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A Tribute to Whisper

by Emily WrightWhisper

As musicians, we are familiar with certain themes common to the repertoire: love, loss, jealousy, tragedy. We play these storylines out in opera and oratorio, symphonic epic and lonely solo suite, tapping into our own similar experiences and mining them to propel our expression.

Anyone who has loved an animal and has navigated their passing instantly has a lifetime supply of inspiration for such occasions. There is something so wonderful about the way pets add to our lives, only asking for simple nourishment and company yet offering one of the only sources of unconditional love and reliability known to man. Whisper, the coal-eyed Samoyed who has graced our Shop for the better part of 5 years, was a prime example of these qualities. It is with a heavy heart that we announce his passing in March.

Whisper belonged to David Basch’s brother. Although his presence in the store was ostensibly to supervise his well-being as he transitioned from boisterous adolescent to elder statesman, it is fair to say that he took care of us, and reminded us of the simple pleasure a happy dog brings to any room. He loved listening to music, and was known to have a discerning ear. Rumor has it he had a soft spot for old French fiddles, though anything mellow suited him well, especially violas and cellos.

He was also a gourmand, enjoying take-out from the local restaurants, who were continually puzzled by the order of chicken and rice, no spice, day after day. As we move on without this noble beast, his absence is palpable. We keep expecting to find him nestled on his rug or encircled by children (of all ages), who loved to bury their fingers in his thick fur. But we acknowledge the nature of owning a pet, and console ourselves that the feeling of loss is an appropriate tribute to a meaningful relationship. 

Though we miss him terribly, it is easy to smile when we reflect on the long and happy life Whisper had. We would like to thank all of the friends he made over the years for the love and companionship you provided him. It’s another reason we consider The Potter Violin Co. a family, and are so grateful for your support.

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.” - Roger Caras

Prelude to Peace Fundraiser

[We] are pleased to announce that, resulting from our January 11 "Prelude to Peace: Our Musical Response to Gun Violence," we received a total of $913.00 in donations! Considering that we only had two weeks to promote this event, we are excited to have such a great turnout!  Most important, it is a testament to your spirit! We thank each of you for pouring your hearts into every note, spreading the word, and being devoted to serving our community!  

We are especially grateful to The Potter Violin Company for a very generous donation of sponsorship!

As we announced during the concert, we will donate a portion of the proceeds to the family of visual artist Alex Polimeni to help offset the cost of his medical assistance following his severe car accident.

Once again, we thank YOU for your beautiful performances! Our next MOM event will take place in early May! Details will come soon!

With Gratitude,  Robin & Arron

Robin F. Massie-Pighee
Executive Director
Musicians of Mercy

Isabel Ashley Martinez Selected for Potter's Award!

(We recently received this thank-you note from Isabel's mother, Marta)


Thank you very much! I am so excited that my daughter [was] chosen [to receive] a new instrument. I ... just wanted to tell how grateful I am for [your generosity].

There is no possible way I [could] afford to buy my daughter an instrument. [This is especially important because m]usic for [Isabel] is not just a hobby; it is therapy.

I want to thank everyone [involved in] this [program].

May the Lord bless you all. You guys have made a wish come true.

With lots of joy, Marta

Peabody Renaissance Ensemble 25th Birthday Concert

Sunday, April 28 at 4:00
Church of the Epiphany, Washington, D.C.
1317 G Street, NW, (between 13th St and 14th St )
Washington, DC 20005 –
Metro Center Station, 13th St Exit - 3 blocks east of The White House

Le Gratie d’Amore: Music of the Italian Renaissance
Mark Cudek, Director
Robert Aubry Davis (WETA), narrator
Guest alumnus William Simms (Apollo’s Fire, Baltimore Consort, et al.), colascione

The Peabody Consort will also perform Sephardic Romances: A preview from the Peabody Consort’s upcoming Boston Early Music Festival performance featuring Daniel Moody, countertenor and Julie Bosworth, soprano; Brian Kay, lute and oud

Post concert wine & cheese reception
Tickets available at the door $20 general / $15 Seniors / $5 Students

Our Strings Magazine Give-Away Winner Announced!

Amber Cheung of Cambridge, MA, is the winner of our Strings Magazine violin give-away. As soon as we have a little more information (and hopefully, a photo of Amber with her new instrument), we will post it here.

Congratulations, Amber!

