Take a moment (consider this)

fiddle_02In the Washington, DC Metro Station on a cold January morning in 2007, a man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried to meet his schedule.

4 minutes later: the violinist received his first dollar: a woman threw the money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

6 minutes: A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

10 minutes: A 3-year old boy stopped but his mother tugged him along hurriedly. The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. Every parent, without exception, forced their children to move on quickly.

45 minutes: The musician played continuously. Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while. About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace. The man collected a total of $32.

1 hour: He finished playing and silence took over. No one noticed. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars. Two days before Joshua Bell sold out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100.

This is a true story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities. The questions that beg to be asked about this are: ‘In a common place environment at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?’

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made…. How many other things are we missing?

(This striking account was e-mailed to me today – giving me very good reason to pause and smell my coffee. – cg)

Of Fiddles and Kitchen Parties

fiddle_02Alexander George has recently posted a video recording of his performance at the Ottawa Fiddle Club in November. In the clip he plays five tunes that showcase his range.  

Two Step D’armand, Lieutenant Governor’s Waltz, Reel du Point au Pic, Elizabeth During’s Waltz, and Cajun Fiddle.

Click into his website – alexandergeorge.ca – where you can read the latest about his performances and fiddle interests.

The photo below is of Alexander joining in a jam session on stage at the Ottawa Valley Fiddle Fiesta in Arnprior. He writes about this event in his latest entry.

(ed. – Obviously, this is a proud father wanting to share news of his son’s accomplishments. Alexander’s talents truly amaze me given that I can’t carry a tune in a bucket.)



Always a houseful of music


For those unaware, the George household has a few budding musicians in it. Our youngest plays the piano and has been busy this summer learning the soundtrack of The Lord of the Rings.  Our oldest is serious about pursuing a musical career playing his violin – and having fun along the way with his mandolin, button accordion and guitar. Through the last five months, Alexander has lept at every opportunity presented to him in our new community to perform and participate in fiddle jams.  We have spent a summer taking him to weekly jams and appearances, and traveling to fiddle competitions and camps across Ontario.

Our house is blessed with a great deal of music! (This photo is of Alexander’s surprise 12th birthday party, shared with the wonderful fiddling community of Niagara.)

For those interested, Alexander has his own website, Of Fiddles and Kitchen Parties, where he comments on his adventures:


Tis the Season of Giving


We are taken with our boys’ Christmas spirit this year.  Our youngest, David, is seeking out every Salvation Army kettle drum to give to those in need. We all are constantly emptying our pockets so David can go to the SA volunteer and say “Merry Christmas.”  Our fiddler, Alexander, has played a number of times for charities and community recitals, including a Traditional Christmas Dinner for the seniors of Pelham.




It’s harm-warming to know the spirit of giving is alive and well with the next generation.



Alexander and his fiddle


So, allow me to brag for a moment…. My oldest boy, Alexander, played at St. Catharines Fiddle Fest this past weekend where he won in his age group (10 and under – he’s 9). Here are links to short clips of two of his fiddle tunes:

 \”Smash the Window Jig on YouTube\”


\”Rambler\’s Hornpipe Reel on YouTube\”


Alexander gets his inspiration from his bluenose cousin, Megan Isenor (check her website – http://www.meganisenor.com/news.cfm)  Unquestionably, he gets his love of music from his Mother. And I would like to say he gets his boyish looks from his Father…. We are all very proud of him.