There’s nothing that can be better for a kid, than to have great parents, good health, born talent and ambition. This is a story to warm one’s heart.

Though my Mom had spent many years and dollars hoping her son would one day play violin in Carnegie Hall, alas, she would never see the day. Raging hormones, testosterone, friends and sports would put a major dent in those ambitions as I reached my teens. So, I became a cop.

But all is not lost.

Fast forward some fifty-five years, to the fall of 2006. Knowing I had an interest with violin, good friends asked if I would be interested in meeting a 13 year-old girl and to listen to her play. “Oh… no,” I thought. “Not another rendition of Twinkle Twinkle.” But, I capitulated and agreed to a brief visit at our home.

Remember the name: Esther Muradov.

Weighing around 70 pounds, the diminutive child looked less than her years. She came with her mother, Pervin, a piano teacher and Russian immigrant who arrived in America with her husband in 1990. After polite introductions, our friends, my wife (Suzanne) and I settled in to listen. Pervin sat at the piano. Esther stood. I prepared for the worst.

Poised, confident, she held the instrument perfect. The bow touched the first string, and — shockingly — the hair rose on my arms. I gasped. She played the first movement from a Vieuxtemps concerto. Flawless. Dazzling. Amazing. When she struck the final note, everyone was applauding except me. My jaw had fallen to the floor. This was no easy piece for Jascha Heifetz, yet Esther Muradov.

Esther said she practiced four hours a day since the age of four. I asked about her dreams. She hoped to play, one day, in Carnegie Hall.

Meanwhile, she had just been qualified to participate in an international music competition in Ibla, Sicily. But her family is of modest means and didn’t have the money to travel.

There were other problems.

Esther had a mediocre violin, certainly unable to match the instrumental quality of her competitors.

An honor student with many awards in dance, music and science, Esther would have to attend public high school where her mother felt her talents and abilities would be thwarted.

Electro-charged by such a wondrous kid, Suzanne and I both felt the calling to try and help. First, I offered Esther an opportunity to play a few test notes on my own 18th century Italian-made violin which produces a tone equal to the many of the best instruments. “Which do you like to play better?” I asked. “Yours or mine?”

Bashful, she looked for approval to her mother. Then she said, “Well, yours.”

It’s okay, I have a spare. Consider it an unlimited loan.

Then we organized a special fund raising recital, to be held inside a gutted, double-wide trailer currently used as a sanctuary for the Unitarian Fellowship. Because the facility would only seat 110, we decided to charge $50 a ticket, hoping that some people of means and serious intentions might attend. Some said we’d be lucky to fill a few seats. But, with the help of a local newspaper article, it was a sell-out. Esther played several pieces to standing ovations. As host, I conducted a brief interview which demonstrated her articulate and humble nature.

This has to be logged as one of the great inadvertent successes of my life. Not only did Esther and her family raise the money to compete in Ibla, some people in the audience found her musicality and charm so endearing, she was invited to play in the private homes of wealthy benefactors. From there, she secured other admiring sponsors. Rotary Clubs also invited her to various luncheons where scholarship monies were awarded.

As a bonus, another recital attendee saw the spark of academic brilliance in Esther, and with special recommendations to follow, was encouraged to apply for scholarship to the Phillips Institute in Andover, Mass., one of the more prestigious private schools in America.

Today, Esther is a scholarly freshman at Andover.

The Ibla Competition? Naturally, Esther was among the top winners. As part of her award package, she was invited to play at Carnegie Hall in April of 2008, along with a handful of other winners. Her dream would come true after all.

It was an evening we could not miss. A half an hour before the recital was to begin, Suzanne and I managed to visited with Esther in the back hallways of the famed concert theater, as singers could be heard warming up in studio rooms nearby. Now fifteen, she looked beautiful and aglow in her Cinderella dress, though wrought with anxiety as the minutes passed. I spotted my violin behind her in the case, looked around furtively, and lifted it under my chin. Then the bow. From there, I played a few bars from Tchaikovsky’s Canzonetta…just to caress my treasured instrument of fifty-five years, and to wish it well in its prestigious debut.

Not long after, I sat in the audience and watched with pride, this young talent playing the Lalo concerto as the tones from my violin reached glorious heights. Never had it been played so beautifully.

To my mind, this is a story with a happy beginning, not an ending. Esther Muradov now has a first-rate violin, she has played in Carnegie Hall (I suspect not for the last time) and is attending a first-class private school on scholarship. She has inspired a handful of Brevard County music lovers to apply for a foundation for tax-free support of creative artists. She has captured the heart of many admirers who are standing in line to offer their assistance. There will be no limit to her future. All she has to do is, be Esther.

