The Sierra Music Festival opens this week at Cerro Coso College, with plenty of strings attached.
Actually, there are just four strings, but they are attached to a violin painted by Lady Jill Mueller and signed by Dave and Roma McCoy.
The instrument will be an item in Chamber Music Unbound’s Fifth Annual Auction after the opening Mammoth Lakes Music Festival concert at the college, with opening bids beginning at $1,000.
It is not the first time the chamber group has auctioned a violin. Impresario Brian Schuldt said previous auctions of violins have raised an average $1,500 a piece over the years.
All the auction items can also be viewed, and bids began to be received July 2 at www.ChamberMusicUnbound.org .
Auction proceeds support the Music Festival and the concurrent Sierra Academy of Music.
This year’s unique piece depicts the view of Minaret Vista on the face, and the lake basin of Rock Creek Canyon on the back.
Mueller has been a professional artist for 34 years and has a large following in the Eastern Sierra.
She said moving to the mountains from Southern California in 1971 allowed her to explore the Sierra Nevada. In 1983, she moved from the California side of the border to the Nevada side to live in the rugged terrain there.
The instrument itself is not particularly noteworthy, said Schuldt, who characterized it as a “student” violin.
That’s hardly the point, though.
This is more of a display piece of art rather than a working instrument, and that piece of information is the last string attached.