Why We Exist
The room is cold and somehow feels empty. It’s almost Christmas. Shouldn’t there be lights and trees and Rudolph music here? The 4 year old boy’s head hurts and the words he hears from the big people in the room are jumbled and too big for him to understand. Why does it hurt so much, and why is he feeling confused all the time. To fill the dullness of this place his mind begins to wander to a recurring day-dream that he is playing a little violin just like the lady, a few months before, at the CPO’s Saturday Morning at the Symphony. The beautiful music in his mind engulfs him briefly bringing him instant comfort. Josh is suddenly interrupted and fear returns as he looks to see his crying mother’s face. He knows something is wrong, but it will be many years before he understands that this moment has changed his life forever.
That fateful day, Josh is diagnosed with neurofibramatosis. The petit and grand mal seizures intensify and the intensive care unit becomes his home over the Christmas holidays. Feeling sorry for Josh that he will not be with his brothers and sisters on Christmas morning, his neurologist asks him what one thing he wishes for most. On Christmas morning with his eyes as big as saucers, he excitedly opens the special gift from his doctor. It’s a tiny 1/8 size violin!
The months and years pass and Josh learns to live with cognitive decline and impairments to his speech, language processing and increasing forgetfulnenss. Without the successes he experiences with the violin, his parents envision a decline in his spirit. Miraculously, his neurological deficits are not affecting his ability to play his violin. In fact, his music ability continues to improve and becomes the driving force and constant in his life. It is the one thing he knows he is improving at and enjoying.
At the age of 7, Josh’s musical dreams get even bigger when he announces to his parents “one day I want to be a Calgary Fiddler”. The fiddle performance he attends with his violin teacher stirs an emotion within him of determination and drive. He is dreaming big, but he knows that with practice and hard work he can do it. And do it, he does! At the age of 14 while still experiencing seizures on a daily basis, Josh aces his audition for the Calgary Fiddlers and embarks on a 4-year journey of the most active and fulfilling musical years of his young life.
Josh credits music and fiddling, in particular, to his emotional and physical healing. Not only did performing and learning to fiddle (and mandolin) build his self-confidence, his leadership skills developed as he mentored new fiddlers to the group each year. Now, as a recent graduate of the Calgary Fiddlers program, Josh has joined a folk/indy music band and plans to go to college for music production.
The Calgary Fiddlers Association fiddle music education programs create amazing young people who gain so much from seeing first-hand how their music affects others, both emotionally and spiritually.