There once lived a little girl who was in the 4th grade. She very much wanted to play an instrument, but in her school you couldn’t begin playing wind instruments until you were in 5th grade. However, they would let you begin playing stringed instruments in the 4th grade. So the little girl went to the introductory class and learned all about violins, violas and cellos. She tried them out. The violin was too screechy she said. The cello was too bulky. The viola though, the viola was just the right size and tone. So she made the decision that fateful day to play the viola.
The viola is sort of the ugly step sibling to the violin. Not as flashy, doesn’t get the solos and is certainly not as popular. There were in the girls’ high school orchestra only 6 violas, and 20 first and second violins.
The choice of the viola was prophetic. It’s role in the orchestra mirrored the girls’ role in life with her family and friends. The viola is the moderator, the instrument that brings harmony to the two sides of the music; bridging the highs of the violins and the lows of the cellos and bass violins. It often gets the off beats, the syncopated rhythms, rather than the bold and dramatic melody of the music. The viola is the mediator, the blender of music.
The girl played this instrument from 4th through 12th grades. She never aspired to be first chair, she just like playing. She never wanted to be the star, but enjoyed being part of the whole. Once she graduated from high school though, the opportunities to play the viola became few and far between, and eventually it was put away and almost forgotten.
That was 1982. 26 years later the girl is a woman and has found the viola in a closet and realizes that an instrument is meant to be played. This instrument needs a new home. As logical as that is, it is REALLY hard to take that next step and find a new home for it. Ebay? Craigslist? It isn’t a particularly valuable instrument, it is a student instrument. But it probably has some monetary value, but more so it has emotional value and the girl didn’t expect it to be this hard. She probably couldn’t even read the music now if she wanted to, and realistically she is not going to play this instrument ever again. So it is time. But it will be sad…