“10 Stories of Possibility” – Treasure your instrument

The OrKidstra logo with the word "Possibility" underneath

(Left to right) Edna Mary Jerome (photo submitted by Catherine Van Loon) and OrKidstra student Ariana (photo by Robert S. Vibert). Special thanks to Ms. Van Loon for sharing her story and her family photos. 

In honour of our 10th Anniversary year, and our 10 Leading Notes, here is the fifth of 10 very special stories about the wonderful possibilities that can happen when kids experience the joys and challenges of making music at OrKidstra! Look out for a new story of possibility at the beginning of each month and click here for the previous stories.

Edna and Ariana: two young women with a great love of music and the violin. Both 11 years old when they received their first full-sized violin. Both playing the instrument with family and friends and learning to express themselves through its beautiful sound.

Edna received her Jacobus Stainer violin in 1910; just over 100 years later, Ariana is playing the same violin in OrKidstra.

“Ever since I was little, I wanted to play the violin,” says Ariana. “The violin is my favourite instrument; it’s challenging, but also really fun.” Ariana’s family is from Bangladesh and she first started coming to OrKidstra in 2010 when was just five years old. That very same year, Catherine Van Loon decided to donate her Aunt Edna’s violin to OrKidstra.

“My Aunt Edna Mary Jerome lived on a dairy farm in Mount Hope, Ontario in 1910,” writes OrKidstra instrument donor Catherine Van Loon. “On the cold winter nights after the chores, Edna, her brothers Norman and Lloyd, her sisters Ola and Patricia, and her parents would gather and play their instruments and sing together. All of these people are gone now and I hope you will take good care of the only remaining physical memory of these times on a farm long, long ago.”

OrKidstra student Ariana is making sure that Edna’s violin, untouched for so many years, has a new life and a happy home at OrKidstra. “My violin has a really beautiful and rich sound,” says Ariana. “When I try other violins, they don’t sound as good to me. This violin almost feels built for me because it is the perfect size. I really treasure my violin. I always try to make sure my it’s always in a good spot – not like near the windows or heater – somewhere where it’s room temperature. In the winter, I use a snake [a little humidifier] to make sure it doesn’t get too dry. I feel fantastic and proud of myself when I’m playing my violin with OrKidstra.”

Ariana thinks it would be “really cool” if she could speak to Edna. “I would ask her what she liked best about her violin and what were her favourite songs to play with her family,” she says. “It’s amazing coincidence that she was my age when she was playing this same violin over 100 years ago! Did she feel the same way about the violin as I do I wonder?”

A young girl playing the violin

Ariana playing her violin on April 9, 2017 at “Vimy – A Commemoration in Words and Music,” a remembrance of the Battle of Vimy Ridge (April 9-12, 1917). Edna Mary Jerome may have also played this violin in 1917 to remember those lost in the Great War. Photo by Robert S. Vibert

Ariana says she would like to be a mechanical engineer when she grows up and stay involved with music. “Music has taught me so much – it helps me concentrate. OrKidstra really helps me do better at school and increase my marks. Some days I come to OrKidstra just to help the younger kids; I really enjoy mentoring and helping the teachers,” Ariana says. “In the future, I would like to keep helping at OrKidstra or even start my own version of OrKidstra if I move somewhere else. OrKidstra is like a family; whenever I come to OrKidstra, I feel welcome. I want other kids to have that too.”

Ariana would like to say thank you to Ms. Van Loon for donating Edna’s violin to OrKidstra. “I’m really thankful for the chance to play such a great violin; everyone who donates to OrKidstra is amazing. I think Edna would be happy that I’m taking care of her violin and making it sing again. Thank you for the opportunity!” – Ariana, age 12 (OrKidstra student – violin and KidSingers

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