Page 2 - The Michigan Daily - Sunday, February 5, 1984
Crafter shapes violins to life
By TONI SHEARS
He's all muscle, clad in skin-tight"
blue jeans, and cowboy boots, looking
more like a rock star than a "minister's
son who wore glasses and played
But for the past 13 years, David
Burgess, 30, has earned a living making
hand-crafted violins and cellos. His
talent is rare - only about 500 people
nationwide make violins, and most of
them don't practice the craft full-time
as Burgess does.
ALONG WITH the series of gold
medals hanging on his shop wall, people
who have purchased Burgess's in-
struments say the violins rate among
the very best available.
Despite Burgess's unusual talent, he
says his interests are pretty ordinary. A
picture of one of his favorite music ar-
tists, Ted Nugent, hangs on the back
wall of Burgess's workshop. Burgess
credits Nugent as the key inspiration
behind some of his best violins.
Burgess makes about 14 to 15 violins
and cellos a year, a production rate
topped by only two other craftsmen in
the nation, said Mark Norfleet, who
works with Burgess at Shar Products in
Ann Arbor, one of the largest
distributors of stringed instruments
EACH VIOLIN is hand-crafted a bit
differently, says Burgess who works on
five or six violins at a time. But the first
step in the three-month process is an
"First comes the inspiration,"
Burgess says running his hands
through his dark, curly hair.
"Sometimes I spend several days con-
templating the shape."
Pointing to a two-foot chunk of maple
wood which is worth about $100 Burgess
explains that the material will be tran-
sformed into the neck of-a cello.
"THE PERFECT neck is there," he
says. "What I do is just get rid of all the
Although factory-made violins cost
only $130 a hand-crafted instrument is
extremely valuable. Some rare
Stradivaris sell for as much as $1.2
million at auctions. Burgess's violins.-
Doily Photo by M
Craftsman David Burgess works closely to transform a piece of wood into the frame of a violin.
sell for about $6,400 and cellos cost
nearly twice as much.
The wood alone for a cello runs as-
high as $700 and the high price makes
Burgess's work somewhat stressful. It
is crucial to make the neck, back, and
center of the instrument perfect,
Burgess says. Yet the low-key Burgess
insists that the pressure doesn't
"THERE are so many things that can go
wrong that if I think about them-all I'd
never get out of bed in the morning."
"In fact, getting out of bed is
probably the biggest frustration of my
the back of a matchbook cover.
ACTUALLY, Burgess's interest in
building instruments was a result of
rejecting the competitive arena of
violin performance despite several
years of lessons as a child.
When Burgess brought his violin in to
the music store in his hometown of
Seattle, Wash. for repairs he would
watch - and help - the men work on
"I kind of liked the mellow, laid-back
atmosphere (in the repair shop),"
AFTER giving up on the lessons, he
I discovered repair was not laid-back, but a
competitive, high-energy field. I also
discovered about that time that I was a high-
-David Burgess, violin craftsman
me more than the school could in less
time, so I went to L.A." Burgess says.
His early work was limited mostly to
repairs on instruments, and he also
quickly discovered that the competition
he tried to avoid in violin performance
was running full force in violin craft
"I DISCOVERED repair was not
laid-back, but a competitive, high-
energy field. I also discovered about
that time that I was really a high-
energy person," Burgess says.
And Burgess has fared well in the
race. He has won more gold medals in
international competitions for violin-
making than any other artist in the
U.S., Canada, or Europe, according to
the spokespeople at Shar Products.
"They are really excellent in-
struments," adds Dr. Patrick Doust,
who owns two of Burgess's violins.
"They compare (with the very best
violins) in sound projection."
When he isn't working, Burgess says
he searches for "cultural inspiration,"
which he doesn't find at the usual
places such as art museums or local
"The Second Chance is a good place
for cultural inspiration," he says with a
Profile appears every Sunday.
job," he joked.
Humor marks" Burgess's style. It's
tough to pin down a straight answer
from all of Burgess's one-liners such as
as claiming he learned the art of hand-
crafting violins at a correspondence
school whose address he discovered on
worked as an apprentice with a Seattle
violin maker. At age 16 he entered the
Mittenwald School of Violin-Making in
Germany, but he left midway through
to work for a violin maker in Los
The violin maker said he could teach
Protesters call look-alike contest sexist'
Compiled from Associated Press and
United Press international reports
Brazilian plane hijacked to Cuba
MEXICO CITY - Three armed men with two women and a crying baby
hijacked a Brazilian jetliner on a domestic flight yesterday and forced it to
fly to Cuba after exchanging the 154 passengers for fuel in Surinam, reports
Prensa Latina, the official Cuban news agency, said the Varig-Cruziero
Brazilian Air Lines A300 Airbus landed at an airport in provincial Camaguey
about 300 miles southeast of Havana, where the hijackers surrendered.
