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Jan 10, 2020

Luthiers Without Borders Assist the Pallotti School of Music

Luthiers without Borders is an international organization that began with a violin repair project run by two violin makers in schools in Havana, Cuba. It quickly expanded to other countries where its members assist orchestras and musicians with the maintenance of their string instruments.  During the course of this week, two Luthiers have been on visit in Belize, specifically with the Pallotti School of Music. The members were taught techniques to repair and maintain their instruments and were even gifted some of the tools needed. Earlier today, we caught up with them in the city and spoke with Violin maker, Ute Zhan of the U.S. and Music Director Stephanie Coye.


Stephanie Coye

Stephanie Coye, Director, Pallotti School of Music

“One left already, but she did a bow making course with us and also a workshop with the students on how to take care of bows and history of bows. We also have Ute, who is still here, now teaching us how to take care of the instruments, how to fix the instruments. We are all in different stages, but it is great because we are all sharing and learning from each other as well.”


Duane Moody

“How important is this because, if I am not mistaken, Belize does not have anybody that repairs instruments?”


Stephanie Coye

“It is very important cause as far as I know, I don’t think anyone is repairing the bowed instruments. And in a case like if we have a damaged violin or we need a bow re-haired, the usual case is we send it abroad or some of them just buy new bows. So it is a great opportunity for us and for Belize on a whole that we can do things like this now on a larger scale.”


Ute Zahn

Ute Zahn, American Violin Maker

“As you know in Belize, the climate is tropical; this is not something that the string instruments are designed for. And the weather, the humidity, it does certain things to the instruments so they have to really be cared for and looked after properly because they become hard to play after a while. So what we are trying to do here is just give the teachers an idea of how they can best care for the students’ and their own instruments so that they stay comfortable to play, they make a nice sound, the response musically. We were very lucky in that we received a really large donation from a violin maker who was retiring and he left his entire workshop to Luthiers Without Borders and so I went through all these boxes of tools and wood and supplies and tried to get together an entire kit of things that would be necessary to take care of instruments.”

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