Rita's Place Video

We just received this note (along with a link to the video) from Rebecca Loprinzi at Rita's Place:

Hey, Beautiful Violin Donors,

Here is an example of what your kindness has done. This violin was donated by Potter's. We are [now] looking for a 1/2 size, since she is growing and glowing due to your kindness and love!

Thank you from the depths of our hearts at Rita's Place!

NBC Airs "One Simple Wish" Video

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

World on a String Workshops & Concert A Huge Success!

The Potter Violin Co. was a proud sponsor of this year's World On A String workshops & concert. Visit ASTA's website for more details about WOAS 2012.

World On A String 2012

Washington Conservatory Student Receives A New Violin

Khalil, a Washington Conservatory violin student, recently received a new violin from The Potter Violin Company through the One Simple Wish foundation. Our Jim Kelly met Khalil and Liza Bush, of CASA, to present the instrument. NBC was there to film the presentation (see update above).

The Potter Violin Co. donates a new violinThe Potter Violin Co. donates a new violin The Potter Violin Co. donates a new violin

Alonso Tirado receives Potter's Violins Instrument Award

Deb Bissen, Foundation and Advocacy Coordinator for ASTA, shared this wonderful thank-you note from Alonso Tirado's mother, Lourdes, whose son is the very happy recipient of one of our beautiful violins through ASTA's Potter's Violins Instrument Awards program.

[T]he violin arrived last Tuesday. What a beautiful instrument! The sound is magnificent! Thank yAlonso Tiradoou very, very much!

It seems that Alonso can't put [the violin] down; he has been playing all day long. He is very happy and I have to thank you from the bottom of my heart for such a nice gift!

Thank you and God bless you all!

Lourdes Arango

Maryland Talent Youth Orchestra Program

The Maryland Talent Education Center currently offers two levels of youth orchestra.

The String Orchestra is primarily designed for advanced middle school string students. It meets from 4:00-5:30 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Frederick, Maryland, on Fridays.

Maryland Talent Youth Orchestra

The Symphony is a full orchestra that has advanced high school strings, winds, brass and percussion. It meets from 7:00-9:00 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Frederick on Friday evenings.

To schedule an audition for either orchestra, click here.

For String Orchestra audition requirements, click here.

For Symphony Orchestra audition requirements, click here.

For tips on preparing for a youth orchestra audition, click here.

Meet Rich Maxham ...

... the newest member of the Potter's family.

The original story is posted at

Rita's Place

Here is a wonderful picture from Rita's Place. We were pleased to donate some violins recently and are very happy to see that they are providing playing opportunities for some young artists.

We donated violins to Rita's Place

Explore UMD’s Viola Program!

Professors Katherine Murdock and Daniel Foster invite violists and music lovers from the region to the beautiful Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center for a day of listening and learning, music-making and discussion.

Registration deadline: March 8, 2012: Online registration form

Mail your checks separately to:
UMD School of Music
Attn: Jenny Lang
2110 Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center
College Park, MD 20740

$30: Participants and Auditors
$35: Walk-in Registration (day of event)
Free: Parents and Teachers

For parking and directions, click here.

Click here to view/download the program flyer.

For more information, click here.

Musicians of Mercy

Musicians of Mercy (MOM) is a collective of over seventy independeMusicians of Mercynt musicians and artists based in the Metropolitan D.C. area. 

Founded and directed by violist Robin Fay Massie, the group was formed in January 2010 following Haiti's devastating earthquake. 

Through the production of themed benefit concerts, MOM raises funds for victims of natural disasters and other tragedies.

What makes MOM unique? 

All performers volunteer their time and talents in concerts that are free or open to the public with a nominal admission fee. MOM believes that great music should be accessible to the entire community.  They showcase all musical genres from rock to jazz to classical and feature gifted solo performing artists, chamber ensembles, jazz combos, dancers, poets, and a full orchestra.

Please visit the MOM website for more information.

Blue Mountain Festival: A Residential Chamber Music Camp

Dates: July 22-August 4, 2012
Location: Franklin and Marshall College
Violin/Viola Faculty: Sherri Anderson, Olivia Hajioff, Susan Kim, Marc Ramirez and Amy Wulfman
Cello Faculty: Regina Mushabac
Piano Faculty: Michael Sheadel and Luba Sindler
Voice Faculty: Susan Gaylord
Tuition: $1,000 R&B: $850
Tuition Includes: 2 Private Lessons; 3-5 hours daily of coaching with a faculty member; Daily written and aural theory; Multiple performance opportunities

For more information and a short video about the program please visit our website.