The report contained no mention of the identities, motives or nationalites
of the hijackers, and the news agency did not say whether they surrendered
One of the hijackers was identified by a Brazilian diplomat as Fernando
Santiago, a 21-year-old bank worker from the northern state of Cerra, who
brought along his wife and child.
Prensa Latina said the group seemed to be "larger than five, not Cubans,
among them two women, and a 1-year-old child. Among the group there were
armed to carry out the hijacking."
Cuban authorities took the hijackers into custody in Havana and permitted
the 14 member crew to take the Varig-Cruzeiro Airlines Airbus back to
Brazil, according to government and airline officials.
Troops fight for control in Beirut
BEIRUT, Lebanon - Government troops fought furious battles yesterday
with Shiite Moslem rebels in the streets of South Beirut in a third day of in-
tense combat. Officials said nearly 100 people were killed in the past week.
The fighting for control of a vantage point in the southern Shiite slums
prompted a Shiite leader to call on all Moslems in the government to resign
and all Moslem soldiers in the army to sit out the fighting.
The army issued a statement saying Lebanon's armed forces continued to
be "a symbol of national unity, but some reports said Moslem troops and
officers in west Beirut and the eastern Bekaa Valley were refusing to fight.
Coming to'the aid of their Shiite allies, Druze Moslem gunners in the Shouf
mountains east of Beirut fired artillery shells and rockets that crashed into
Christian areas of east Beirut and the coastal zone just.to the north.
Explosions and gunfire rocked the ramshackle buildings north of the U.S.
Marine base at Beirut airport as Lebanese soldiers and the Shiite militias
fought all day for control of an abandoned church at a key intersection near
the southern approach to the capital.
Fires in 3 states kill 18 people
Three fires yesterday killed 19 people -13 of them children - at a home in
Tacoma, Wash., an unlicensed boarding house in Montgomery, Ala., and a
house where four children were left alone in Albany, Ga.
Five boys and four girls --aged 1ito 8 - from several families died in the
second worst fire in Tacoma's history. A surviving youngster said a 5-year-
old boy told him he started the fire while playing with a cigarette lighter.
Four children died in the Albany fire. Two other children escaped. Police
said their mother, Sherry Rendle, 23, was in a neighborhood bar at the time
and was jailed on four counts of cruelty to children.
Montgomery Fire Cheif Jim Sutherland said there was an "excellent
chance" arson was involved in the blaze that killed five people at a two-story
frame boarding house - the worst toll in Alabama's capital since a 1967
restaurant fire killed 25.
At least six people escaped the, boarding house by jumping from a second
story balcony. The victims were found on the first floor, which Sutherland
said had burglar bars on the windows "which hindered rescue and also hin-
dered possibly several from escaping from the fire."
Panel to approve new resolution
WASHINGTON - Rep. Stephen Solarz, (D-N.Y.) said yesterday there is
majority support on the House Foreign Affairs Committee for a toned-down
version of a resolution calling for withdrawal of the Marines from Lebanon.
Solarz, a committee memberwho is working on a compromise, said he ex-
pects the panel on Tuesday to approve a resolution designed to .win support
from some Republicans as well as many Democrats.
"The most important thing is the addition to the resolution of language
making it clear that while we're calling for withdrawal of the Marines from
Beirut, we're not calling for withdrawal of all U.S. forces from the region,"
he said in a telephone interview.
In addition, he said, he expects the final version of the resolution to delete
explicit criticism of the administration.
If a resolution seeking withdrawal of the Marines passes with Republican
support, ?'it would presumably have a greater impact on the president and
on our policy," Solarz said.
Ski lift cable fails, kills workman
BESSEMER, - A cable on a ski lift at Powerhorn Ski Resort failed
yesterday, killing a workman and injuring eight of 60 to 80 skiers who were
on the ski lift at the time, authorities said.
A cable on one of several ski lifts at the resort "slipped off a pulley" while
Harry Beckman, 34, or Bessemer, was examining it, said Gogebic County
Sheriff Donald Pezzetti.
