Almost three years ago, Younger Daughter started taking fiddle lessons from a remarkable teacher named Andrew Wilson. He and his wife met as traveling musicians and they now have four (homeschooled) kids who are nearly as talented as their parents. During the summers, they often hit the road as a family and make music around the country. Last summer, Andrew won eighth place in a national fiddle competition. It has, to put it lightly, been a privilege to have him teach Younger Daughter.
So imagine our dismay a couple weeks ago when Andrew told us he would be touring with his family again this upcoming summer... and not coming back. Yes, the entire family is hitting the road for a whole year, touring musically. Sadly, at the end of that year they'll be looking to settle permanently elsewhere, possibly Texas, where fiddle music enjoys a more popular footing and he can draw from a larger base of students. He plans to keep about one-third of his "favorite" students (his word, not mine) and teach via Skype. Younger Daughter is among that group.
Meanwhile, Younger Daughter has been enjoying a new instrument: the cello. If you remember, Andrew loaned her his own personal instrument to try out. “I wouldn’t give it to anyone,” he told her, “but I know you’ll take good care of it.” She has treated that cello like the finest china, knowing the trust that is placed with her. She has also fallen absolutely in love with it. Her progress has been nothing short of astounding.
So imagine my shock last week when Younger Daughter's lesson was over and he asked to speak to me privately for a moment. He told me since his family had to pare down their possessions in order to fit all six people into the RV when they hit the road, he won't be taking the cello. "I want to give it to Younger Daughter," he told me.
My jaw hit the floor. And I mean, hit the floor. Gifting her with his own personal instrument? "But your wife gave you that cello for Christmas," I sputtered.
"We talked it over. She's in total agreement," he told me.
I sputtered some more, but he said if Younger Daughter doesn't take the cello, it will either go into storage (which doesn't do stringed instruments any good) or will go into the loaner program. Neither option is a fate he wishes on this instrument. He'd rather it go to someone who will get enjoyment from it.
I went home in a state of shock and discussed the matter with Don. Together we decided to accept the gift with the graciousness with which it was offered. Then it was Younger Daughter's turn for her jaw to hit the floor.
After a day or two of almost shying away from the cello -- purely because she couldn't believe her good luck -- Younger Daughter has been playing it five or six times a day. She's not practicing classical cello pieces; rather, she's exploring Celtic music (her favorite genre) and using the cello for alternate purposes. Andrew couldn't be happier that his gift is being so well used.
He told me today that he's been on the lookout for a student he felt was worthy of gifting his cello. Younger Daughter is humbled and honored to be the one so chosen.
We are going to miss Andrew and his delightful wife terribly, and can only wish them the very best on their year of adventure and wherever they chose to settle in the future.