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Maker of Violins, Violas and Cellos

Correspondence with Dave Hoke regarding his purchase of Carmalita Violin in July 2012

April 6, 2012
Hello Thurmond, I would like to visit your shop with my son, Latimer, some day with the intention of encouraging his musical interest into the future. We are both fiddlers though our tastes run to different styles. He has a romantic attachment to his present instrument because it is the one I started with and has served him well. He graduates from the University of Vermont this spring and the timing may be right. Regards, Dave Hoke. Enosburg Falls, Vermont.

May 17, 2012
Hello Thurmond, My son and I have thought of little else but a visit to your shop since our last contact. We should tire of clear weather by next Tuesday, May 22. If it suits you, we'd like to come over and could be there by 10. I hope you are available and we look forward to meeting. Dave

May 22, 2012
Hello Thurmond. What a fine way to spend a rainy day. What a privilege to make your acquaintance, see your shop and play such great instruments. Thanks again for your time and patience. I look forward to our next meeting. Dave

June 26, 2012
[Dave and Latimer took Carmalita violin home with them for a ten day trial]

Hello Thurmond, I'd like to allow Latimer plenty of room to decide what he wants to do, at his own pace. I have tried to be cold blooded while we have talked about these things even though I'm overcome. So often my children have taken me somewhere better. As for your violin, which has graced our home and driven me to play until my fingers are black and put a divot in my clavicle, we have to meet again to talk seriously about my interest in your work and particularly "Carmalita". Lat tells me you are away for awhile in the coming days. Please let me know when I might conveniently return to your shop. Thanks for such an extraordinary experience. Dave

July 3, 2012
Hello Thurmond, Sorry to speak in riddles. I'm interested in your work. There was a time in my life when I couldn't out-dream my ability to do something but even in my wildest fancies I've never been inclined to the level of artistic craftsmanship revealed in your violin. In speaking about a whole, I meant what attracts you and I to a common ground. I hope to see you when you return. Thanks. Dave

July 6, 2012
Hello Thurmond, Apologies again for confusing you. I'd like to purchase "Carmalita" if available for sale and if you can answer a couple of questions I have about the instrument. I've sent a letter to that effect. This can certainly wait until the time is convenient to your work schedule. Regards, Dave

July 9, 2012
Hello Thurmond, I'm fully engaged on Tuesday but will come to the shop on Wednesday 7/11. I do not want to interrupt your work cycle unnecessarily but of course I'm glad to hear that the instrument is still available. I look forward to your comments about "Carmalita" and the opportunity to talk more about violins. If there is a better time for me to arrive please advise, I'm quite flexible, otherwise I'll try to be there at 9:00. Thanks again. Dave  

July 22, 2012
[Dave purchased Carmalita violin on July 11]

Hello Thurmond, I am grateful to have made your acquaintance. I'm amazed by your workmanship. What an instrument! I changed the strings to Pirastro Tonica, they have stopped stretching and the sound has leveled out. They don't have the tension or the diameter of the Evah Parrazi and thus a little less punch, volume and depth, but in this beginning phase, it may keep me from losing my hearing. A musical friend stopped over for two nights and we played all day, him alone, me alone, together, with guitar, banjo, another fiddle and he lost his reservations and went on his way a serious convert. So much of this is subjective I'm hesitant to go on and on in praise. But I could. I'm glad my friend's opinion mirrored my own. We both found a way to relax and enjoy the quality of the instrument in every respect. Thanks. I'm glad to have a part in this instrument�s journey across time. I've hung it up in the house so it can get shaken by everyday life in lieu of playing in the third position. I'm going to be obnoxious in the honey house this year and Franklin may have to come visit you just to keep me quiet. I certainly plan to get him to play it in the morning before we get filthy and he won't be able to resist. Thanks again. Dave  

November 10, 2012
[Latimer commissioned a violin from Thurmond which he purchased in late October] 

Hello Thurmond, I remain humbled by your creative skill. I have had many hours and days of pleasure with the instrument I got back in July. It has become predictable and consistent, reflecting my limited skills with persistent honesty. Lat's instrument is also a beautiful piece of work and the similarities and contrasts are a treat to appreciate. I know Lat made a decision he will cherish in the years to come and, in making your acquaintance he has made a personal connection that means a great deal. Franklin has been over a couple of times and his skepticism about commitment to the unknown is wavering in the face of both instruments in the same room. We are all honored. The following is a bio and I am trying to forward some pictures. Do as you wish with both. Regards, Dave


July 8, 2022

"Regards Thurmond!  This is the end of my first decade playing one of your fiddles.  I haven't dropped it yet.  I'm guessing I've got at least a third of a year of continuous playing time vibrated into the instrument.  Imagine what I COULD have been doing!  I've taken it to 24 different states in my travels so far.  I've met many good people along the way and may actually have developed some social skills. I don't think it's a stretch to say your work has put another dimension into my everyday life and I still look forward to each time I open the case. I also look forward to the possibility of a second decade. We'll see. I wish you well, and good cheer. Dave

       "Dave Hoke purchased Carmalita in July of 2012. Dave has been a self-taught musician for more than 45 years. He played with a central Ohio string band (the Turkeys) in the late 70's before moving to northwest Vermont, working in the agricultural community, building a homestead and raising a family. Dave continues the oral tradition of rural Appalachian fiddle music and is known for an extensive repertoire and lively style. He still occasionally plays out and also accompanies his son Latimer in performance.


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