Meanwhile, her parents have much to beam about, having provided the inspiration, love, sacrifice and guidance while helping her to develop those natural talents. For more on Esther, visit her web site:


As for me? Suzanne and I bask in a great feeling of satisfaction knowing we may have helped to jump-start a promising and prosperous life ahead for this deserving young lady.

Besides, now I can truthfully say… “I played violin in Carnegie Hall.”

Mom would be proud.


  1. Mary L. Powell May 3, 2008 at 6:00 pm #

    As a mother – I can tell you that she is bursting with pride for the trust and generosity of a wonderful son. Bless you, my friend.

  2. Jack & Helene Stevens May 3, 2008 at 6:36 pm #

    mr. frank,

    more true and insiring stories like this.
    thanks for sharing.

  3. Lura Zerick May 3, 2008 at 7:21 pm #

    Marshall, what a beautiful true story! I can only imagine your joy at being a part of it. Regardless of what is going on in the world, music is the medicine that helps us to hear and see the beauty as we forget the sadness for awhile. I am proud of your generosity to help this young girl. What a tremendous difference you made in her life!

  4. Vickie Gangwish May 3, 2008 at 7:48 pm #

    Marshall, that is a such a heartfelt story. You and Suzanne have helped this child in so many ways. Your encouragement and thoughtfulness has shown the world all the positive things that can come if just one person takes a moment to help someone else accomplish their dream. Esther and her family must be on top of the world right now. Keep up the good work. I am sure your mother is looking down and giving her approval as well.

  5. jack maclean May 3, 2008 at 7:49 pm #

    A really good one Marshall thanks for sharing it.

  6. Bill Bell May 3, 2008 at 7:51 pm #

    Good Evening, Marshall,

  7. Bill Bell May 3, 2008 at 7:57 pm #

    Good Evening, Marshall,

    Please excuse my first reply that somehow got cut off before I started. You deserve major commendations, Marshall, for helping this young lady get started in a rewarding career – not just for her but for all those who will have a chance to hear her play the world over. It’s a beautiful story. I’m glad it’s true. And you told it very well.

    Regards, Bill

  8. Mona May 3, 2008 at 7:59 pm #

    Marshall, Congratulations on a success beyond compare. You are the best elf I know, living inside a “disguise” beyond compare. Rock on! Mona in Asheville

  9. larry lemelbaum May 3, 2008 at 8:02 pm #


  10. Kathleen Wattles May 3, 2008 at 8:04 pm #

    Marshall, How beautiful and happy–thank you.

  11. Ed Janofsky May 3, 2008 at 8:42 pm #

    Marshall You sure have come a long way. When I first met you all you did was fiddle around. Keep up the good work.

  12. Sharon ADIL May 3, 2008 at 10:12 pm #

    Wow Marshall, this one brought me to tears. What an amazing story. You really have a wonderful way of musically encouraging youngsters, no matter what the age. My 3 year old son Shane, asks daily to see the Beethoven movie you sent him. He also “conducts” songs,,,usually classical music, all the time. He tells me “mommy, do you hear the flute” (or whatever instrument may be playing) He already has a drum set and a guitar. Do you have another violin?

  13. Pat Wilson May 3, 2008 at 10:46 pm #

    We don’t hear enough of this kind of story. But–having heard you play makes me know that had you practiced 4 hours a day like she did, you would have been there before she was.

  14. Richard Plager May 3, 2008 at 10:59 pm #

    Ya-sha-ko-ach from Israel


  15. Pervin and Nick Muradov May 3, 2008 at 11:00 pm #


    Thanks for the heartfelt story. However, you did diminish your role in the whole story. The moment Esther met you and Suzanne turned her life around and paved the way to Ibla and then to Carnegie. Your mother’s spirit is so strong, that it brought Esther, you and your violin to Carnegie. Thanks for your talent to help people and making the world a better place.

  16. Ed Hensley May 3, 2008 at 11:19 pm #

    Thanks MF, for a welcome change of pace,
    from what’s wrong with the world to what’s
    still oh so right. Young talent such as
    Ms. Esther Muradov is indeed good to see.

    I will remember her name and the true tale
    of how an old cop & the cop’s wife helped
    this young lady in her quest for violin
    mastery. While many others indeed have also helped her, your loan of a violin to
    match her talent was a major morale boost.

