The World Peace Violin: A metaphor for diversity and inclusion
The World Peace Violin serves as a powerful metaphor for both the beauty and diversity of our planet and for the successful integration of its religions, cultures, and people. It is bringing peace to the world.
The World Peace Violin, blessed and sanctified by United Nations Messengers of Peace, Dr. Jane Goodall and Yo-Yo Ma, has been played at the United Nations, for the Nobel Peace Committee, and for world and spiritual leaders as well as countless millions worldwide. The violin is handcrafted from materials collected at sites around the world that have had or are currently experiencing significant conflict together with materials from many sacred and holy sites. The violin, just like the world, is a melting pot of materials brought together to create one sound, one voice. This sound is a voice for peace.
The McCollum Foundation
The McCollum Foundation was incorporated in 2011, and received 501(c)(3) charitable status in 2013. Its mission is to bring about social justice, planetary sustainability and world peace.
Those who serve at The McCollum Foundation are honored to be the stewards of the World Peace Violin. The Foundation sees the language of music as an organic way of bringing people together. Music, itself, is without bias and is inclusive of all. When the World Peace Violin plays, the vibration of the strings naturally generates a sense of community or “common unity” that creates the possibility of uniting those in its presence. Therefore, the World Peace Violin is causing one of the largest and most meaningful conversations for peace the world has ever experienced. Those who have seen this miracle instrument and those who have played it are immediately affected by its story and sound.
“It is I who was honoured, and moved beyond description, to ‘meet’ and hold and marvel at your violin. It defies logic. It is perfect. It was profoundly a spiritual experience to hold that beautiful and spiritual instrument.” ~ Jane Goodall
The Making of the World Peace Violin
In 2010, the Venerable Reverend Patrick McCollum embarked upon a task which would become the journey of his life that today is profoundly changing the world. He was called to this task by a small inner voice that told him he was to build a violin. Patrick, who was not a violinist, didn’t read music, and was not a professional woodworker, immediately thought he would go to the library and learn everything he could about how to create such an instrument. However, that still small voice said, “Learn nothing and rely only on divine guidance.”
Patrick listened and, in so doing, the creation of the World Peace Violin has been described as miraculous. Without training, an inexperienced and trusting Patrick handcrafted this violin relying solely on the great artificer of the universe.
There were many setbacks and dark days during this journey. Along the way, naysayers would tell him that he was using the wrong woods and that such a feat simply could not be accomplished by an untrained, unknowing hand. Once created, Patrick acknowledged that the first time he played it, it sounded horrible and, embarrassed by its sound, he would only play it out of earshot of anyone. He concluded that his creation was destined to become a mere wall hanging in his home. Yet, that still small voice persisted. Patrick was told to take the violin apart and was inspired to make changes to the instrument. So, with hammers and chisels, he took his creation apart several times over a period of two years, and when it finally came together, the sound was fairly good, yet still, it was not of masterpiece quality.
On one of Patrick’s trips to India, that small voice spoke again telling him to take the violin with him. He played it for several people while in India and though they were impressed with his handiwork, again, it was lacking in potential quality. Then occurred what most would determine to be a ridiculous and careless act. Patrick was instructed by the voice within, to place the violin in the waters of the Ganges River. People gasped and said it would be ruined, and begged him not to do it. Yet, Patrick, continuing to listen to guidance, placed the violin in the moving waters of the Ganges River as instructed. When he brought the violin home, it took two months for it to fully dry out. When it did, the true sound of this exquisite instrument had finally been found, a sound so beautiful and so powerful that it has since resonated in the hearts of millions and many have wept in its presence while hearing it play.
The Multi-Cultural Elements of the Violin
Much like the diverse peoples and cultures from around the world, the violin was built from diverse woods and materials collected from significant areas of world conflict, past and present, as well as from many holy sites. The first piece of wood that became the front of the violin was gifted to Patrick by African tribes that had been at war for centuries. Patrick was instrumental in having the parties sit down to talk and, with his help and guidance, a lasting peace was achieved. The highest gift that they could bestow upon him was a piece of wood that comes from what they believe to be a sacred tree. Patrick knew that he would have to do something special with this wood, yet, at the time, he knew nothing of where that journey would eventually lead him.
