Becky Chaffee is lead organizer for the "Swing for Joy" fund-raiser June 21, sponsored by Target Golf driving range and her small business, Violettes Violin Bags. Participants buy buckets of balls for entries into prize drawings; all proceeds go to Joy of Music School.
Why golf of all things?
Pam Robertson, who owns Target Golf with her husband Barry, is a special friend—we have done music, quilting, and even hiking together. She is generous and her backyard is a driving range, so it was a no-brainer. If you have ever just wanted to try hitting balls, this event is perfect: someone will be available to help and lend you some golf clubs.
Do you play golf?
No, I don't, but my son tried to teach me some years ago. He had a completely different personality with me on the golf course. Sweet and funny. It's amazing I didn't try harder to learn just to spend more of that kind of time together.
Are you close with the Joy of Music School folks?
I have always thought it would be fun to help at the JOMS, as I am the current past president of the Knoxville Music Study Club and I gave flute lessons in high school and college. Back then, I couldn't believe people would pay me to have so much fun. It was so rewarding. But I never have been involved with JOMS before this, because frankly, I can't keep in tune on my flute myself anymore, and there have only been so many hours to my day. I have been working at this music bag business for about two years, and I am the owner, designer, manufacturer, worker bee, quality control, publicity rep, salesperson, website CEO, supply orderer, shipper, photographer, social media person, and brochure maker. I believe JOMS is the perfect charity for my business.
What's the best prize you'll give away?
Four passes to Tennessee National Golf Course.
The best prize you don't have to be any good at golf to earn?
All of the prizes are from drawings—no skill needed—except for our "hit the ball into the tuba" game. There are many family prizes: tickets to Dollywood, Smoky Mountain Rafting, the Titanic museum, Smoky Mountain Opry, and coupons for several restaurants.
Will there be good golfers there?
I'm sure there will be. Mention all the golf passes that we have for prizes, and they all say "I'm there."
How will the funds be used?
JOMS provides free music lessons for about 200 children, and there is always a waiting list. Pam and Barry are offering all proceeds from the day, and we have the capacity for six $500 sponsorships. The money goes to musical instruments, instrument repairs, music, and supplies.
What's the most unusual bag you've sold so far?
I made a vegetarian-themed violin purse. The fabric had squares with pictures of different vegetables on each square, and the tuning pegs were three carrots and a rabbit. I think the end button was a mouse and the chin rest was a little toy bag of potatoes.
Any chance you'll ever be making Violettes golf bags?
One can never say never. I've had endless interesting requests.