Fancy Fiddles Auction Raises Thousands For Los Alamos Public Schools Orchestra Program

Forty-five musical instruments destined for the landfill found new life as art and raised thousands for Los Alamos Public Schools orchestra program Saturday at the Fancy Fiddle Auction in Fuller Lodge. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Ann McLaughlin, the artistic director of the Los Alamos Concert Association holds up a decorative violin for sale during Saturday’s live auction, while Auctioneer/Emcee Jeff Favorite urges on the crowd to bid higher. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Bidders check out the fiddles up for bid. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Staff Report
Forty-five fancifully decorated string instruments were auctioned at a special event Saturday in Fuller Lodge.
The Fancy Fiddle Auction was a benefit for the orchestra program in the Los Alamos Public Schools, and is the brainchild of a group of volunteers led by Los Alamos Concert Association Mucial Director Ann McLaughlin and artists who wanted to save the instruments from being destroyed. 
All the instruments were owned by the Los Alamos Public Schools and had been loaned or rented to students in decades past. They were in such poor condition that repairs would have been either impossible or far too costly. With a complete renovation of the Los Alamos High School music wing approaching, all the instruments needed to be cleared from the building. The plan was to send them to the local landfill. 
McLaughlin and LAHS orchestra teacher Michelle Rosette delivered the violins, violas, cellos and basses to Village Arts Framing where owner Ken Nebel distributed them to local artists. Those artists worked their magic and donated their work back to the project. 
The Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation hosted Saturday’s auction and place the proceeds in a fund that will be used to purchase much-needed equipment for the LAPS orchestra program.
More than 400 young musicians from elementary through high school participate in the string instruction the LAPS orchestra program provides. The list of needs for that program includes everything from a baby grand piano to sound and recording equipment to metronomes.
Local auctioneer Jeff Favorite was the emcee and The Bridge, a Los Alamos High School chamber ensemble, entertained at Saturday’s event.
The crowd listens to Los Alamos High School string quartet, The Bridge. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Los Alamos High School Orchestra Director Michelle Rossette was a major force in organizing the Fancy Fiddle Auction, which will benefit her program, as well as elementary and middle school orchestra programs. She poses with a cello from the auction. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
This musical take on ‘the old woman who lived in a shoe’ sold for $800 during the silent auction. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Joanna Gillespie, Pam Miller and Judy Bjarke-McKenzie give wristbands to prospective bidders. The LAPS Foundation will facilitate the distribution of the funds raised at the auction. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
Blue dragon violin. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/
This bass provoked lively bidding during the live auction. Photo by Bonnie J. Gordon/