They played the violin

For Sally Jane Denk Hoey it was a long-awaited labor of love. Hoey, a singer who was once billed as the Bard of the Brandywine, is a past president of the Sanderson Museum in Chadds Ford and three years ago she decided that the violins Chris Sanderson once played had to be heard again.

“This has been a long-time dream of mine,” Hoey said. “The violins were just sitting flat on a shelf where it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer. These were violins that had been heard by thousands of people when Chris played, but they’ve been mute for more than 50 years and need to be heard. They’re no good unless people can hear them.”

First, though, they had to be conserved and brought back to playing condition. That done, Hoey curated a one-night exhibition at the museum Wednesday night.

The musician was Carol Armstrong Lovelace, a Pocopson Township native and product of the Unionville-Chadds Ford School system. She studied at Julliard and in Japan, has performed worldwide and teaches music.

There are a total of nine violins in the Sanderson collection, three of which were restored to concert condition.

Sanderson, a collector of a variety of historic memorabilia, was born in 1882 and lived until 1966. He and his mother lived in the Ring House, the home George Washington used as his headquarters the night before the 1777 Battle of Brandywine, and later moved to the small house on N. Creek Road that is now the Sanderson Museum.

He began studying violin in 1892, conducted The Old Fiddler’s Picnic in the 1920s and founded the Pocopson Valley Boys in the 1930s.

For more information on Sanderson or the museum, go to, phone 610-388-6545 or email museum curator Chuck Ulmann at




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About Rich Schwartzman

Rich Schwartzman has been reporting on events in the greater Chadds Ford area since September 2001 when he became the founding editor of The Chadds Ford Post. In April 2009 he became managing editor of ChaddsFordLive. He is also an award-winning photographer.



One Response to “They played the violin”

  1. Sally Hoey says:

    Thanks you Rich. Great article! And thanks for covering 2 events in one night.
    Carole Armstrong Lovelace was awesome, and what a personality!
    It was heart warming hearing the C.F. Schuster and the Bull violin played again after over 50 years.
    This exhibit is now a permanent exhibit at the Sanderson. Wednesday was the private opening for members only.
    And May 12 is the lecture / demonstration with all the violins at the Chadds Ford Historical Society Barn featuring luthier Teal Wintsch.

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