An open letter from my daughter to the Coastside Orchestra


By on Thu, July 16, 2009

About a year ago, my dad showed Charles Calvert (my piano teacher’s husband) one of his best garage sale finds ever. A violin. This violin travelled with my family when we moved to California. On the back, the words "Phila. School Dist." were branded into the wood. Charles volunteered to fix up and re-varnish the instrument for me.

It was a great surprise that one of our hang-on-the wall violins was actually a very nice instrument! Every Monday at my piano lesson I would look around for, and sometimes see the violin, newly sanded, or waiting for its most recent coat of varnish to dry. Over the weeks and months it transformed from a collection of reddish, scummy bits of wood, into a beautiful amber musical instrument, with tiger stripes down its back. The words would not come off without sanding clear through the back, and so anyone who looks will know its origin. Finally, after nearly a year, Charles said he had gotten as far as he could go in the job.

The violin was not yet playable because it needed new pegs fit to the peg holes, as well as a sound post and other small but important features.  Charles referred us to his friend Carlos, who could fix all this.  But making these repairs was going to cost more than my family could afford.

Luckily for me, the Coastside Orchestra granted me a $300 scholarship for the job.

Just a few weeks back, I was surprised and overjoyed to be greeted at my piano lesson by Carlos, who had personally delivered my violin on his motorcycle! 

I am so grateful to Charles, Carlos, and the Coastside Orchestra for their help in restoring the most beautiful violin I’ve had. (And more importantly, the most stunning sounding violin I’ve ever played!) Thanks again to everyone involved.


Trieste "Fizzy" Devlin, age 14

P.S. There are photos of the restored violin at