There are many other gifts and treasures incorporated into the violin. The back was created from sacred woods given to him by California-based Native American tribes. It includes an inlaid carving made from an Irish Willow tree that grew from a sacred well. The varnish is a mixture of ash from Hiroshima, shell fragments from the battle of Iwo Jima, sands from Israel collected from the baptismal site of Jesus, and ash from a white buffalo gifted to him by an Anaswabi Chief.
The inclusive process of building the violin became a magnificent metaphor for world peace because it can be likened to how the peace process itself is created. Building it was complicated and there were many failures along the way; it had to be put down for a while to rest, then picked up again and restarted. It had to be taken apart many times and honed and retooled before its true sound resonated from within. In the end, this multi-culturally created violin sounds with one voice, just like us.
The Official Violinist of the World Peace Violin
Today, this violin attracts musicians from around the world to experience its qualities. One musician in particular was drawn to its magic. In 2014, world-renowned violinist and peace and animal advocate, Scarlet Rivera, was introduced to Rev. McCollum. Upon hearing his story of how the instrument was created and the reasons for its existence, Ms. Rivera felt that she was destined to become a part of the story of this remarkable instrument. She first played it publicly in Tahoe at the World Peace Concert in September 2014. Not long afterwards, Rivera became the Official Violinist of the World Peace Violin. Presently, Ms. Rivera is the Director of the World Peace Violin Project for the McCollum Foundation.
Since first playing the violin publicly, Scarlet often travels with Patrick playing the WPV around the world. She composed a piece specifically for it called, “Journey to Peace.” It is now tradition for Patrick to take the violin with him wherever he travels whether or not it is played. According to Patrick, over the years since its creation, the violin has been blessed by, “the poor and homeless to dignitaries and kings,” and says, “This is the instrument of the world.” Scarlet states that, “As each person blesses the violin, the sound changes subtly.”
“From the moment the bow first kissed its strings, Rev. Patrick McCollum’s miracle violin resonated to an entirely different sphere of life. Without a doubt, it is not of this world, but here to help guide us home where we each long to be. It is said that a truly fine violin is destined to find its rightful owner, yet this one can never be owned, it can only be shared with all. For, how can any of us own eternity?” ~ Michael J Tamura, Author
How You Can Join in the Stewardship of the Violin
It is the intention of The McCollum Foundation to make a difference on planet earth. With this stewardship, comes great responsibility. With financial support and assistance, the vibration and the metaphor of the World Peace Violin will continue to be heard around the world.
We invite you to become part of our growing team of stewards of the World Peace Violin. Contributions can be accepted in one sum or divided into monthly, quarterly, or semi-annual amounts depending on your needs and desires.
Donations to the World Peace Violin Project are tax deductible and will be gratefully accepted through The McCollum Foundation. Major sponsorship is $30,000 to $1,000,000+ and will be recognized in all brochures, websites and promotional materials associated with the violin. These materials will go out to the masses and are specifically targeted to top government and religious leaders worldwide.
Another opportunity to financially support the World Peace Violin Project is to invite the violin to be played at private or public events both nationally and internationally. The fee would be based upon the nature of the individual event and where it is to be held. The McCollum Foundation also welcomes those individuals, corporations and organizations that are willing and able to create fundraisers that highlight the World Peace Violin. Consider the possibilities!
By becoming honored donors, major sponsors and by creating experiences such as these, we each become intimate players in creating the sacred world we envision. With your support, the sound for peace will be amplified and the joyous music emanating from this symbol will continue to play and create peace between and among all cultures and all people.
For sponsorship information, creating a social event or fundraiser, and to arrange for The McCollum Foundation to receive your gift, with deep gratitude, please contact:
Nell Rose Foreman
The McCollum Foundation