Violinmakers Association of British Columbia
The Violinmakers Association of British Columbia. Established 21 Mar 1957 in Vancouver, with the assistance of the Rev George Wright, the founding members included Wright, George Friess (first president), Ragnar Helin, Martha Kozak, and Pete Swindsay (all from Vancouver) and Clarence Cooper (from Victoria). The object of the association has been 'to encourage the development of the art of making violins and the violin family' and bows. The group has expanded over the years and in 1990 had 66 members, including persons from the USA (Washington, Oregon, and Idaho) as well as from British Columbia. Regular monthly meetings are held at the Hastings Community Centre in Vancouver, often with guest speakers, including professional players. The association has a display booth at the annual Pacific National Exhibition and also sponsors an annual contest in the making of instruments of the violin family (including complete string quartet sets) and their bows; this contest (normally held in June at the University of British Columbia) draws makers from across Canada and the USA. The judges are usually members of the Vancouver SO, along with a professional luthier (in the late 1980s, Dr Henry Iseli of Vancouver) who assess the quality of workmanship. The association possesses a substantial library on the history and art of violin and bow making, and also published monthly(1957-64) The Violin Makers' Journal. This group (whose form of name has varied during its existence) is unique in Canada and has few counterparts - one is in Arizona - in the USA. Presidents have included George Friess, Ragnar Helin, Al Gough, Dr Henry Iseli, Frank Hemphill, and Frank Hurford.