It’s funny how major things in one’s life can come from seemingly inconsequential incidents. A slight deviation in your life’s course, for the silliest of reasons, can have everything to do with what happens years later.
One of my best friends in grade school was a guy named Scott Rielly. His beautiful oIder sister, Leslie, who played flute, decided we should form a woodwind quintet. I had a huge crush on Leslie and would have done just about anything she asked. So, in 1967, Scott and I went to summer school for band. He started playing bassoon and I started oboe. I ended up playing oboe through school.
During high school I met a violin maker at a new religious congregation when my family moved to a different part of Chicago in 1968. His name was Manfred Reinl and he worked for William Lewis & Sons. We played music together in a small ensemble at several meetings each week. As a violin maker Manfred had a problem getting instrument making and repair tools in Chicago. There was a certain kind of cello bass bar clamp he needed but couldn’t find. Manfred had a few of the clamps from when he went to violin making school in Mittenwald, Germany but there was nowhere to buy them here and he needed more. He knew my brother and I attended a famous engineering prep school, Lane Technical High School, and therefore had access to all the equipment and tools needed to make the clamps.