    In hope of seeing her make your old violin sing true, I tred a youtube search for Ester Muradov, with negative returns. Of course Google has lots of returns on her name, but I found no video or audio yet available online.

    I will remember the name Ester Muradov and
    search youtube again, from time to time.

    Speaking of all of us taking a breather from
    what’s wrong with the world, I find music
    videos on youtube help me chill out often.

    Try it folks, with Blueberry Hill in France

  17. Leonard Brady May 4, 2008 at 12:42 am #

    Frank… You are a caring,giving, and wonderful man. This story makes me proud that I know you. Kept up helping others and you never know what other mountians you will climb!

  18. Frank May 4, 2008 at 5:50 am #

    Marshall, great story, I am proud to have you as a friend. Thanks for giving us such insight and for making this a better world.

  19. Wayne Clark May 4, 2008 at 8:25 am #

    That is a wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  20. phyllis May 4, 2008 at 9:20 am #

    my daughter’x piano teacher booked the Hall annually and i remember seeing my daughter at the piano about 40 years ago…what a thrill!

  21. Monique May 4, 2008 at 10:30 am #

    Dear Marshal

    Now \i know what my aunt Sue really saw in you, it is a heart that is as big as hers. Aunt Sue was always there for anyone who needed her and would give the shirt off her back if she had to. I have always known her to e this way so therfore you are the perfect match always looking out and wnating to be there for others.
    Love you both

    Truly Abgels of God sent here for a reason

    Hugs & Kisses
    Monique D’Alessio

  22. Dick Magaldi May 4, 2008 at 11:17 am #

    Marshall: Can’t tell you how much Nancy and I enjoyed reading about Esther and what you and Suzanne accomplished to make a youg violinist’s dream come true. So glad to have had the opportunity of knowing you in our former careers with Miami Dade and to see you excell in the writing profession. Best Dick & Nancy

  23. Jack Milavic May 4, 2008 at 12:24 pm #


    You have come a very long way from the days of being a skinny patrolman riding 673A.

    Jack Milavic

  24. Dale May 4, 2008 at 12:35 pm #

    Your writing has reached a new plateau of excellance. Your love of the arts jumps off the pages and inspires me to a greater appreciation of the best things in life.

  25. John & Lorna Wilson May 4, 2008 at 1:33 pm #

    What you have done and continue to do with your life, leaves a very special mark on the world. I’m proud to call you a friend!

  26. John Spiegel May 4, 2008 at 1:41 pm #

    Imagine the good that we would accomplish if each of us followed Marshall’s example. Identify a deserving but needy child with promise, support and encourage them but most of all let them know you truly care. Thank you, Marshall. May we all do the same for someone.

  27. Sharon May 4, 2008 at 2:32 pm #

    So uplifting that beautiful talent and generous hearts still thrive so strongly in our troubled world. Thank you for sharing and uplifting, and, even more, encouraging others to cultivate beauty, talent, and generosity.

  28. Grace Urrows May 4, 2008 at 3:53 pm #

    Would it be iconoclastic to say here “There’s more than one way to skin a cat”?How wonderful to to make a dream come true, especially when you are engaged in fueling another’s dream. I remember Esther’s playing in the double wide. Not a notable stage but an appreciative audience. We used to live 2 blocks from Carnegie but rarely got there. Too busy with careers. However as a young adult
    I went often to the Met before it moved to Lincoln Center. On the way home from whatever I would sometimes decide to take in an opera, buy a standing room only ticket to whatever was being presented, and sit on the stairs at the top of the balcony along with some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met.
    Being young and poor was o.k. when in the greatest city in the world.
    As for Esther and your violin: You cast your bread upon the waters, now wait and see

  29. Penny Olson May 4, 2008 at 7:07 pm #


    I find as I pass through life helping others is better than any drug on the market (and off). To be able to do something so spectacular for someone makes you both blessed and a blessing.

    You are awesome.


  30. Ernest R. Melby May 4, 2008 at 8:06 pm #

    What a wonderful story. If Esther evers plays in our city, Minneapolis, Minnesota, I will be there at the concert hall.
    Was the violin she played at Carngegie Hall the same violin you played at our house?
    Thanks for sharing Ester’s story now and in the past. Best of everything to you and Esther.

    Ernest Melby

  31. lacey frank May 4, 2008 at 8:27 pm #

    grandad…i read this and it brought tears to my eyes. i am so proud to call you and suzanne my family. you guys have inspired me in my life, even though it has taken this many years for me to finally see it. i am so very happy that you were able to impact this girl, and she was able to impact you. you and suzanne both have beautiful souls. im so proud. glad you got to fulfill your dream. I love you.

    always, Lacey

  32. Nancy May 4, 2008 at 9:34 pm #

    Marshall!! Such a deal! I am so happy that I found you and your website–Inspiration for the best of life–Thanks!! N.

