John Weiland is very serious about his bass instrument. Don’t tell his wife but he has a love affair with his James Cole bass from Manchester, England that was made in 1856. He engineered a three way trade that included international bass soloist Gary Karr to get his Cole, one of just two in the United States.
The bass was built for the Halle Orchestra in Manchester and premiered in 1857. From there the instrument went to the British Army and was used during World War I. It was found in a church balcony in the 1970’s by double bass soloist Bronwen Naish of Wales, a friend of Gary Karr’s. What did Weiland give up for this gem? He traded a pear-shaped bass from Italy that was made in the 1500’s. The Cole bass is so valuable it can’t fly anymore due to concerns about TSA screening.
A native of Philadelphia, Weiland met his wife, Jess, here in Jacksonville. She met him after a concert that featured Mozart and she went up to him saying ‘…your part in Mozart must have been really boring…’ Today Jess and John Weiland have a very lively addition to the family, Jack. About a year old, Jack or Happy Jack as he is nicknamed, has shown that he has perfect pitch. When dad plays a note on the bass, Happy Jack responds in full voice – a future musician for sure.