Resourceful. That’s what Rebecca Lee’s mom always said she was. She usually said it after she had whipped up some tasty meal without a recipe from whatever was in the house, but it shows itself in other ways too. If you went to a Philharmonic rehearsal a few years ago you might see friends wearing Rebecca’s felted hats made free-hand from woolen sweaters purchased from ARC. Many a Philharmonic baby has worn a hat or booties made in the same way. Additionally, she had made leather purses and wallets working with scrap materials from the west side leather store.
All this sounds like what you might call “crafty,” but a few years ago she started turning her attention to real problem solving. The problems that have caught her attention have to do with the physical pains of everyday life. No surprise that everyday day life for a violinist has to do with playing the violin. Did you know that violinists and violists live with a fair amount of chronic soreness from holding their violins up that way? You might guess that, right? The casts of head, neck, and shoulders that Rebecca made when she was trying to design a new shoulder and chin rest which would alleviate some of that pain still hang in her house, now in a decorative, comic sort of way. There are also lots of camera accessory attachment parts in drawers, which were part of that not-yet-successful endeavor.
In contrast, it looks like her resourceful problem-solving may pay off in another endeavor. You may have noticed that Rebecca often sits on a different chair than others in the orchestra, and perhaps moves a bit more than most. Though developed especially for alleviating the pain in back and shoulders that goes with sitting in orchestra, the chair she developed has just gone into production, and will be useful for all those who sit, especially children and computer users. It started with the frustration of an exercise ball rolling around the house, looking silly in those garish colors, and losing air from a mysterious elusive hole. There must be a better way to engage your muscles and be able to move while being seated, without all the silliness of sitting on a ball, she thought. It started with plumbing fittings and an old, greasy Chevy ball joint. With the helpful input of friends, it has developed into an ergonomic chair that her physiotherapist says is the best thing to come on the market in thirty years. The patent is pending and manufacturing has begun.
Cobbling together many part-time musical jobs (teacher, Philharmonic musician, chamber musician, and gigger) to make a living has its benefits, one of which is having the time to creatively solve problems and invent. In addition to this list of jobs, she now adds businesswoman. She has found that it takes a fair amount of time to get a business up and running, but is excited by the satisfaction of having people enjoy sitting on her chairs. The chair has been christened Lyrical and can be found at her website. For those who would like to try sitting in such a chair, stop by the Philharmonic office or be on the lookout for the chair in the lobby of the Pikes Peak Center at the Philharmonic concerts in May.