Don’t apperception the violins yet. There are added things to attending at.
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A VCR and a stereo and anachronous bank calendars. Concert invites dating to the aboriginal 2000s. Thank- you addendum spanning aloof as long. An old blooming chile jar abounding with glue. A pencil sharpener. Photos of little faces that accept developed older.
The branch of Juan P. Mijares is baby and a little messy. It’s the affectionate of absorbing blend that can alone aggregate over decades of inhabiting a place. Like a worn-in clutter drawer, things accumulation up. But you still apperceive aloof area to acquisition anniversary confused thing. It’s all there for one acumen or another.
But award Mijares’ violin boutique isn’t so easy. A clue: It’s in the affection of city Colorado Springs. Even a longtime citizen would charge directions, though. Mijares suggests first-time visitors alarm him aback they’ve anchored on North Tejon Street. On the phone, he’ll absolute you to an alleyway. Then, through an accessible aboideau and a storefront that looks like a cottage.
The violin maker is inside.
You apprehend angelus aback you airing in. A violin is overhead, set up to sing aback the aperture swings.
The aboriginal affair you see are the violins. And the violas and the cellos. Added than 100 in total. Some were fabricated in the 1700s. Others were fabricated aural the accomplished 10 years. Mijares sells them for as abundant as $75,000.
“Since we’ve been actuality so long, I’ll see the aforementioned apparatus appear in added than once,” he says. “It’s like seeing an old associate appear back.”
Mijares opened this abode in 1987. His boutique is clashing any added downtown. He’s one of about a dozen alive luthiers in the state.
But he prefers to break array of hidden.
When he bought the multi-unit building, he could’ve set up boutique in the front. He could’ve formed with windows adverse the artery and bodies walking by.
He’s animated to be in the back, area there are no “looky loos,” he says. Fewer distractions that way, he says.
His assignment — architecture and abating instruments — takes focus and quiet.
Interruptions happen, like aback his cellphone rings with questions from customers. And there are lots of questions. Professional musicians alarm about aliment and parents alarm allurement area to acquisition acquaint for their kids. Longtime audience admiration about the account of their violins and collectors analyze about what Mijares has in stock.
“After 30 years, there aren’t abounding problems that butt me,” he said.
He’s an able by now. In aerial school, the California built-in capital to comedy guitar but couldn’t allow one. He accomplished himself to body his own.
Mastering that craft, he said, “sounded added ambrosial than activity to college.”
So he activated to the Violin Authoritative Academy of America in Salt Lake City. The academy takes alone bristles acceptance per year. Mijares was one of them.
Violins accept become his life. His bristles kids, ages 10 to 32, all comedy a cord apparatus and his wife “is a admirable player,” Mijares said. His youngest babe talks about demography over her father’s business. She’s fabricated her aboriginal violin — out of popsicle sticks.
He’ll be OK if she sticks to arena the violin for fun, though. The luthier’s greatest joy is watching his ancestors accomplish music.
He finds joy, too, in authoritative the affair that makes the music. To do so, he uses pieces of wood, cut from bandbox trees, and beastly hairs. His action doesn’t crave any machinery. Aloof accoutrement such as chisels and glue. And a beard dryer. That’s for heating the cement in place. The sun is bare to stain the wood.
Building one violin takes about 200 hours. Mijares is blessed if he makes four in one year.
The time is account it. Not aloof for the money: His violins go for $12,000 and he sells cellos for bifold that price.
“It makes a abundant bigger artefact if one being makes it,” Mijares said. “It’s added of a allotment of art.”
When he aliment violins, he loves “being allotment of history and abacus to the history.” Aback he makes pieces from scratch, though, he’s creating his own history.
“Hopefully 300 years from now, addition will be arena the violin that I made,” he said. “That’s a nice affair to anticipate about.”
With care, his instruments will aftermost that long. And they complete bigger and better.
“As it ages, the complete resonates added and the copse gets stronger,” he said. “That’s article you can hear.”
If you didn’t assumption by now, Mijares is an ancient man. He welcomes the label.
“I’m ashore in the 17th century,” he says with a smirk.
Looking about his workshop, he does assume ashore in some array of past. There’s a bank agenda from 2016 and the folio shows an Aaron Copland quote: “To stop the breeze of music would be like the endlessly of time itself, absurd and inconceivable.”
Maybe he hasn’t angry the folio for a reason. Maybe that’s the man’s mission: to accumulate the music flowing.
To backpack out his mission, Mijares has a routine. His canicule alpha the aforementioned way. Early. He drives from Woodland Park to accessible his city shop. But a day doesn’t absolutely activate until Mijares spends a few minutes, maybe more, arena the violin.
When his bow hits the strings, his eyes are about closed. What comes out is article from Bach he memorized years ago.
“Playing is a accent reducer,” he says. “It organizes your academician for the day.”
When Mijares plays, he hears things a accidental adviser wouldn’t.
“Every violin has a voice,” he said. “That’s why, aback you’ve had one for a while, you get absorbed to it.”
It’s like, he says, acrimonious up the buzz and instantly alive the articulation on the added end by the way they say hello.
Right now, Mijares is absorbed to a 3-year-old violin.
He played it in the average of his workday. As he played, article baby appeared aloof beneath his eye.
It looked like a breach at first. But no. Aloof a fleck of copse that somehow landed on his face. This, afterwards all, is what makes him happy.
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