Prodigy Coda Bow Drawing Winner Announced

We are pleased to announce that the winner of our Coda bow drawing is Mr. Jean-Louis Guill of Herndon, VA! Congratulations, Mr. Guill!

Paolo Pandolfo Master ClassPaolo Pandolfo Master Class

Paolo Pandolfo will be teaching a master class at the Library of Congress on Friday, January 27th: Auditors Welcome!

Three young performers will be playing the viola da gamba for Mr. Pandolfo: Amy Dominguez and Niccolo Seligmann, both Peabody Conservatory students of John Moran, and Lucine Musaelian, a 14-year-old from New Jersey.

Music by Marin Marais, Antoine Forqueray and selections from the viola bastarda literature will be presented. Auditors are invited to the free, hour-long event at 3 PM on Friday, January 27 at the Coolidge Auditorium, Library of Congress. Visit the Library of Congress' web page for more information.

Mr. Pandolfo will also be performing at the Library of Congress on Saturday, January 28th at 2 PM, at the French Embassy on Thursday, January 26th, and at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on Sunday, February 5th.

An Evening of Chamber Music benefiting Food & Friends

Update: The evening was a tremendous success, raising $1,200 for Food & Friends. Many thanks to the performers and to all who made the event possible.

An Evening of Chamber MusicWe are very pleased to be sponsoring an evening of chamber music featuring our own Jim Kelly, on Sunday, January 15, 2012, at 5:00pm, at the Westmoreland Congregational Church, 1 Westmoreland Circle, Bethesda, MD 20816.

Featured Artists: Jim Kelly, Viola; Sonya Hayes, Violin; Alejandro Hernandez-Valdez, Piano

Special Guest Artists: Barbara Brown, Cello; David Basch, Viola; Fatma Daglar, Oboe; George Ohlson, Viola; Tsuna Sakamoto, Viola

With works by J.S. Bach, Debussy, Loeffler, Glazunov, and Britten

Suggested Donation at the Door $12

Proceeds benefit Food & Friends, Delivering Hope, One Meal at a Time

The mission of Food & Friends is to foster a community of caring men, women and children living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other life-challenging illnesses by preparing and delivering specialized meals and groceries in conjunction with nutrition counseling.

Blue Mountain Festival: A Residential Chamber Music Camp

Dates: July 22-August 4, 2012
Location: Franklin and Marshall College
Violin/Viola Faculty: Sherri Anderson, Olivia Hajioff, Susan Kim, Marc Ramirez and Amy Wulfman
Cello Faculty: Regina Mushabac
Piano Faculty: Michael Sheadel and Luba Sindler
Voice Faculty: Susan Gaylord
Tuition: $1,000 R&B: $850
Tuition Includes: 2 Private Lessons; 3-5 hours daily of coaching with a faculty member; Daily written and aural theory; Multiple performance opportunities

For more information and a short video about the program please visit our website.

TPVC Sponsors ASO Turtle Island Quartet Master Class

As proud sponsors of the ASO's Turtle Island Quartet Master Class, we invite you to see pictures of the event at and the thank-you note we received from Wakefield High's Orchestra below.

ASO Turtle Island Master Class

TPVC String Competition (in memory of Gretchen Hood)

Date: December 17, 2011
Time: This is an all-day event. Participants will be notified of their assigned times after the November 23, 2011 deadline.
Location: Catholic University, Wash., DC
Application Fee: Junior High $22 per student; Senior High $27 per student
Postmark Deadline: November 23, 2011
Awards: Junior High: 1st Prize $150; 2nd Prize $75. Senior High: 1st Prize $300; 2nd Prize $150

This competition is also open to non-WMTA Members. Non-member fees are: Junior High $44; Senior High $54

ALL WMTA RULES APPLY. This compeition will be held in audition format.

Junior High: Grades 7-9
Senior High: Grades 10-12
Previous 1st-Place winners are ineligible to participate.

Repertoire Requirements:
Junior High: Two pieces of contrasting styles and periods; Maximum 10 minutes playing time; One of the pieces should be memorized.
Senior High: Three pieces of constrasting styles and periods; Maximum 15 min. playing time; Two or the pieces should be memorized.

