Becoming Uptown Violins
“Music is enough for a lifetime, but a lifetime is not enough for music.” -Sergei Rachmaninoff
Music runs in our family. It’s in our blood. As a child, I remember going to Grandpa and Grandma Scheer’s house to practice for our Christmas shows with our Grandma Ruth, mom, aunts, and cousins. Filled with music and noisy children, this house never knew a quiet moment! As we played, a well-worn violin sat perched in a frame above us, as though presiding over the rehearsal like a wise old friend. Grandparents’ houses are always filled with family treasures that tell tales of the generations past. My mother Allison was one of 10 children who grew up in this house. The family performed as the “Scheer Delights,” often reenacting songs from The Sound of Music in which Allison played Marta, the next-to-youngest child in the von Trapp family. She fondly remembers singing Edelweiss with her father Harold, the stately Captain von Trapp. Valerie, the oldest of the 10 children, had taken up violin and taught it to many of her younger siblings, including Allison.
A generation later, Allison had 5 little girls of her own whom she imparted her love of violin. We kept our mom busy as she worked tirelessly to teach all of us the family trade. The “Scheer Delights” became the “Five Star Strings,” and we performed frequently at Christmas parties, church events, orchestra concerts, and violin recitals. Favorite songs included “The Syncopated Clock,” “Minuet” by Boccherini, and “Millionaire’s Hoedown.” We even brought back a few of the old Sound of Music songs! As the oldest of the five I played Liesl, much to the chagrin of some of my younger sisters who had to play the male roles of Friedrich and Kurt!
While Christy, the youngest, was still in kindergarten I left the nest to attend Baylor University to study music. Sherèe joined me shortly afterwards, and one by one the others followed suit. Now Christy is the last of the clan to attend our Alma Mater. Following graduation, Brittany and Kerri, the third and fourth sisters, moved to Uptown Dallas and started a new music business, Uptown Violins. It has now expanded to cities throughout the Midwest, including Wichita, KS, Kansas City, KS/MO, and Springfield, IL.
However, when I look closely, it’s not such a new business after all. Very recently, I discovered that our musical heritage dates back to my Grandpa Scheer’s grandfather. Apparently Granfather Panter McIlvain played the fiddle in a country band, performing for dances and parties in his town. He passed on his violin to his grandson, Harold, who gave it to his own children to learn. It now hangs in a prominent place in the Scheer home, looking from above on all the aspiring new violinists. I smile every time I see my one-year-old daughter imitate her mommy by clutching her little toy violin, trying to hold it under her chin. Perhaps she will be the sixth generation to espouse this trade, giving it her own spin as her predecessors have done. Rachmaninoff was right, “a lifetime is not enough for music.” The musical heritage of a Midwestern violinist still lives on a century later through the songs of his descendants.
In memory of the late Grandfather Harold Scheer (1922—2016), co-founder of the “Scheer Delights.”
First Fridays with Uptown Violins is hosted by Ashley Rescot, Director of Public Relations. Ashley received her Bachelor of Music from Baylor University, as well as minors in French and English. She taught English as a Fulbright scholar in France for a year, and then obtained her Master’s Degree in French Literature at the University of Kansas. She has taught French to all ages, including a Maman et Moi baby French class, as well as collegiate French levels I-IV. She teaches her own private violin studio and performs throughout the Midwest. Research interests include the relationship between music education and language acquisition, as well as the connection between music and other forms of artistic expression.