  33. Ailish M. Nic Phaidin May 5, 2008 at 6:52 am #

    Marshall and Suzanne – You’re right – absolutely right – you and Suzanne were instrumental in bringing Esther to my attention and my huge admiration. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get to Carnegie for her wonderful debut; but I knew I could rely on both of you to lead the great cheer. Thank you so much for sharing this and hope to see you both very soon – Esther too!!

  34. Edith A. Thomas May 5, 2008 at 10:54 am #

    Wonderful account of Esther’s story. Hopefully this is only the beginning of what you helped start.I look forward to sharing with you more “Carnegie” Nights.

  35. Eileen Adams May 5, 2008 at 1:34 pm #

    Esther’s performance was chilling. I am proud to have been seated at Carnegie that evening. She has the God given talent of an angel. Thanks for being there for her in the beginning…..

  36. Art & Connie Locke May 5, 2008 at 10:47 pm #

    We have always been so proud when law enforcement friends visit, to proudly exhibit your books and say, “He’s been our friend for years.” After reading your story about Esther, it makes us even prouder to know you and to know that all of us could make dreams come true, like you did, if we would only try. Congratulations for a job well done !

  37. Lysa May 6, 2008 at 9:26 am #

    What a sweet story of dreams coming true!

  38. Vince Cerullo May 7, 2008 at 7:42 am #

    Marshall: What can I say. A wonderful and inspiring story of how life should be lived.
    A great deed for Esther and for Suzanne and you. May she play many dates at Carnegie Hall and hopefully you will be able to enjoy some of them. A job well done.

    Vince Cerullo

  39. Jerry Reichardt May 7, 2008 at 10:52 am #

    Way to go, Marshall. This story is evidence that there is more to this life than war, hate, and politics.

  40. John King May 7, 2008 at 3:45 pm #

    What a great story of accomplishment, for you guys and this young lady Esther. The intrinsic rewards for you must be incredible. Beats politics hands down. I certainly hope she realizes her dreams completely. I agree with Spiegel in that we should all pay it forward in some fashion.

  41. Jay Huff May 7, 2008 at 9:32 pm #

    Marsh,This is a wonderful thing! I am not suprised, as I know what a super guy you are and what a fine lady Suzanne is. I know you are walking on air to know that you helped this young artist along her way. I wish I could have been with you at Carnagie Hall to hear her play. (You know much I how love violin music). It must have been a glorious night.

    And congratulations on having played at the Hall.


  42. Natasha May 8, 2008 at 10:28 am #

    I feel privileged to know Esther as the rising unique star, but I am also thankful that I had chance to meet with you and your wife Suzanne after the concert. I think it’s just as unique to have the ability to see and recognize the real beauty and also to be involved in the future of that. Thank you, your article made me cry 🙂

  43. JOHNNY MCKAY May 9, 2008 at 6:46 pm #


  44. Bob McGavock May 11, 2008 at 10:32 am #


  45. Tom May 11, 2008 at 3:28 pm #

    Better late than never. As I recall you play well and I think I will wait for you to go to New York……….I would even settle for somewhere close to me in Florida and then surprise you with a visit……..hey maybe even flowers!!!
    That is what they always give these famous folks you know.

  46. Dahris May 12, 2008 at 10:21 pm #

    Ahh, Marshall – I knew you have the soul of a poet and a gigantic heart. What a lovely story. It’s so good, I’m going to “borrow” it for The Infinite Writer. With your permission, of course?

  47. Robin Alexander May 17, 2008 at 1:53 pm #

    We are all blessed to be in the presence of this God-given talent; that night in Carnegie was a dream. But Esther’s success also rests on her parents’ devotion; her own discipline; and help from all of her friends and benefactors, including you and your wife. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to adding this beauty to the world. (I several times played Heart and Soul with Esther on the piano – so many years from now I can say “I have played with the great Muradov.” Yes?)

  48. Bobbie of Earline October 21, 2010 at 11:00 am #

    A beautiful double edged composition – my hat is off to you & Suzanne for the fine many things you do for humanity. As happy as I am you helped Esther play Carnegie and knowing she’ll be back; I’m happier you played your violin in Carnegie Hall. Your Mom finally saw and heard her dream come true; as did mine, Mr. Fiddler. Stay well my friend.