A 'Demigod' At The Music Festival Tops Jeter, Yanks

Published 5:10 pm Thursday, January 6, 2011

“Do you know who you're waiting for? Have they told you who our teacher is?”

Those two questions were asked of me some years ago as I waited, with student musicians being coached during the Hampden-Sydney Music Festival, for violinist Eugene Drucker.

“He's a demigod,” replied the 24-year old, one of 32 students enrolled in the two-week-long musicians' coaching program that has been such a part of the music festival.

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I would spend hours that week listening to Mr. Drucker coach, rehearse and perform. And privileged to do so. Mr. Drucker is first violinist for the Emerson String Quartet, which has won nearly twice as many Grammy Awards (nine) as New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter has gold gloves (five) or World Series titles (also five).

Mr. Drucker exemplifies the quality of musicianship and performance that the Hampden-Sydney Music Festival has attracted across its 29 years.

In 2007, Harper Collins published The Violin Maker, a 215-page hardback which details the commissioning of a violin to be made for, yes, Eugene Drucker, a musician who more than once brought a level of chamber music performance to the campus of Hampden-Sydney College, the Farmville community and Prince Edward County which has consistently brought people to their feet in wondrous rapture across the globe. And he was there on campus for a week, also teaching others.

We, and Hampden-Sydney College, must not let the Hampden-Sydney Music Festival go quietly into the silent night. One should not lightly let go of such a treasure.