Carson Valley luthier, Nelle O'Neill, was awarded a gold medal for one of her violas at the recent convention and competition of the Violin Makers Association of Arizona International in Tucson.
She is the first woman maker to receive this honor in the 54-year history of the association.
"I was overjoyed of course," the 78-year-old said. "It's the only gold I've ever won. I've won silvers, but never a gold."
Her award-winning entry was commissioned for Mckenna Oh, principal violist of the Reno Philharmonic Youth Symphony Orchestra.
Made from Oregon fig leaf maple and Colorado spruce, Nelle spent 200 hours …