Special Rules:
Pieces with accompaniment must be performed with an accompanist.
All contestants are to provide their own accompanist, who may be anyone other than their teacher.
Music may be used for accompanied sonata movements.
Students must provide judges with scores of the pieces.
Scores of accompanied pieces must include the piano part or piano reduction.
All participants are responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright law.
Please refer to the WMTA General Rules for details

Participants who fail to comply with any of the rules or with the WMTA General Rules may not compete for prizes, but will be allowed to play for comments only.

Chair: Eleanor Woods (202)244-8658 E-mail
Chair: Emil Chudnovsky (410)746-5995 E-mail

Dustin Simmons receives Potter's Violins Instrument Award

Dustin Simmons, Recipient of a Potter's Cello Outfit thru ASTADeb Bissen, Foundation and Advocacy Coordinator for ASTA (American String Teachers Association), shared this wonderful thank-you note from Dustin Simmons' mother, Denise, whose son is the very happy recipient of one of our beautiful cello outfits through ASTA's Potter's Violins Instrument Awards program.

"I wanted to let you know that Dustin received his cello yesterday via UPS. It was such a wonderful surprise. It was such a joy for me to see my son receive such a wonderful gift. This cello means so much to him. He is very passionate about music, and this will help him fulfill his dreams of sharing this passion through music education. I never dreamed that Dustin would own such a beautiful instrument, and the sound is amazing. We were also thrilled with the high quality bow and case. I must say we were quite emotional when we received this very special delivery. Thank you so much for choosing Dustin for this gift. It will bring him a lifetime of enjoyment."

ASTA Teacher Certification Workshop

The Sassmannshaus Tradition method has been Europe's best selling beginning violin method for over 30 years. It is now available in English and the translator and co-author Prof. Kurt Sassmannshaus is offering this tSassmannshaus Workshopeacher training seminar to show how the unique aspects of this method can be taught. The method is groundbreaking in its approach for very young children. It features large print and teaches note reading from the first lesson. It focuses on early position playing and introduces advanced left hand and bow technique with familiar musical material. You can become a certified teacher by attending this intensive weekend workshop.

When: Sept. 10 – Sept. 11, 2011
Where: The Lutheran Church of St. Andrew, 15300 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring, MD 20905

The workshop will include lectures by Kurt Sassmannshaus and demonstrations. To apply, please provide your name, address, phone number, email and current professional position or student status.

Tuition: $250. We accept personal checks, cashier's checks, money order or credit cards. Make the check payable to Starling Project Foundation. If you are paying by credit card, please call us at 513-227-6807.

Please send your completed application and tuition payment to:
Starling Project Foundation
PO Box 20013
Cincinnati, OH 45220

Please send your completed application by Friday, August 26, 2011. Be sure to check with your employer. Some employers will cover the cost of this training. ASTA members receive a $25 scholarship, courtesy of The Potter Violin Company. Be sure to include your ASTA membership number in your application to qualify.

Purchase your own copies of all four volumes of the Sassmannshaus Tradition Violin Method and bring them to the seminar with you. You will need to bring your violin to the training as well. The Potter Violin Company will also be on hand the first day to sell copies. Participants will arrange their own accommodations during the training. If you need any recommendations on hotels, restaurants or have any other questions about the training, please email Catherine Stewart.

We have arranged accommodations at the Marriott Bethesda North, 5701 Marinelli Rd., Rockville, MD 20852. You may reserve your room online or you may call the Marriott at 1-800-266-9432 for reservations. You will need to identify yourself as part of the ASTA Room Block group to get the $99.00/night rate. Hotel reservations must be made by August 19, 2011.

Musicians of Mercy Benefit Concert

The Musicians of Mercy will present a Benefit Concert for Earthquake Relief for Japan on Wednesday, May 25, at 7:30pm, at the Christ Episcopal Church, 6800 Oakland Mills Road, Columbia, MD 21045.

Admission is FREE. Donations are welcome. Concert proceeds will be sent to WorldVision's Japan Quake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

The concert will include: music from Antonin Dvorak's "New World;" Symphony No. 9, an original work by Japanese composer Ryuichi Sakamoto. Featured soloists include Erika Koscho, Michael Sheppard, Christine Delbeau, Chelsey Green, Integriti Reeves, Bo Kwon, Samuel Thompson, Jessi Sammis, Eunice Kim, Russell Wilson, Elizabeth Jaffe and Robin Massie.

For more information, email

CCE MAD Week: July 18-22, 2011

Our friends at CCE have scheduled their Musical Arts & Dance (MAD) Week for July 18-22, 2011.

CCE Mad Week

Click on the thumbnail to open the flyer.

