Much like a Stradivarius is to the violin world, a Heckel is considered one of the gold standards in bassoons.
So when Laine Bryce decided to sell her Heckel upon retirement after 26 years of playing the instrument, she was understandably feeling separation anxiety. "The day I took it to UPS, I got in the car and had to start crying," Bryce said.
Bryce had enjoyed a long career as a professional musician. She played bassoon and contrabassoon with the the Minnesota Orchestra, the Minnesota Opera, the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Delaware Symphony, and the Riverside Symphonia. For many years, she was also a member of the South Minneapolis Bassoon Quartet, and created numerous arrangements for the group.
Soon after she sold her bassoon in 2012, Bryce moved to a senior living community in Palo Alto to be near her son, a Stanford physician.
Then in 2014, Bryce learned the young graduate student who bought her Heckel -- Michael Severance -- had landed a gig with the San Francisco Opera Orchestra. She spotted the announcement on a bassoon listserv and promptly emailed Severance to offer her congratulations.