Violin recital raises funds for rising star

KALIHIWAI — The Ruddell home in Kalihiwai was generously put to use on Saturday, May 12, as the venue for a fund-raising violin concert given by the internationally acclaimed Elizabeth Pitcairn.

Pitcairn performs in partnership with the famous Red Mendelssohn Violin, a Stradivarius 1720. It was purchased for her as a gift from her grandfather in 1990 at an auction at Christie’s London. It is this auction which is said to have inspired the movie The Red Violin, which won the Academy Award for best musical score in 1999.

More than 200 guests packed the grass, lanai, and family room of the “Secret Garden,” as the Ruddell home is called, to hear Pitcairn perform five pieces by Kreisler, Lalo and Sarasate, on the Red Violin. Accompanied by the very talented Rose Alfiler on piano, Pitcairn brought the audience out of their lawn chairs to their feet. Her performance was followed by the guest of honor, 17-year-old Kimberly McDonough, a junior at Island School. McDonough played Allegro from Bach Sonata No. 2 in a minor, and The Swan, by Camille Saint-Saëns.

After McDonough finished and the audience applauded, Pitcairn offered her the chance to play her piece again on the famed instrument. It was a dramatic moment for everyone when Kimberly was handed the Red Violin and began to play.

The inspiration for this event was the chance for McDonough to attend the prestigious summer music camp in the Andirondack Mountains of New York, the Luzerne Music Center. Founded in 1980, the camp accepts 200 students aged 11-18 each summer for two one-month sessions. They study all instruments, including strings, winds, brass, percussion and piano. They also attend concerts by the Philadelphia Orchestra and have the opportunity to make valuable steps forward in their music careers.

McDonough was described by Pitcairn as a talent ranking among the best young musicians she has heard around the world. In addition to her rigorous academic, extracurricular and community service schedule as a college-bound junior, Kim spends many hours each week practicing the violin under the tutelage of her teacher, Helen Sina, with whom she has studied for the last three years.

She most recently played in the orchestra for the Kaua‘i Performing Arts Center production of My Fair Lady. Last fall, she toured with the Island School Drama Troupe as an actor and musician at the O‘ahu Fringe Festival. She has also performed with the Island School Alaka’i Chorus since her freshman year, playing violin and singing, and has twice been awarded the Island School Chorus Director’s Award.

At the close of Saturday’s event, Steven Ruddell announced that enough money was raised through donations made that afternoon to fund Kimberly’s airfare and tuition for Luzerne Music Center.

“I still have chicken skin when I think about this, said Kim’s mother, Sharon McDonough. “The universe must really want Kim to go to New York.”

Funds are still needed for extra courses Kim will need including composition, conducting and jazz ensemble, as well as airport transfer fees and money she may need for instrument repair, bow rehairs, strings, sheet music and other incidentals.

Friends and supporters are encouraged to make donations to the Kim McDonough scholarship fund by sending a check payable to Ken McPartiin, Director, Luzerne Music Center, PO Box 39, Lake Luzerne, NY, 12846, with “Kim McDonough Scholarship Fund” in the note section. To donate online, visit and click on “support.” Any additional funds raised will be used to provide scholarships for other worthy Kaua’i music students to attend the Luzerne Summer Program.

In New York, McDonough will study not only with Elizabeth Pitcairn, the President and Artistic Director of the camp, but also with some of the best musicians in the country.

“I am so grateful to all of these people for being so generous. I never imagined something like this could happen,” said Kimberly. “The violin will always be a part of my life,” she added.

For more information about Elizabeth Pitcairn and the Red Violin, visit


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