A message from the President.
This past year has been tough for all of us. Between Covid-19 , inflation and Politics, I have had to face the reality that our world is changing. It has become increasingly difficult to keep the VMAAI going. Our attendance at the Convention has dropped to only 10 maybe 12 people. Those that do decide to attend must pay a greatly increased airline or gas cost and also hotel room rental rates. Our finances are so low that covering operating expenses is difficult. I have difficulty getting qualified people to serve on the Board. And those that are on the Board have to do a lot more work than before. Hotel rental rates are way above what we used to pay. In order to cover those increased hotel rates, I must charge a much increased entry fee and this upsets some members. And there are not enough members to do all the tasks required to conduct the competition. I face a much increased fee from the playing judges we hire to play the entries that do show up. Also, in this computer age we are no longer the only source for data on how to build a violin. One can go on line and watch a Strad being worked on. Or see a presentation on making your own top quality varnish. In reality, for several years now, the only specialty we really offered was our Competition and the trophies and certificates that the winners could then take home and put on their wall.
This year, 2022, is my 40th year of guiding this Association. Rather than see our group struggle and strain in such an undesirable condition , I feel the proper thing to do is formally close our doors and be proud of the many things we have been able to accomplish since we started back in 1958. Bob Wallace and his friends had a great vision of a violin makers group when he and his friends started this Association. That was 64 years ago. I don’t want to see it limp along to a slow and struggling death. With all that in mind I intend to formally close our doors. We will no longer publish the Journal or hold a Competition. At the end of this fiscal year in October I will inform the IRS we are no longer in operation.
We all have many fond memories of events and friends and fiddles that won and some that didn’t. I have enjoyed the times we all shared together and the many friends I have with so many of you. I remember the spark that we felt as we used some goood woood to start that next Strad for the October Competition is something we all remember; Sharing a glass of Tony’s California wine as we explained that blemish that cost us the Work and Varnish trophy; Having Nelson play one more Cajun tune; The Quartets that played while we ate our banquet meals; Getting Evan Smith and his family from Idaho to play a tune and wondering how that funky bass fiddle worked; Listening to Bill Fulton explain how to make his varnish; And the memories go on and on and they are all good ones.
But my friends, it’s time. Time to thank all of you for your part in this Association. For being a member and contributing all that you did. I have really enjoyed knowing you all, being your President, being on the Board, and guiding this group as we moved through the years.
If you would like to chat my number is 520-241-3409.
Bill Barnitz – President VMAAI