Musical instruments are special in that they often live on for generations, carrying with them the stories of previous owners. This includes most of the second-hand instruments Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation collects for students in under-funded music programs. However, the story behind a violin donated by Joseph Feingold was special. As a child in Poland, Feingold played violin, often accompanying his mother’s voice as she sang Jewish songs.
At the beginning of World War II he was forced to give up the instrument. In 1946, while living in a displaced persons camp, the Holocaust survivor found a violin at a flea market. He traded a carton of cigarettes for the instrument. It brought back a sense of normalcy to his life and consoled him for the next 70 years. He donated the violin to Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation when it became too difficult for him to continue to play. The violin found a home with a 12-year-old student, Brianna, at the Bronx Global Learning Institute for Girls, located in the poorest congressional district in the country. In June, Joe and Brianna met for the first time. The student surprised him by performing a song that Joe’s mother used to sing. A proposed documentary tells the story or this remarkable musical connection. You can find out how to donate to help fund the film project at: www.joesviolin.com.