The Sooke region is home to many musical abilities, which is evident through physical objects in the Sooke Region Museum collection once belonging to local talent.
A wood violin in our collection appears made for teaching as a paper guide is adhered to the neck with fingering positions for notes. The bow is painted black with blond bow hair, and the stick and tip are made of dark redwood. The frog is the piece at the base of the bow that holds and adjusts the hair. Pieces of mother of pearl are inlaid on the bottom and sides of the frog.
On the side of the bow, stamped into the wood just above the frog, is “Czechoslovakia.” The violin has a wooden case, painted black, with red felt lining and brass locks and handle. A series of pegs and bridges come with the violin, sandpaper and rosin pieces, and empty envelopes for replacement violin strings.
Donated in 2012, a large wood and metal Ludwig drum was once used by a drummer in the Sooke Girls Drum and Drill Corps. The head of the drum is white with blue lettering that spells out the group’s name. The shell of the drum is brown with a gold hoop edge.
One of my favourite recent donations is a custom-made Piano Bandonion accordion, which belonged to champion logger Richard (Dick) Herrling, whose sons were the world-famous “Birling Herrlings.”
The bellows of the accordion expand when the player pulls the handles on either side of the accordion. The air coming from the bellows is routed to particular reeds, controlled by pressing the instrument’s buttons. The treble and bass sections are made of reddish wood. On the side of these sections, the words “Carl Brosch” and “Piano Bandonion” are among translucent Bakelite stars and music stand designs.
The treble side has two rows of black flat and sharp keys and ivory-coloured natural keys. The opposing side has clear cylindrical bass buttons and a Bakelite bar above them with a black leather strap handle.
On the sides, around the handles, are the “grilles,” which have elaborate floral and geometric designs carved into the wood, partially showing a mesh material underneath, where the sound is released.
The accordion is still functional, and some surprised “oos” were made by collections staff when the instrument let out a musical sigh while being turned over.
Montana Stanley is the collections and exhibits manager of the Sooke Region Museum and Visitor Centre.