Restoring Oconomowoc's Orchestral History
The Chatfield instruments were donated to the Oconomowoc Area School District by Frank Chatfield in 1937. They were comprised of two violins, one viola and one cello. Frank Chatfield, a long-time city planner for Oconomowoc, took up the hobby of building and repairing stringed instruments, most notably, violins, violas and cellos.
He harvested wood for his instruments from trees in the Lac La Belle, WI area, and some of that wood, which still exists, will be used to repair the instruments. The donated instruments were used by students for several decades until they fell in to disrepair and were eventually put in storage.
In 2015 OHS Principal Joseph Moylan had a decision to make, whether to dispose of the instruments or preserve them. He chose to save the instruments, but not just for museum status. After consulting renowned luthier, Scott Sleider of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, it was determined the instruments could be restored to playing condition.
The first instrument to be completed will be the cello in early 2018 with the others to follow shortly thereafter. The four instruments will be featured at a concert at the conclusion of OAC 10th anniversary season.
Nine stringed instruments were donated to the Oconomowoc Arts Center to be painted as art works that will be available through this auction site September 23 -October 23. If you would like to donate to the project other than bid on the art pieces, please send a tax deductible donation to OAC, 641 East Forest Street, Oconomowoc, WI 53066 or call the box office at 262.560.3172.
Thank you for your support!