Video digital narrative and photos
Interviewer/director: J. Shack
Violin Maker and Former Saugatuck Resident
Shop outside door on
The door at
Up a long staircase to the shop were framed photos and artifacts reflecting the work and times of the violin maker within.† Just outside the upstairs door was a register book with names and addresses of visitors from far and wide.† Inside was bright with windows framing tops of trees and the smiling greeting of Marilyn Van Leer, Henningís long-time associate.† Henning himself was hard at work building a new violin and repairing an old one.† He seemed pleased to have the opportunity to share his personal and craft history.
Henning was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, in 1928.† When he was 14 in 1942, his father introduced him to a violin maker with the plan that Henning would serve a five year apprenticeship and then find employment in this craft.† Henning trusted that his father recognized his sonís attributes as a good match for this occupation, but it was possibly also a safe situation for an adolescent to be during the German occupation of that time.† Henning remembers having to build wood shaving tools in various sizes during this time from scrap metals, tools that he uses to this day.
After his apprenticeship ended in 1948 along
with the war and occupation, he decided not to pursue work in Europe but
instead he immigrated to the USA and eventually a position in Chicagoís Lyon
Healy Music Corporation doing violin building and repair.† Over the years he worked his way up into
management.† After the WWII, Lyon Healy
had the only major harp construction business and Henning developed a harp
maintenance workshop for harpists to learn to service their own instruments.
Interest in this idea spread quickly and took him to
many parts of the
When Lyon Healyís was purchased by CBS, Henning
became disillusioned and parted to practice his trade independently with
Marilynís help.† After setting up a shop
He opened a violin repair shop in Saugatuck on
photo notes: Henning Christiansen and Marilyn Van
(Note: Mr. Christiansen died Wednesday June 30, 2010. To see his obituary go HERE)