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Rachele grew up immersed in a household of musicians: Mother a violinist and her father an opera singer. ' I grew up on stage, back stage, at rehearsals (both opera & symphony) and can sing most operatic arias, observing and partaking in the behind the scene activities'. Artistically talented from an early age; she took music lessons and ballet growing up; later becoming involved in set design, architectural design and drafting, a proficient seamstress - pattern drafting and dress & costume design and making. She was a builder/stagehand at both the summer opera programs at The Banff School of Fine Arts in Alberta and University of Victoria Opera in British Columbia.
All her parents are still very involved in the classical arts: opera, orchestras, pianist, violinist, makers and musicians. While her siblings, seasoned musicians, perform locally. Her brother is the head gardener at Butchard Gardens and also plays in a rock band. They have gigs monthly and are known for hosting many fundraisers for cancer. He is a successful musician on piano, flute and the drums. My sister is in management on the BC Ferries and is also a successful musician, singer and songwriter (guitar and piano). She sings with my brothers band occasionally, and also performs locally. She keeps active with her sound studio called Sunflower Studios.
Rachele knew she wanted to work in the Arts; a field where her natural creative talents, visual imagination, attention to detail and her intrinsic understanding of sound/voice would be utilized. This led her to work in her extended families business of bow making and instrument repair. She apprenticed with (her stepfather) Bow Maker Michael Vann for four years in the early 80's. She showed a high skill set and aptitude towards the art form. She was taught the art and tradition of french bow making in all its facets. Repair and restoration and bow rehairing was an ongoing process throughout the 4 years of study. During this time instrument set up, tonals and basic repairs, adjustments, all the intricacies were studied and practiced. All the while learning and practicing the subtle characteristics of size, curves, dimensions etc of the historic makers. Repetition of mindful work; times a thousand, until it became an ingrained feeling of knowing. Working with the metals, understanding the woods, inlaying the ivory etc was meaningful like a religion - it seemed intuitively natural to give life back to the wood.
Upon completion of her apprenticeship she was invited to continue her craft and studies in New York City U.S.A. working with the late William Salchow. An invaluable study and work experience. It was an honor to worked with him and his colleagues.
Having returned to Canada, Rachele was asked by Gerry Stanyick to work at his shop; The Violin Shop in Vancouver B.C. as head of the bow department. A very busy and satisfying position, yet her appetite to further her knowledge and experience as a professional Luthier compelled her to apply to several internationally acclaimed violin making schools in: USA, Mittenwald and England. She was accepted at all three!
Rachele choose The Newark School of Violin Making in England. Being the only bow maker at the school at that time, she agreed to teach bow rehairing and basic repairs, one evening a week, to students who were interested - proved invaluable to most and also enabled Rachele to keep keen with sharing the knowledge she had. After completing two in-depth years of violin/viola making, playing, machining, varnishing, instrument setup & repairs, Rachele returned to Canada to continue her work with Michael Vann.
During the next two years, Rachele obtained a Forestry diploma from Malaspina University in Nanimo BC, while also working part-time in her parents shop. She later relocated to Prince George British Columbia in 1991 where her services were greatly needed, and established her Violin Shop. She raised her awe inspiring, highly educated, soulful and brilliantly talented daughter, who through the years kept Rachele focused to achieve higher heights in growing a successful business.
The Rococo Violin Shop has been able to teach and educate players, students, music store owners and teachers the 'professional tradition' of properly repaired and set up instruments. It has been a difficult yet fully rewarding life path that has brought great joy; seeing both professionals and young students excited about having their instruments and bows work at their best.
Rachele works closely with music organizations, and lends instruments where needed for the import players that come to town.
For two summers, Rachele worked as a Teacher's Assist alongside Michael Vann who operated and taught the Summer Bow Making School in Victoria, B.C. Canada.
Rachele stays busy with all the ongoing of instrument repair and restoration of both bows and instruments. The shop sells and maintains a varied collection of all instruments and bows of the violin family; and she is happy to share inventory and repairs with her parents shop on the island. She offers one of the best instrument setups in western Canada, which also includes setting the player up with his or her instrument. While her own making takes second fiddle to the amount of restorative work being done; her violins and bows are very finely made.
Throughout the years, Rachele has been invited to set-up her shop at music festivals throughout the province of BC. The events are always fast paced and fun; meeting with musicians, sharing knowledge, fixing instrument/bow issues and showcasing products.
The Rococo Violin Shop provides a much needed comprehensive service to the string business and a great service globally and to the widely spread population of the Northern British Columbia, including many smaller isolated communities. Appointments are requested - email is best. During the summer months of July & August the shop is open sporadically, but I can be reached by email to set up an appointment.
Rachele has dedicated her life to creating and breathing life back into the old and broken; and that can be seen in everything she does. She lives in a playhouse of creative activity. The outdoors and her garden brings her solitude, while nature inspires her creativity and keeps her humble.
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors—we borrow it from our children.” Back ;