Skip to main content

The Music Teacher

I cut my teeth writing on Hubpages back in 2009. I've written 17 novels, numerous songs, and short stories since. I love to write love.

The old violin.


The beauty of a wonderful instrument.

Freshman Ollie Shorzen tripped as he exited the bus on that Friday morning. Kids behind him laughed as the bus driver, Mrs. Kendal stepped down to make sure Ollie was okay. He was mad at the laughing but madder at himself when he saw his violin had bounced out of its case. It was a very old Guarneri del Gesu violin his grandfather had given him. His grandfather had played the instrument as a young man in a bluegrass band called the Mule Skinners. Mrs. Kendall helped Ollie gather his papers and books while he gently placed the instrument back in the case.

Fancie Morris, his classmate curled her nose up and grumbled, "Ollie Shorzen, you're going to play that old ugly violin next to my brand new beautiful cello?" Ollie had just closed the case and answered, "Yes. It was my grandpa's and I am playing it. The laughing subsided. Mrs. Kendal patted Ollie on the back and told him to have a good day. Ollie walked into the school and straight to the band room. He saw his Music Teacher Mrs. Mary Hunsbarger looking over some piano sheet music. She turned to Ollie and said, "Hello Ollie." Ollie excitedly said, "Hi Mrs. Hunsbarger. I have my own instrument now and won't need to use the school one anymore."

Mary smiled and said, "Well let's see it Mr. Shorzen." Ollie laid the old case on a desktop and took the violin out. He handed it to Mrs. Hunsbarger and her mouth dropped open. She looked the violin over and then peeked inside the f-hole. She said, "Oh my Ollie. This is a very rare and valuable instrument. It is very, very old. She plucked the strings and sighed, "Heavenly sound." She took the bow, looked at it closely, and said, "Even this bow is very valuable. After a little fine-tuning, she played a bit of "Ode To Joy," and tears formed in her eyes. Ollie confusing asked, "Why are you crying?"

Mrs. Hunsbarger softly said, "What a wonderful instrument. Anyone with a passion for music can feel the beauty of sound in instruments like this. " Ollie smiled and said, "It was my grandpa's. He bought it from, I think his last name was Manlove and grandpa said that Mr. Manlove set the sound posts for him. Mrs. Hunsbarger said, "Wow. My father used to have him tune our piano and we often bought sheet music from him. He was a kind soul." Mary gently put the violin and bow back in the case as she said, "I don't think we can let you leave this in the band room overnight. Are you sure you want to play this instrument? Do your parents know how valuable it is?"

Ollie shrugged his shoulders and said, "Dad wants me to play it in honor of Grandpa. Dad says that an instrument needs to make music. How much is it worth anyhow?" Mary smiled and said, Thousands of dollars. Your violin is worth more than all of the instruments in our strings section combined. The bow is worth hundreds, lots of hundreds...maybe more." Ollie smiled and said, " Fancie Morris said that my violin was ugly." Mary smiled and said, "You can tell Fancie that Mrs. Hunsbarger stated that you have the most beautiful instrument that ever graced our band room." Ollie smiled as he closed the case.

A teachers' piano.


Music makes love.

Mrs. Hunsbarger convinced Ollie's parents to get the violin and bow appraised. She advised them to take out insurance on the instrument. A school spring concert was coming up soon and Mrs. Hunsbarger was distracted a bit by the beautiful sweet sounds of Ollie's violin during practices. She gave him a solo part on her slower-paced arrangement of Molly on the Shore by Percy Grainger. The concert went wonderfully. Ollie played his part so well that even Fancie gave him a smile.

The next three years in Mrs. Hunsbarger's music classes were the sole reason that Ollie stayed in school. His grades were D's and C's in all other classes. Ollie Shorzen graduated with 4 years of straight A's in music. Mrs. Hunsbarger tried to convince Ollie to go to Berklee and other music schools but Ollie hated the restrictions of school and loved the freedom of music.

As strange events are sure to happen in life, Ollie Shorzen and Fancie Morris were married the following summer after graduation. They decided to be street musicians and traveled from town to town and city to city playing their duets of violin and cello for tips. They wrote many of their own arrangements and composed beautiful music together. A record producer heard them playing at a park in Saint Louis and hired them to do studio works in New York.

The tribute.

The names, Ollie and Fancie got around the music industry quickly. They were in demand worldwide within a few years. They celebrated their 25th. Wedding Anniversary in Berlin, Germany. Ollie was practicing a new song in their motel room. Fancie had stepped outside to answer a call on her phone. She came back in with tears in her eyes. Ollie quickly laid the violin and bow on the bed and asked what was wrong. Fancie wiped her tears and answered, "Brenda Cole." Ollie said, "Yes, she played viola back in High School."

Fancie continued, "She told me that Mary Hunsbarger died. The funeral was yesterday." Fancie sat on the bed. They hugged and cried. Within two weeks they were home in Connorsburg, Indiana. Ollie and Fancie organized a memorial concert to be played at Mary's graveside. More than 200 musicians lined on the cemetery driveways from past and present classes played Mary's favorite, "Ode To Joy" for her.

When the music was over, Ollie spoke as he held his violin, "Our wonderful Teacher Mrs. Mary Hunsbarger played, "Ode To Joy," on this violin nearly 30 years ago. She cried when she heard the beautiful tone. She told me that anyone with a passion for music can feel the beauty of sound in instruments like this. She gave me that passion. She gave Fancie that passion. She gave us all the gift of passion for music."

He placed the violin under his chin, raised his bow, and said, "All of these wonderful instruments, just like the ones we hold now will be the dust of the universe one day. I hope that dust swirls into the heavens and re-creates wonderful instruments for souls like Mary." He nodded at Fancie and she began playing, "Ave Maria." It was the first time tears would roll into the f-holes of his violin.

Ave Maria

© 2022 Tom Cornett

Related Articles