This past weekend we enjoyed the 12th season of the 3 day Sweetwater Festival in Owen Sound, which was initiated by the adventurous violinist Mark Fewer. Again the palette of talent included 30 versatile musicians, some with local roots, some congenial spirits Mark encountered on the international stage.
For us luthiers of the region Sweetwater offers the exceptional opportunity to have our newest work put through the paces. This year the multitalented Drew Jurecka played 5 new violins by: David Prentice, Mark Schurr, John Newton, Greg Walke an myself, Sibylle Ruppert, for our benefit and the interested public.
Drew played a different Jazz tune for each of our violins, same bow, same room and with the same incredible panache and energy. And he enjoyed doing it!
To hear the differences and get feedback on what it sounds and feels like to the player is a lovely gift. Everyone present was intrigued by the huge differences in character of the instruments without being able to easily grade them for quality.
Sebastian Ostertag did the same for three new cellos: Johann Lotter (own design 2015), Greg Walke Guadagnini (2015) and for my newest cello on a Ruppert outline.
Both Drew and Sebastian were among the musicians at Sweetwater, who perform on “new” instruments. Saturday afternoon offered a Bach suites marathon: All six suites for cello, six interpreters, six different instruments. Sebastian was able to express all the intricacy of Bach’s rarely performed 5th suite in C minor in the church’s nave on his 10 year old Ruppert cello.
Drew’s Mark Schnurr violin shone in the imaginative adventureous Jazz concert on Saturday night.
The combo of David Braid piano, Dean McNeill horn, (trumpet), the inimitable Joe Phillips bass with Drew Jurecka on violin fascinated the large appreciative audience with their warmth prowess and spontaneity.