Published On: Thu, Aug 3rd, 2017

Violin shop owner donates expertise to Curaçao

musicSTROUDSBURG - While many Americans spent their Fourth of July weekends barbecuing or watching fireworks, Michael Montero spent his working nearly 2,000 miles from home.

Montero went to Curaçao to donate his expertise and perform much-needed repairs on instruments for dozens of young musicians in the island’s youth orchestra and for a school’s music program.

“You could really see he loved helping out and he loved music and understood what it means,” said Victor Sosa, director of the Curaçao Youth Orchestra. “It was a huge amount of work.”

A woman, who stopped by Montero’s shop in Stroudsburg while visiting family, had been living on the island and informed Montero just how difficult it was to repair and keep up maintenance of instruments on the island.

Montero brushed off the woman’s requests for months until she sent him a picture of a double bass with a broken neck and it changed everything.

“The first time she said it, I may have laughed a little too hard,” Montero explained. “But after seeing that, it was like how could you not? I mean if you have the means and can do it, it’s a no brainer.”

A nation of only 160,000 people and roughly one-seventh the size of Rhode Island, those who live there do so without a place to get instruments repaired on the island. The cost of shipping off the island, combined with the fragility of instruments means that sending them away for repairs was far from effective.

Sosa, who also directs the International School of Curaçao’s orchestra, had been searching for more than three years for someone who was willing to come repair instruments.

“It’s basically a volunteer job that they come here and help out the students and the kids. It’s a really big deal, it took me three years to try and find someone,” Sosa said. “I think he understood there was a need and no other way.”

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