"A Real Violinist" at RI's Green International Airport
by Don Drake, Connelly Law Offices, Ltd.
On Sunday, June 26, we published a blog about the faux violin virtuosos perpetrating their swindle among the shoppers and vacationers of southern New England. Today, I received a wonderfully complimentary email from Donita Naylor, a staff writer from the Providence Journal, who coincidently just published a story that appeared in the June 28 edition of the online edition of the Journal entitled "Airport volunteer talent is first hint of Rhode Island's unexpected charms." In that story, Ms. Naylor wrote about a local violinist named Edgar Edwards, who is the real thing and provides hours of enjoyment to travelers at Rhode Island's TF Green International Airport, but she had one critique of our blog.
"It was Ms. Naylor's concern, and rightfully so, that some travelers at the airport could have read our blog and might be rude to Mr. Edwards," said certified elder law Attorney RJ Connelly III. "We certainly don't want that to happen, and it is indeed sad that these buskers we wrote about create doubt in the minds of people when those like Mr. Edwards give of themselves to the community. We want to set the record straight."
Ms. Naylor's article highlighted the airport's volunteer programs, which utilize community volunteers to provide travelers with positive experiences when they are arriving or departing the state. This particular initiative, the PVD Music Volunteers program, has eight volunteers and according to the story, has room for more. But let's focus on Mr. Edwards and what he brings to that program.
"The best part of the music program was the discovery of Mr. Edwards, who I found returning from a recent trip," stated Ms. Naylor. "He is an 87-year-old retired East Greenwich school system music teacher who played for decades with the Rhode Island Philharmonic." According to Mr. Edward's biography on LinkedIn, he spent over thirty-six years with the Rhode Island Philharmonic as a violinist and twenty-four years as a music teacher in East Greenwich. Quite an impressive resume!
"When I was waiting for my bags after returning from Chicago, I thought it had to be a recording of a violin quartet," Ms. Naylor told us. "He can make one violin sound like several. And his violin, handmade from a design by a famous-to-violinists virtuoso, is one he said he had to buy after he tried it out. It has an especially bright voice and a big full sound. He's totally legit, and I would hate for people to start heckling him because of the [Massachusetts] buskers."
Mr. Edwards doesn't have a sign and although appreciative travelers drop bills in his open violin case, he isn't doing it for the money as those who do so need to go out of their way to accomplish this deed.
"If he sees uniforms on the escalator/stairs, he'll transition to the Armed Forces Medley, which often results in a military person coming to see, then standing with hand over heart, then giving him a big hug or a handshake and thanking him," said Ms. Naylor. "He sounds like a quartet because he can play more than one note at a time."
"It's extremely important that you read Ms. Naylor's story about this remarkable man and what he means to the PVD Volunteers program and the travelers arriving here in the Ocean State and to our citizens as well," said Attorney Connelly. "We have many treasures in our state and Mr. Edwards is without a doubt one of them."