Last week we left off with me beginning my senior year of high school, still playing the LaMay/Poulsen combo and increasingly interested in modern cellos.  Fate intervened as Sally, my cello teacher, heard of a cello Kurt Widenhouse just finished for a customer who was unable to complete the sale.  Here enters the first of several cellos I should have kept forever!  This 1995 Widenhouse cello was a modern masterpiece.  I had absolutely NO idea how good I had it when my parents agreed to purchase it for my use.  This is the cello I used to not only secure acceptance to Butler University, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, and East Carolina University, but was also fortunate enough to win full-ride scholarships to all three institutions.  I also added a bow by David Forbes at this point and the combination of the Widenouse and Forbes was absolutely incredible.  If I knew then what I know now, I might very well have stopped there…it really doesn’t get much better than that.

I mentioned a growing interest in modern makers.  While in Salt Lake City to snowboard during my spring break of my senior year, I visited the shop of Peter Paul Prier.  I knew of Mr. Prier as the founder of the Violin Making School of America, where Kurt Widenhouse and many others had studied.  I walked into the shop without calling ahead, and simply asked if they had any cellos to try.  I started playing the cello they brought me, and the next thing I knew I was moved into the “good” room and Mr. Prier himself was letting me try a cello he had built.  Whatever anyone else’s experience with Mr. Prier was, he was incredibly kind and generous both that day and through everything that was to come after.

Upon returning home, I came up with a plan to commission a cello from Mr. Prier.  My 17-year-old self naively thought that if I loved the cello one of Mr. Prier’s students had made (Kurt), then surely I would love the cello the teacher made even more.