I was born in Vallejo, California in 1965 and moved to Calistoga, California when I was 5 years old. My family had enough to keep a roof over our heads and eat well with occasional outings, but if I wanted my own bicycle, I had to build it from a box of parts my father handed to me. After assembling the bicycle by myself, my father gave to me the first box of tools I ever owned.
When I was 11, my best friend convinced me to take band. My first choice was drums, but since the beginning band couldn’t practically be made up of 25 drummers, I had to go with my second choice, the clarinet. I advanced quickly and my parents purchased a used wood clarinet for me, an Evette Master Model. I had found a new interest in music.
Throughout my grade school years, I added saxophone and auto repair to my repertoire, doing good work with both. I restored a 1952 Ford Pickup, which became my first vehicle.
I was accepted to 4 Northern California Honor Bands and 3 All State Honor Bands when I was in high school. The first time I melded my mechanical and musical interests together was when I purchased a 1972 Buick Skylark from my high school band director.
I spent the next 3 years at Santa Rosa Junior College studying music and the following 3 years studying auto mechanics. I became a certified mechanic, but I yearned to be playing music. In 1994, I completed my B.A. in jazz studies concentration from Sonoma State University. Three months later, I was sailing the high seas playing saxophone for Princess Cruise Lines and touring the Mexican Riviera. In February of 1995, I was hired to tour with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra under the direction of Buddy Morrow. The TDO was the best musical experience of my life. I stayed out with them for 2 ½ years, touring parts of the world and almost every state in the USA. In 1997, I was ready to stay home, but I didn’t know what I would do for work. A new door was about to open. I was hired as an apprentice at Stanroy Music Center in Santa Rosa, California repairing musical instruments. The merging of my skills was finally realized. Tim Ellis began my training and a year later, Gary Meierhenry took over.
Eight years and over 2000 repairs later, I find myself repairing instruments in my own shop, Anthony’s Woodwind Corner in San Rafael, California.It has been many years from my humble beginnings to running my own repair shop. I am very thankful for the support of my parents and the clarinet that served me for 20 years. I still own that clarinet, something I refuse to part with. I still own that first toolbox from my father when I was 7 years old. It holds more for me than just tools.
To see one of the best and most informative sites dedicated to the saxophone and more, click on this link. Alastair has a great deal of information for beginners and advanced students as well as those who simply want to know more about the saxophone. Highly recommended.
A great music store in Santa Rosa since 1947, Stanroy Music Center is where I learned to repair instruments. Visit them today!