Rotary File - December 1, 2014

Joan Garrity, scribe

Songs: Jingle Bells

President’s Remarks: Mark Patton: (lame) jokes

Guests: Bree Neyland, Trista Carlson, Kate Carander, Sophie Horstmann

World in a Minute: Randy Willman: Scotland  

Scotland is on the island of Great Britain and is similar in size to South Carolina. Scotland has 4700 Rotary members. The income from Scotch whiskey is about $800,000,000 per year. Scotland has a population of 6.57 million sheep on 14800 farms.

Rotarians in the News: Rick Dobbs was in the paper this morning, subject unknown.

Announcements: Mark Patton announced that the club has received two cards of thanks. The first is from Louise Novak for notes and gift cards sent by club members. The second is from the Student Family Advocate at Tate High School, thanking us for coats for students. Brian Adamec will order more nuts, with the profits support youth programs that we sponsor. A scribe is needed for next week. Myrene sent around a roster and asked us to make corrections to it. Peggy Doerge invited all to her house for chili supper on Monday, December 8. She also sent around a sign up sheet for the supper. Joan sent around a sign up sheet for gift wrapping at the Coral Ridge Mall on December 22 from 4:00-10:00.

Program: What Jazzes You Up: Casey Cook interviewed John Schultz, a new member who is a professional violin repairer with a shop in Cedar Rapids.

     Professional violinists attempt to find a violin to be their voice. $15.9 million is the record amount paid for a violin.

     John has played on some of the finest violins in the world. He feels that the value of an instrument comes from excellent builders, the wood, the varnish on the wood, and the overall quality comes from the instrument itself and from the allure.

     The wood of a Stradivarius may come from very fine wood that has been aged finely. The wood actually may reach back to 300-400 years.

     John’s musical background is that he is a “jock” turned violinist.  He joined his high school orchestra and began to practice violin 6-7 hours a day after he injured his knee.

     After grad school in Wisconsin, he came to Iowa City and has taught for the University and for the Preucil School of Music. 

     Given the opportunity to be district governor for Rotary, he would want to let people know what Rotary is and how great it is. He and his wife, Rebecca, have been members since 2010. He enjoys the give and take of a conversation among Rotarians. He enjoys the good stuff of Rotary that is also the fun stuff: you can never give too much.

     Sometimes in violin repair, the only answer is triage. Teachers in the public schools need efficient and effective repair. Cirque du Soleil had a violin with a long crack in it that John repaired. 

     At an art museum in Taiwan, that John visited because of his Rotary connection, the curator showed and allowed him to play his collection of almost-priceless violins: an opportunity not even offered to Yoyo Ma!

     His little daughter is working through the early books of Part I of the Suzuki method…which is not about teaching the violin, it is about how to work hard, follow through, develop skills, to be able to do whatever the young student will want to do in life. John spends 45 minutes every day one-one with his little daughter.

     In answer to a question about violin care, in northern Italy where fine violins have long been made, the instruments did well despite the cold winters and hot summers of the area. Today, in his shop, violins receive better care with climate control, 35% humidity. Violins that are built well, made of wood that was aged well, stand the test of time. In response to another question had to do with what makes a bow so expensive, John said that it depends on who made it (specific artisans), and that it takes about 50 hours to build a bow. In addition, the wood used to make bows, pernambuco, is becoming rare and thus expensive. Metal parts are gold or silver. A violin takes 400 hours to make, while a cello takes 500 hours.

     Violin prices are set at auction prices and the price maintains over time. An investment in a violin can be an incredible place to put money.

     Violins that John sells are handmade and hand varnished in northern China. Hope is that these would last 15-20 years.

     The audience is requesting a return to talk and a violin performance by John!