Seeking to promote discipline and talent among children, a gemach for violins was founded last summer in West Hempstead. This Motza’ei Shabbos, participants of the West Hempstead Violin Gemach will have their public concert, hosted by Creative Corner.
“We measure each child for the right violin size, and the loan is for three months at a time,” said gemach founder Jonathan Grossman. “My daughter Emmy, a first grader at HANC, learned a lot from taking lessons.”
The gemach began with an email to the members of the Young Israel of West Hempstead, resulting in eight children receiving violins, bows, boxes, and a list of local instructors. “This way, they know where there are lessons. During the pandemic, I also tried to learn a string instrument.”
Hearing about the gemach, Kevin Lubin, a piano teacher at Creative Corner, reached out to Grossman about hosting the young violinists for a concert. “We are an art center. We want to help in any way that we can,” he said. “This is a place for events and lessons.”
For the past couple of months, Grossman and Lubin discussed the concert. “A m’laveh malkah is a great idea. We are expecting 11 performers; four of them have violins from the gemach,” Grossman said.
When asked how violins became the instrument of choice, Grossman said that cellos are expensive and delicate, with few available in a children’s size. “As for woodwinds and brass, they are more complex and have more parts. The violins came from Goodwill, at a good price.”
“The gemach has all the stuff that you need and a list of teachers,” said Izzo Zwiren, a columnist at the Queens Jewish Link. “As your children grow, they can borrow a larger violin.” His daughter Callie, 5, a kindergartner at HANC, is among the participants. “It gives her a lot of pride and confidence. It also creates a sense of community.”
Lubin said that having hosted a Yiddish music concert last month, and with another one planned for Purim, the violin gemach concert is an opportunity to connect West Hempstead’s Jewish community to the unique art and music venue.
“Creative Corner was founded by Harry Baldino eight years ago. Before that, this was a music store. He opened it for the community, as a palace for art and music lessons, concerts, and shows.”
Grossman is not a musician, but he was raised to appreciate it. “This gemach is in memory of my grandfather Rabbi Israel Nobel, a lover of concerts, and my aunt Susan Nobel Wertentheil, who was an amateur flutist.” The music lives on in his family with Emmy playing the violin, and her younger twin brothers Jakey on the cello and Isaac on the piano.
The concert will take place on Motza’ei Shabbos, December 17, at Creative Corner, 482 Hempstead Avenue, at 6:30 p.m.
By Sergey Kadinsky