
Finally, long term plans include setting up an official independent study for the students of the university in which they would get credit for two weeks of hands on study with a visiting LSF luthier, a semester of monthly or bi-monthly Skype meetings to supervise work, and a potential two-week study abroad in one of the LSF violin shops. I have great hope for the future of luthier work in the Caribbean and greatly appreciate the opportunity to share my skills there.
Anna Huthmaker, LSF-USA