Author @ Blaise Kielar

Blaise Kielar received Honorable Mention in the 2022 Alex Albright Creative Nonfiction Prize for an excerpt from his memoir in progress, "Be Heard: The Quiet Kid Who Started the World’s Loudest Violin Shop." He opened Chapel Hill’s first violin shop in 1978 and retired from a music retail career by transitioning Electric Violin Shop into the first worker-owned co-op music store in the United States. He plays jazz violin and clarinet in several bands and leads the Bulltown Strutters, Durham’s community New Orleans brass band.


I was nominated for a national award by Project Equity, an organization that helps businesses transition to employee ownership. Their first-ever EO Inspiration Award is for business owners who converted to worker co-ops prior to 2020. It felt strange to receive this honor, because eight years seems like a couple lifetimes ago. I did not […]

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Violin Shop: Behind the Velvet Counter

As the glass entry door closes, the noise of downtown fades. I clomp up time-worn wooden stairs to the new Hillmusic space in the heart of Chapel Hill. Franklin Street marks the northern boundary of the University of North Carolina campus, packed with stores, places to eat, and two movie theaters. Where it crosses Columbia […]

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Blaise Kielar gets a Pushcart Prize Nomination!

Every year, hundreds of small presses in the US and around the world nominate up to six published pieces for inclusion in the annual anthology, The Pushcart Prize: Best of the Small Presses. My essay “Violin Shop: Behind the Velvet Counter” was nominated by the North Carolina Literary Review To me, it is the […]

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Do It Yourself Miracle

Was it luck or skill? It was said that John, my stepson’s dad, could heal balky electronics just by laying on hands. When my 1963 MGB wouldn’t start, I rocked it back and forth to coax the starter to engage. But when our electric car charger started to shriek loud enough to be heard outside, […]

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