The Violin

A heartwarming story from Sooke of a violin and beautiful music

Norman Nelson

Norman Nelson

It was a cold winter’s night in late January, as a visitor to Sooke I was looking for a store to buy a few groceries. I parked my car and began walking across the square towards the lights.

Reaching me, through the dusk, resonating high and low came the sound of a violin. I stopped to listen. How could such a small instrument have such carrying power, such richness, and versatility?

Drawing closer, I saw a tall, lean man, his smile beaming through the darkness. He was playing a Celtic melody with such energy and enjoyment, foot tapping, his whole body swaying to the rhythm. I searched in my purse for some coins, adding them to the violin case.

The violin was eye-catching, made of smooth, dark curled maple. I stayed; enjoying the moment, his enthusiasm catching, and my foot began tapping in spite of myself!

Just then an older white haired gentleman walked towards us, he walked slowly, listening, he took his wallet out of his pocket and began folding a note and reaching the player he bent down and put the note into the violin case. As he straightened up he said to the violinist, “When I was younger I used to play the violin.” The man stopped playing, he hesitated, thoughtful, trustingly his younger hands held out the violin and bow. The older man’s hands eagerly took them. He felt the curved lines of the violin, as if sensing its strength and weakness and he began to play. The violin changed tune, as with the help of the player each violin sings its own song. It was haunting, soulful, a classical piece, it filled, warmed the spaces deep within the heart.

The younger man was spellbound, and finally he said to the gentleman, “I had better pack up now and leave you to it.” The older man smiled and returned the violin to its owner. He then invited him to play at a venue on Saturday night, the man thanked him but declined explaining he was just passing through Sooke and would not be here then. The older man continued on his way into the store. I went on mine, quietly reflecting on such a poignant moment.

As serendipity would have it, a couple of days later I was dining at a local spot with a friend and picked up an advertising leaflet for the 2014-2015 Concert Season. Sooke has a Philharmonic Orchestra – Wow. Reading the leaflet I saw a picture of a white haired gentleman, it was of Norman Nelson, a man who had studied violin at the Royal College of Music in London, internationally acclaimed. I thought I recognized him, but could this possibly be the same man who had so modestly entertained us the previous evening? What a magical introduction to Sooke.

Barbara Geary

Galiano Island

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

My FED Farm, created by Food Eco District (FED), is aiming to help people affected by the COVID-19 grow food in their own back yard. The program is in collaboration with Sooke Region Food CHI, Transition Sooke and the Sooke Garden Club. (File - Black Press Media)
Sooke backyard food program returns

The Sooke Backyard Food Program is returning for a second year. Sooke… Continue reading

Father Marinaldo Batista, who served at Catholic parishes in Saanich and Sooke, died April 1 in Brazil from complications of COVID-19. (Facebook/St. Elizabeth Church)
Brazilian priest who served in Saanich and Sooke dies from COVID-19

Father Marinaldo Batista, 53, went to Brazil to visit his parents and died there April 1

Colwood resident Maria Curcic shows off a one-of-a-kind hat that she created. Curcic is one of several artists that took part in the annual Stinking Fish Studio Tour. (Contributed - Maria Curcic)
Curtain closes on Stinking Fish Studio Tour

The Stinking Fish Studio Tour will live on through the lasting legacy… Continue reading

Colwood restaurants can use city property for patios. (Black Press Media file photo)
Temporary patios back on for Colwood restaurants

Council voted to extend temporary permits to 2022

A photograph of the real firearm beside the replica firearm seized by VicPD in the early hours of April 18. (Courtesy VicPD)
Police seize loaded firearm, drugs during traffic stop in Victoria

Officers find cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl along with loaded handgun

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Families of two of three workers killed in a train derailment near Field, B.C., in 2019 have filed lawsuits accusing Canadian Pacific of gross negligence. The derailment sent 99 grain cars and two locomotives off the tracks. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Families of workers killed in Field train derailment allege negligence in lawsuit

Lawsuits allege the workers weren’t provided a safe work environment

(New Westminster Police)
4 youth arrested after 30-person brawl in New Westminster leaves 1 seriously injured

Police are looking for witnesses who saw the incident take place

South Surrey’s Paul Cottrell, who works with the DFO, tows a grey whale out of Semiahmoo Bay Sunday. (Contributed photo)
Dead whale floating near White Rock towed to shore for necropsy

Animal has been dead since at least April 15

Wickaninnish (Clifford Atleo) plays the drum while singing the Nuu-chah-nulth song on the court steps in Vancouver In a picture from April 2018. Photo credit, Melody Charlie.
Five western Vancouver Island First Nations celebrate legal fishing victory

Court ruling confirms Nuu-chah-nulth fishing rights in case dating back to 2003

Sunday’s storm rocked one of the ferries crossing Kootenay Lake. Photo: Dirk Jonker
VIDEO: Storm makes for wild ferry ride across Kootenay Lake

The video was captured by ferry employee Dirk Jonker

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Toddler marks youngest British Columbian to die related to COVID-19

Child one of eight people to die from virus this weekend

Chakalaka Bar & Grill remains open in defiance of orders from Island Health to close. (Cole Schisler photo)
Island Health seeks injunction against restaurant defying COVID-19 orders

VIHA says Ladysmith-area Chakalaka Bar and Grill also violating water and sewer regulations

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges all the empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist which is a independent pharmacy during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto, on Monday, April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
B.C. to open up AstraZeneca vaccines for all people 40+, set up clinics in hot spots

A total of 13 neighbourhoods and communities will receive the AstraZeneca vaccine

Most Read