By day, Dan Breitenstein is a program manager for the Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, helping make sure the fuel our soldiers use is ready to go.
But take a peek inside his basement workshop, and you'll find the man behind the music.
For the past seven years, Breitenstein has been making violins.
"All the skills I learned as a machinist, I've taken with me," says Breitenstein.
It all started with restoring a family heirloom.
"More than 40 years ago, my mother in law brought me a violin and asked me ‘can you restore it,'" Breitenstein recalls. "It was her grandfather's. I didn't know how to restore, so I just hung onto it, and I hung onto it. Seven years ago, I got it out and ‘I'm going to learn how to do this and I'm going to tackle this job.'"
And it grew into a passion.
"More than anything, I learned patience," says Breitenstein. "You have to be very patient when dealing with something like a violin."
And even more patient for Breitenstein: a man who says he's no performer.
"I'm terrible," he exclaims. "I'll openly admit it. I can only hit a few notes."
Over time, Breitenstein says it's the new tricks and tips he picks up that brings the violin to life.
"They speak louder," he adds. "They speak more clearly."
And when it came time for a professional to play it, it's a whole new world.
"It almost brought tears to my eyes - it's an emotional thing," he says. "You put a lot of yourself into that."
Time and energy that makes this violin maker stand out from the rest.
"I'm sure I'm the only one on the Rock Island Arsenal. If there's another one, we haven't run into each other yet"
Just to give you an idea, one of Breitenstein's violins is for sale at West Music for $3,000.
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