Bill Mason has been repairing string instruments for more than 35 years.
In 2004 he made the decision to leave his horticulture job at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden and begin a new career in Violin Making. He studied under Edward Campbell and Nelson Steley at the Chimneys Violin Shop. After completing 4 years of study, Bill returned to Virginia to open his own shop. Bill continues to expand his vast knowledge of string instruments through mentors and workshops.
Elaine Smith-Mason is the Owner/Manager of Wm Mason II Violin Shop. Following 25 years in Graphic Design, Elaine switched careers in 2008 when she and Bill opened Wm Mason II Violin Shop. She has a BFA in Sculpture with a Minor in Graphic Design.
Christina received a Masters degree in violin performance from the University of Maryland in 2009. She actively freelanced with various ensembles in the greater DC area and taught private lessons before joining the Wm Mason Violin shop. After apprenticing with Bill for several years, she now works on repairs, restorations, and set ups. She also builds violins and has tutored under Joe Thrift. When she’s not in the workshop, she performs with the Latin Grammy nominated tango group, the Pan American Symphony Orchestra.
Elyse Ridder received her bachelor's degree in music from University of Mary Washington in 2019. She is currently studying her master's degree in music librarianship at Catholic University. She has played violin since childhood and has performed with many local groups in the Fredericksburg/NOVA area. She started the apprenticeship program with Wm Mason Violin Shop in 2014, learning to build violins. You can find Elyse at the front desk with a smile on her face. She loves to help customers and assists Elaine with marketing and administrative duties.
Rob is a violinist and violist from Fredericksburg, Virginia. In 2019, he earned his BM in Violin Performance from West Virginia University and in 2021, he earned his MM in Viola Performance from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. In addition to working at the shop, Rob performs regularly with the Fredericksburg Symphony, is a conductor for the Ovation Youth Symphony, and teaches privately.
Angus, the cat, has been with Wm Mason Violin Shop from the early days of 2010. He prefers a more behind the scenes existence, coming out only occasionally to grace players and shed.
Nicolo Amati, Nic for short, joined the shop in 2016. He rose from the streets (Rt. 1 and Court House Rd.) and took over the shop very quickly, capturing the hearts of orchestra players near and far. Nic takes his ambassadorship seriously and will entertain all that care to spend time with him.