By: Gregory Bortkiewicz
San Francisco’s Community Music Center (CMC), one of the City’s hidden gems and one of LCI’s clients, provides high quality lessons, programs and concerts at no or low cost. From children learning to play an instrument as soon as they can pick one up to older adults honing their skills in later life, CMC has an incredibly diverse set of students and faculty members alike. Our team recently had the pleasure of meeting one particularly inspiring student: violin player Remo del Tredici.
At 95-years-young, Remo is actually a year older than CMC itself. Remo’s story is rich and we knew media would be interested in it from the moment we met him. I recently had the pleasure of staffing an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle’s Beth Spotswood. Not only was this a great personal experience for me, but the opportunity to hear first-hand from Remo about his passion for music and his remarkable life left me inspired. It was obvious how important music is to him, not to mention the role CMC plays in this. After playing the violin early in his childhood, Remo took a (very) extended break and didn’t start playing again until he was in his mid-70s. Since then, he’s been taking weekly lessons at CMC and even began playing in the string orchestra.
Remo’s musical passion doesn’t end there. Not content with simply playing the violin, Remo decided one day many years ago to start making them, too. After reading many ‘how-to’ books on the topic, Remo perfected the craft and now has a fully-fledged workshop in his San Francisco home. In total, he’s made around 100 violins and has sold a handful of them – not for a profit, but just to pay for the materials. The rest he donates to local schools, veterans, nonprofit organizations and friends.
During his Chronicle interview, Remo educated Beth on the exact dimensions for each part of a violin, down to sixteenths of an inch. He knew it all by heart, and it became clear to me that the process is as much of a science as it is an art. He also took the time to play us some music, at one point stopping as we sat in rapt silence to proclaim “I goofed.” Not that any of us could tell!
After listening to Remo share many stories, Beth summed it up by saying his life was ‘Forrest Gump-esque’ because of the things he’s experienced and lived through – the Great Depression, FDR’s presidency, World War II and so much more.
This experience made me reflect on how lucky so many of us PR professionals are because we get to meet such unique and inspiring characters from all walks of life.
Oh, and the secrets to a long life? According to Remo, they are:
- Playing the violin
- Playing in the String Orchestra
- A round of golf every Monday
- A single cocktail every day before dinner
The Chronicle article leads today’s Datebook section. Click here to read it on our website.
What unique and inspiring characters have you met through your work in PR? Leave us a comment below or email [email protected]