The cable then acted as a slingshot, he added, "popping people from chairs
who were on the lift."
The skiers fell from 10-to 35-feet to the ground, authorities said.
Beckman, who was crushed in the ski lift mechanism, was dead at the
A 12-year-old boy, a woman and a man were admitted to Grandview
Hospital, said hospital administrator Wayne Hellerstedt. Their conditions
were described as good. They suffered injuries ranging from rib fractures to
a back fracture.
Authorities said they believed Beckman may have been trying to fix
something on the cable of the ski lift and he or someone else may have hit the
wrong button, causing the ski lift to jerk backwards and forwards.
AJe idtgn iid
Sunday, February 5,1984
Vol. XCIV-No. 105
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Chief Photographer...........DOUG MCMAHON Business Manager...............STEVE BLOOM
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(Continued from Page 1)
.one blond woman smoking a cigarette
who declined to give her name.
When, a protester,. approached her
early in the evening with a leaflet she
refused to take one saying that she
already knew about sex discrimination
because she is enrolled in a University'
Women's Studies course.
Zheng Lou, a University graduate
student from China, standing in line
last night said he came to the movie to
find out why Americans made such a
fuss about Marilyn Monroe.
"I just knew she was a famous ac-
tress in the U.S. and I wanted to see
(the movie) and get an idea of how she-
THE PROTESTERS came from
several groups including the Lesbian
Network and the Women's Crisis Cen-
ter. Friedenfels pointed out that the
contest is racist because a black
woman couldn't win although a man
dressed in drag could as recently non-,
traditional roles for men have been
more widely accepted.
Phobic students lear
(Continued from Page 1)
fear of snakes, you could throw him in a
snake pit. That might work over time,
but most professionals wouldn't con-
sider it ethical or beneficial."
BUT SOME therapists choose more
coercive methods for treating phobias.
Another popular method called "ex-
posure," is like an accelerated flooding
"In exposure, they put you in a
stressful situation and don't permit you
to escape," said Dr. Lawrence Cantow,
director of a 16-week program in Bir-
mingham, Mich. for agoraphobics.
Cantow, who estimates that there are
about 30,000 agoraphobics in Detroit,
said he prefers the flooding method.
"We work gradually, through desen-
sitization, by keeping anxiety at a low
NEARLY 500 people have been
through Cantow's TERRAP program
(territorial apprehensiveness) since it
opened in 1976.
No matter which therapy method is
used, most phobics agree that facing
their fears can be terrifying.
"The first ten minutes are
petrifying," says Mark who was able to
eat comfortably during the meeting.
"But the difference between success
and failure may be a matter of toughing
FOR AN Ann Arbor woman who
n to cope
spent more than six hours a day
cleaning her home, Thyer used the
flooding approach in several therapy
sessions. Thyer would come into her
home and in small ways upset the or-
der in her meticulous living room by
making small messes or knocking over
Slowly, she learned to endure the
In some cases of agoraphobia, Thyer
will accompany clients to Briarwood
Mall and wait outside a store while they
make small purchases.
Though some therapists say Thyer's
methods let clients become too depen-
dent, the group members say the sup-
port gives them much-needed
"TOO MUCH support is too protec-
tive," said Canto. "Ultimately, the
patient has to do it alone."
Gloria, who is gaining control over
her obsession with cleanliness, says the
group sessions have helped her life
slowly return to normal.
Although Gloria spent three weeks at
a hosptial on the East Coast last sum-
mer receiving treatment for her
phobia, she proudly reported that last
month she flirted with three men at a
None of the men interested her, but
she knows she is making progress.
The group, "gives you a feeling of not
being alone," she said.
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_- - - - 1 I
Haiti may receive more aid
WASHINGTON (AP) - The Reagan
administration has certified to
Congress that the government of Haiti,
long regarded as one of the most op-
pressive regimes in the Western
Hemisphere, is improving its human
rights record and may receive U.S. aid,
officials confirmed yesterday.
The administration is asking
Congress to approve $54 million in aid
for fiscal 1985, up from $44.7 million in
fiscal 1984. The 1985 total includes
$750,000 in military assistance.
A statement issued yesterday by the
State Department said: "We recognize.
that serious human rights abuses con-
tinue to exist in Haiti. However, on
balance, the government of Haiti is
making a concerted effort to improve
the human rights situation in that coun-
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