Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Violin Adventure

Caveat: A long story

With all the relief which came with Oldest Daughter's acceptance into music school, we soon began to consider the inevitable issue which we had conveniently and, perhaps, necessarily, put out of our minds: Oldest Daughter would soon need a new violin. There is no question why I didn't enjoy dwelling on this not yet urgent but impending need: 1. It could and probably would be costly. I really didn't want to think about how much it could be but I knew the possibilities and they weren't encouraging. 2. Even if we could afford it, finding a suitable instrument could entail a lot of searching, shipping of violins cross country, etc. One cello mom informed me that it took over a year to find their daughter's last instrument. Oldest Daughter didn't nag or despair but when she mentioned her need and uncertainty I admitted the challenges and encouraged her to pray.

God, in his Goodness, provided.

About three weeks ago Oldest Daughter's violin teacher received a call from his rising-star-violinist-son who studies in Germany. The violinist-son was performing in Spain and knew a Hungarian man who was selling several violins to raise cash. Violinist-son had played a couple of concerts on one of the violins, French-made, which the Hungarian was selling and called his father in Jordan to sing its praises--and to tell him that the violin was valued at at least twice the selling price. In other words, an exceptional instrument which violinist-son wanted to purchase himself but couldn't, for sale at a price far under its value. If Oldest Daughter wanted it, she would have the first option to purchase it.

Now, I am not very experienced in the realm of violin purchasing, however I do know that it is pretty much unheard of for a musician of Oldest Daughter's caliber to purchase an instrument sight unseen and, more importantly, sound unheard. It's just not done. However, we trusted violinist-son implicitly. We agreed to purchase the violin. But how to get the violin from Spain to Jordan?

The first step was easy. Violinist-son brought the violin back home to Germany; however, he was soon leaving for a European tour and couldn't help any further. Shipping really wasn't an option, even with insurance, as there was no telling what would happen once the violin arrived in Jordan. Customs would likely be high and it could be a major hassle to get it out. The violin needed to be hand- carried from Germany, and, before we traveled to the States on June 12.

Next, I sent an email to many friends in Jordan, hoping that someone knew someone traveling through the Frankfurt airport on their way to Amman. On friend wrote back suggesting I call another friend whom I had neglected to include in the group email. I called the second friend, who at first thought said he didn't know of anyone coming this way, but on second thought remembered a friend who would soon be traveling to Jordan on business. I contacted this German businessman via email and he graciously replied that he would be glad to help out by carrying the violin to Jordan--we just needed to get it to him at the Frankfurt airport before departure. The violin was several hours away by train, in Duisdorf, near Cologne.

The next email went to a dear German friend who lived in Jordan for five years and is now living very near the Frankfurt airport. She was thrilled to be included in what was now becoming known as the "violin adventure" and graciously agreed to help however she could. When I told her our dilemma concerning the present location of the violin she wrote back that her sister-in-law, who lives in Duisdorf, was planning to come to Frankfurt that weekend!

So, violinist-son's sister, a harpist also studying in Germany, delivered the violin to my friend's sister-in-law. A few days later my friend came into possession of the precious instrument, which she, in turn, delivered to the German businessman at the Frankfurt airport (I has hoping they wouldn't ask any of those security questions, like "did someone you don't know give you something to take on this flight."). At about 8pm last night we received a call from the German businessman informing us that he had arrived and that we could meet him at his hotel to pick up the violin.

Dear Husband and I drove to the hotel and while he parked the car I waited in the lobby, watching for someone carrying a violin case. Within a couple of minutes, in strode a German couple, carrying hand luggage and a violin case; I approached them and introduced myself. The German businessman told me that he had actually decided not to make this particular trip to Jordan, but had changed his mind shortly before receiving my email--he was sure that God was involved in all the details and was very glad to have helped us. After heartfelt thanks and handshakes, we headed home.

The violin is beautiful and the sound, gorgeous--it produces a much fuller and richer sound than Oldest Daughter's old violin. This evening Oldest Daughter's violin teacher came to inspect and hear the violin and concurred with our conclusion: the violin is perfect for Oldest Daughter. And, she is able to sell her old violin to a fellow violin player here in Jordan, where good instruments are extremely hard to come by.

We are thanking God for this perfect provision. Dear Husband's only lament is that, as Oldest Daughter departs for music school in August, we have only a few short months to enjoy listening to Oldest Daughter practice on this beautiful new instrument.


Jenny said...

What a wonderful story!!! I'm going to read this story to dds tonight at dinnertime.

patti said...

THAT is so wonderful! What an amazing thing to have to remember for the rest of your lives.

Grace said...

Oh, Melissa, I can't wait to hear it! The story brings tears to my eyes as I understand the importance and potential of a top-notch instrument for an artist like Lauren. How exciting. Tell Lauren that her violin needs a name and that I'll be asking :-)!

Anonymous said...

What a story indeed -- that's one that you can tell to your children, Lauren! Congrats!!!
Rita in Boise

Annie said...

Dear Desert Mom,
How thrilled I am to have discovered your blog! I spent time as a child in the middle east and think I will enjoy scrolling through your pages and my memory. The Violin Adventure was wonderful-- God truly does work things out in mysterious ways.