The Mark Wood Inferno Tour: March 26, 2011

‘Rock Out’ with Celebrated Electric Violinist Mark Wood on Saturday, March 26, 2011, at the Black Rock Center for The Arts, 12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown, MD 20874. Registration fee is $60.00 per student and includes a workshop and concert. Concert tickets are $10.00 each. Registration Forms are available at and on our website. Music for the workshop will be available upon confirmed registration. Students should not bring electric violins to the workshop.

Register now! The registration deadline is Saturday, March 12, 2011.

UMD Viola Day 2011: February 26, 2011

Come explore the University of Maryland’s Viola program – Katherine Murdock and Daniel Foster invite violists from the region to the beautiful Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center for a day of listening and learning, music-making and discussion. Read more.

UMD Viola Day

To register for the event, please contact Jenny Lang at The event is free, but the office needs a count of participants to order food. COME FOR AS MUCH OR AS LITTLE OF THE DAY AS YOU WISH – ALL WELCOME.

Parking & directions

Suzuki Community Mourns the Loss John Kendall

Mr. John Kendall passed away on January 6, 2011, at the age of 93. John’s life’s work as an educator has influenced thousands of students and teachers. The SAA will forever be grateful to him for his contribution to music education. Funeral services have not yet been arranged. Visit for more information.

TPVC establishes Bobby Raymond Scholarship Fund

In respectful and loving memory of our long-time friend and customer, The Potter Violin Company has decided to found a merit-based scholarship fund to be administered by the Suzuki Association of Greater Washington. After consulting with Mrs. Ruth Raymond, it was decided that the fund should be offered to qualified students who have achieved Suzuki Book 4 or higher, as certified by their teacher, in the form of matching granted funds to enable qualified Suzuki students to attend the Suzuki institute of their choice. The Potter Violin Company will provide $500 seed money each year for the next five years (2011-2016). Applications may be made by the student, but must be signed by the parent and the teacher, and awarded by the SAGWA scholarship committee.

Additional donations may be made to support the fund at:

Robert Raymond Scholarship Fund
C/o SAGWA Scholarship Committee
Attn: Stephanie Flack
3427 Austin Court
Alexandria, VA 22310

To apply for the scholarship, visit

ASTA MD/DC Goes to the Eastern Shore

On Saturday October 30th, ASTA MD/DC Board members Dr. Paul Scimonelli, Dalton Potter, and Dr. Sachi Murasugi traveled to the beautiful campus of Salisbury University on Maryland’s Eastern Shore to hold what we hope will be the first of many ASTA outreach and membership conferences.

Dalton Potter at ASTA Conference Salisbury

Twelve stalwart souls joined us on this cool, crisp sunny Eastern shore morning to listen and be involved with Paul’s membership and advocacy presentation and Dalton’s stellar workshop. We had a broad representation of current and retired string teachers, orchestra directors, and working professionals, all interested in what ASTA had to offer. Some came from Prince George’s County and some from the southern Delaware counties. They were quite impressed with our new chapter website, as well as the National website. Each attendee received a packet brimming with information on the ASTA Life and Instrument insurance policies, Arts Advocacy, how to build a string program, the ASTA National Conference and a copy of our Stringendo magazine. Many commented not only on the “look” of our website, but also the advertising. Special thanks go to ASTA Executive Director Donna Sizemore Hale, Membership Coordinator Amanda Bernhardt, and our chapter President, Cathy Stewart, for their help and generosity with all of the materials for the packet.

After Paul’s presentation, we took a short break to set up for Dalton’s valuable “Kitchen Table” repair workshop. The attendees give Dalton their rapt attention as he showed them the inner workings of the violin, how to cut a bridge, set a sound post and easy and quick fix-ups any string teacher or orchestra director should know. After some work on their individual instruments, the attendee’s left with a copy of Dalton’s repair handbook and a renewed energy for their craft.

There were many great suggestions from the group. They expressed a desire to hold an ASTA Cap competition on the Eastern shore and wanted Dalton to return to do a full day’s repair session on student instruments. Future conferences are being planned for the Prince George/Anne Arundel county areas, as well as Frederick, Hagerstown, and the Western Maryland counties.

Many thanks to Salisbury University for their hospitality, and to Sachi and her husband Jeffery Schoen, also an ASTA MD/DC Board member, for all of their hard work and effort in coordination of this conference with Paul and Dalton. We look forward to doing many more.

Order your rental instrument online now!