The circle of life
The story of an old violin that is ready to transform a child’s life.
More than 80 years ago, a young boy in England named John received as a gift from his father a violin that became the main reason he established a love for music. The boy learned how to play the violin during the years that followed, until 1940, the year that marked the beginning of World War II. In fear of bombardment, women and children were evacuated from big cities in England and were sent to the countryside to live in farms.
This “cheeky” young boy, however, would take his bicycle and ride to Southampton to visit his home and it was actually during one of these trips that his city was bombarded leaving his house almost totally destroyed. One of the things they managed to save from the remains was the case of the violin and -what a great surprise, the instrument was completely undamaged.
The boy soon turned into a young man. He got married and changed several jobs in various locations. The violin was always with him, always in its black case made of wood. As an old man with arthritis, John used to sing as a member of the local choir or play the piano but he was not able to play the violin anymore. However, it never crossed his mind to sell it or to throw it away. It was a very old violin in need of desperate repair, in the hands of a man that had a crazy dream: to see his old violin in the hands of a child coming from an underprivileged background, a young musician that, through music, would find new ways to build his or her self esteem.
At this point, a man from France, based in Athens, Sebastian Seixas, enters our story. John’s violin arrived in Athens and was trusted in Sebastian’s magical hands. He is an expert in violin making and restoration. After a few days, we visited his workshop in the center of Athens and we couldn’t believe our eyes: The old violin that was given to John in the end of the ‘30s, was shining as if it were brand new. As John was hoping, it is ready to be given to one of the students of El Sistema Greece and start a new life. We are sure that he will be smiling even though he is not with us anymore.
John Albert Lines was the grandfather of Adriana Grigoriou, the Instrument and Orchestra Manager of El Sistema Greece. The idea of offering his violin to one of our students came three years ago when he learnt that his lovely granddaughter took this career opportunity and joined ESG. The restored violin is waiting patiently for the day that ESG lessons will start again and it will finally meet its new owner.