Sunday, July 20, 2008

2008 AAW Symposium - Part VII; AAW Banquet & Auction

The Saturday banquet is always fun to attend, especially when you can sit at a table with good friends. I sat at a table with J. Paul Fennell, Al Stirt, John Wessels, John Magill and his wife, Dale Larsen, Art Liestman, Bonnie Klein, and Jacques Vesery.

The live auction donations were lined up at the front of the banquet room and there was a lot of activity while people came up to get a better look.

Binh Pho did a collaboration with his daughter, and this was purchased by a collector and then given to Binh's daughter. That was pretty special.

The jewelry box on the right was made and donated by Fred Klap. The small box next to it was made and donated by Matthew Hill. I won the bid on it, and so now it is in my collection.

I'm not sure who made these items.

The collaboration by Bonnie Klein and Jacques Vesery. Check the Thursday night post for some close-up images.

Box on left by Dewey Garrett, the one on the right is a collaboration by Louise Hibbert and Sarah Parker Jones.

L: Dixie Biggs, R: Bill Tilson

Another collaboration by resident artists Louise Hibbert and Sarah Parker Jones. This was the piece they worked on during the symposium.

More donations. . .

ditto . . . .

The Orange Slice Special by Bernie Hrytzak - more on that later during this post.

Before the auction began, there are always a number of recognitions and awards to be made. Bonnie presented a small box to this lady, who has been very helpful during the youth turning program.

The major presentation of the evening is the Lifetime Achievement award. This year's recipient was Albert LeCoff, and his brother made the introduction, which was a surprise to Albert.

The introduction went on for quite a while, and so Jacques got up to serve coffee to everyone at our table.

Albert eventually made his way to the stage to receive his award.

Albert's acceptance speech.

Bill Haskell giving some award or another.

I think this was the drawing for the lathe raffle, which was a benefit for Phil Brennion.

The Auction is always the big event at the Saturday banquet. John Hill was our auctioneer, assisted by Nick Cook.

The crowd is so large that it is necessary to have a team of spotters. They're the ones in bright yellow hats.

Rob Wallace is a colleague of mine from academia, and he volunteered his auction skills to serve as a spotter. Way to go, Rob!

This was Bonnie Klein's reaction after her collaboration with Jacques Vesery was auctioned off. It went for $11,500, which must have made them feel pretty satisfied about the project.

Jacques and Bonnie, congratulating one another.

Smile for the camera.

The other big story, at least from my perspective, of the auction was the orange fiddle made by Bernie Hrytzak. He had arranged for a 12 year old boy to play it during the mixer before the banquet, but the connection never happened. When the fiddle came up for auction, John Hill had made an announcement to that effect. The bidding started out pretty low. John Wessels prodded me into going and playing that fiddle to raise the bid price, so I went back stage and borrowed the fiddle. Then I took it up to the auction stage, tuned a bit and played a bit of "Paddy's Return," one of my favorite Irish jigs. The audience was very responsive, to say the least, and the bidding resumed with more enthusiasm.

After the bidding ended my good friend Harvey Fein came over to my table to ask me how I liked the fiddle. I told him I couldn't really tell because it was out of tune and there wasn't any rosin on the bow. He said I'd have to tell him about it after I had a chance to play it some more. I asked him what he was talking about, and he told me he won the bid and was giving the fiddle to me. We had a good laugh about it because we both figured it would be a great gag to use during my Aisling gigs.

About that time, Bernie came over to thank me for playing the fiddle during the auction. I introduced him to Harvey and we organized to go get a group picture done. Paul Fennell agreed to shoot the picture for us. So we all went over to the purchase area to wait for Harvey to complete the transaction. I then opened the case, took out the fiddle, tuned it a bit, rosined the bow, and was getting ready to play a tune during our photo op. Right about then, Knick McKay came up with his mom and told us that he was the one who was supposed to have played during the mixer. He also told us how much he had wanted his mom to win the bid on the fiddle and that he really, really liked it.

I handed Knick the fiddle and asked him to play for us. Well, play he did and it was such a joy to listen to him and watch his face. He played very well, and I just kept thinking to myself that this boy should be the one to take home the fiddle.

Harvey was standing right behind Knick while he played, and he felt a surge of energy coming from Knick. We made eye contact and Harvey made an unspoken query. I smiled and nodded, "yes!"

When Knick finished playing Harvey asked him if liked the fiddle. Knick replied, "I love it!"

Harvey then told him it was his to have. Knick couldn't believe it and it took a bit of convincing that Harvey really meant it and that the fiddle would be going home with him.

Knick's reaction was obvious here, and Harvey's joy is also apparent in this photo.

It was truly a special moment, and one that I am so glad to have had a part in.

Here's the group photo. L to R: yours truly, Bernie Hrytzak, Knick McKay, Harvey Fein.

More information on this special moment will be in the next issue of American Woodturner.


Dennis Laidler said...

What a wonderful story about Knick and the fiddle. It bought a tear to my eye!

Andi Wolfe said...

Hey Dennis - you're not the only one. Gorst was watching the story in person and he had tears rolling down his face.

donnaturns said...

What a wonderful story! I didn't know about that one. Thanks for sharing it.