SIOUX CENTER—The Violin House in Sioux Center has new house to call home.
Kirbee Nykamp of Sioux Center is the new owner of the business specializing in affordable, high-quality rentals of violins and violas of all sizes as well as string instrument repairs which Shari Boone of Sioux Center started in 1998.
Nykamp also has available for purchase new or used violins and violas as well as new cellos.
Nykamp officially moved the business to her home at 333 Sixth St. SE, Sioux Center, on Oct. 1. Nykamp’s husband, Nate, will lend a hand with the repair portion of the business.
Boone said the transition came about “pretty organically.”
She actually first met Nykamp many years ago when her Dordt University string pedagogy course class took an outing to Boone’s workshop.
“Kirbee struck me as a natural for this kind of work, and that has always stuck in my head,” Boone said.
While preparing for RAGBRAI, Boone also learned about Nate’s past experience of working with wood making it apparent to her that he would be a perfect fit for violin restoration work.
“The past couple of years, I have wondered who would continue the business I had started of serving the needs of stringed instrument players in this area and more recently I began thinking about having a little more flexibility in my own schedule,” she said. “The pieces and details all fell into place quite naturally.”
Boone began The Violin House out of a passion toward stringed instruments, and she wanted to help others in the area to find affordable quality instruments. This also led her to take courses in stringed instrument restoration at The Violin Craftsmanship Institute at UNH and with Hans Nebel at MCLA.
She saw that same passion in the Nykamps, and knows the business will be in good hands.
Kirbee’s love for stringed instruments, particularly the violin, began in her elementary school days. The home-schooled student, who grew up in rural Montana, knew of stringed instruments but had no access to play until her family moved to central Minnesota. There, as a 13-year-old, Nykamp picked up her first violin.
“Like most kids when you’ve wanted something for so long and had to build up that pent-up desire for it, I just poured myself into it,” she said. “I dove in head first.”
She played in a high school orchestra and earned a music scholarship at Dordt University, where the English major minored in performance and pedagogy as well as joined the Northwest Iowa Symphony Orchestra and began teaching violin lessons — both of which she’s continued to do living in Sioux Center since graduating in 2008.
“During my time at Dordt, I really fell in love with how this tiny area has such a passion for strings,” she said. “I felt, as a musician, how essential it is to have the string business here. It’s really an essential service. Without the people in the area doing this work, it would be so much harder to recruit students for the area orchestra programs if their parents had to go all the way to Sioux City for rentals or the repair work.”
The Violin House is just one area option helping make string rentals and sales affordable and convenient.
Nykamp has customers, families and program directors from Sioux Center, Rock Valley, Hull, Orange City, LeMars and several communities in between.
“I’ve really enjoyed time talking with area teachers and directors at schools about their needs,” she said. “My goal is to support those programs.”