Susan Ellen Violin
Thurmond made the Susan Ellen Violin in 1995, and dedicated it to his sister, Susan Ellen Knight Helms of North Palm Beach, Florida. For almost 40 years Susan has been the music teacher at the Lake Park Elementary School in south Florida.
The violin was purchased by Lisa Utzinger, a 2002 graduate of Mount Holyoke College. Lisa majored in music and psychology and studied violin with Linda Laderach at MHC and Joel Pitchon at Smith College. Soon after graduating from Mount Holyoke, Lisa landed a job at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston as Assistant Director of Board Relations.
In 2005, Lisa left NEC to work at From the Top, the non-profit organization best known for its hit NPR radio showcase featuring kids playing classical music. She was hired to create and manage From the Top’s new scholarship program. Lisa has been a violinist with the Boston Civic Symphony, under the baton of Max Hobart, and is a member of its Board of Directors. Lisa performs on the “Susan Ellen” violin handcrafted by Thurmond Knight of Glover, VT.