Pictured (L to R) Lois Feller, Roland Feller, and Jane Kumin. Photo by Drew Altizer.
“I can’t imagine a life without music.” -Roland Feller
Violin-maker Roland Feller first experienced music as a child at home, where his parents made sure that he and his five siblings each learned to play an instrument. Home is also where he learned the joy of playing music with others by playing duets with his mother – a treat that made it worth his required 30 minutes of practice per day.
Roland’s first interest in violin-making came at 12 years old when his father took him to buy his first full-size cello. He was fascinated by a man in the shop who was carving a cello bridge and decided then and there that he wanted to make violins. Years later Roland is living out that dream at his own shop on Divisadero Street.
His shop may be the first place Roland learned about Community Music Center. He has been supporting CMC for so long that it is hard to remember for sure! Former CMC Executive Director Steve Shapiro frequently came into the shop to get evaluations of instruments donated to CMC and see how they could best be used to support the CMC mission. Roland’s children, now grown, also studied music at CMC – maybe before he met Steve, maybe after… who knows!
These encounters with Steve and CMC faculty taught Roland about CMC’s mission of providing access to music for all. He knew the importance of music in people’s lives and found CMC to be an inspiration. That inspiration led Roland and his wife Lois to become supporters of CMC more than 30 years ago and they have been donating ever since.
Roland knows that everyone should have a chance to experience music, whether as an audience member or a player, and whether they are old or young. His older customers regularly ask Roland if it is too late to study music and he tells them about CMC, where everyone has a chance to study, no matter their age, experience, or financial circumstance.
Roland can see how much effort the dedicated faculty and staff put into making CMC work. He loves going to concerts and events to hear incredible work faculty do with their students. He knows that as a donor he plays a role in making that possible.
What would Roland say to someone thinking of supporting CMC? He would remind them of the importance of music in everyone’s lives. Music unites people from different backgrounds and brings so much both to individuals and to society as a whole. CMC helps everyone experience that unity, joy, and community through music.