All home comforts for violin stars


Arrowtowners Don and Jan Spary can pack away their favourite classical CDs for a week – they’ll have the real deal playing live in their living room.

The couple is billeting a semi-finalist from the upcoming Michael Hill International Violin Competition at their home for the fifth time.

And it doesn’t just entail giving a musician a bed for seven nights – as well as being fed and watered, the talented youngsters are also chauffeured to rehearsals and events by their hosts.

“They tend to start playing the minute they’ve wolfed down their breakfast,” Jan says. “I’ve never known one yet who’s wanted to practise less than five hours a day.”

The event brings 18 of the world’s best young violinists to Queenstown for three days of competition, beginning next Thursday. During previous contests, the Sparys have entertained youngsters from Russia, Australia, Spain and Germany. This year they’ll welcome 24-year-old Sophie Rosa from England.

Local hosts never have to fret about any of their musician guests falling in the door at 4am after a night on the town.

“They’re very dedicated and because many come from the other side of the world, the only worry is making sure they have the right food,” Jan says.

“I always check this in advance because it would be a bit embarrassing if you have a nice Jewish boy coming and you’ve roasted some pork.”

She adds: “If you are interested in music, hosting one of the violinists is very, very rewarding.”


Mountain Scene has a double pass to give away to the Michael Hill Violin Competition. .