Yesterday, August 24, 2015, marked the first day of the AISD’s brand new instrument repair program. Open to high school students throughout the district, the class is currently held at Bowie High School, but will get a permanent home at the future bond-funded fine arts center when that facility is completed in 2018. AISD Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos stopped by Bowie on the first day to see the room and meet the instructor and first students.
“This is the first program of its kind in the entire country,” said Joe Strohl, the course instructor. “Novel is understating it. This is incredibly exciting.” Strohl is incredibly excited himself. A graduate of the University of North Texas, he has been doing instrument repair for nearly 20 years and is eager to share his skills with high school students.
The program has been made possible by a partnership with Music & Arts, the largest band and orchestra instrument retailer in the U.S. Music & Arts provided the funds to buy the equipment and last week sent an employee from its headquarters in Maryland to help set up the instrument repair room at Bowie High School.
The room is now full of specialized tools, including cleaning swabs and rods, pliers, tiny mirrors, precision screwdrivers, parts, pads, steel mandrels, special lighting that can go up into the instrument, and more. There is also large equipment like a dent machine, which removes dents from brass instruments and makes them look new, a combination lathe/milling machine and an ultrasonic cleaner, which enables cleaning instruments without hazardous chemicals.
The two-year hands-on course will give students the skills they need to immediately enter the instrument repair field after graduation. It’s a product of the AISD’s commitment to career and technical education and to enabling all students to excel at their career of choice.