Impromptu - May 2008
photo by Kirsten Beckerman
ONE NIGHT after a concert, BSO bass player Eric Stahl was loading his hefty instrument into his car—a
vintage Volkswagen Beetle. “I looked behind me and there were about 10 people gathered around,” he recalls. They
cheered and applauded when he easily managed to ease the instrument in. “It’s a really great bass car because
of the high roof,” Stahl says matter-of-factly. “Definitely the only car for me.”
Technically, it’s not the only car for him. Stahl drives his wife and two children in a 1996 Volkswagen Passat wagon.
But he also has eight antique Volkswagens—including four Bugs and a pick-up bus—stored in a garage behind his
home in Waverly.
Now in his 25th year with the BSO, Stahl says he loves greasy car work because “it’s such a huge contrast
to getting all dressed up for concerts with the tux and the tails.” He first started fixing up cars many years ago,
“after getting so mad at a lot of mechanics I had to deal with.” He bought a book on repair work and learned
the rest by trial and error.
Stahl’s other hobbies include assembling model airplanes, hiking, canoeing and camping with his family. He says
he enjoys physical activities because such a large component of his life—music—is so abstract. “You can’t
touch the music you make. You can’t sit back and look at it,” he explains. “Working with my hands makes
me feel a part of the real world.” — Virginia Hughes
Read more about Eric