Unused instruments find way to library

       The Old Colorado City Library's “Instruments in the Attic” Feb. 11 was tailor-made for people like Richard and Jewel Irwin. They really had kept Richard's three- quarters violin - given to him by his teacher in 1941 - in their attic after moving to the area from Pittsburgh in 1963.
       Not sure how good a shape it was in, they brought the violin to the library's event to get a free examination. Now they know it's still playable, Richard reported. The only problem seems to be with the case, which has been partially chewed through at the neck end. “Squirrels or mice or something got to it,” Jewel said.
       For a little over an hour, the library saw a steady stream of people like the Irwins, carrying instruments of varying ages and degrees of wear, to be scrutinized by repair technicians from two local music shops (Meeker Music and the Music Exchange) who were sitting at tables in the library's main room.
       Dustie Flynn, the library branch assistant who dreamed up “Attic,” said afterward that there were five flutes, five clarinets, five saxophones, five mandolins, four violins, two banjos, one dulcimer and one sousaphone, plus a pre-donated clarinet.
       “We had a successful program,” Flynn said. “Many people were calling and coming in even after it was over.”
       The sousaphone owner, Erica Reich, had played it in college, but the slightly tarnished unit has mostly been collecting dust for the past 15 years. Erica learned from Akio Lis of Meeker's that it needs a repair on the neck. The bad news is the cost is likely to exceed - at least slightly - the $100 she originally paid for the instrument (used) in Bisbee, Ariz. The good news is that a new sousaphone could cost as much as $5,000.
       Interested in playing again, Erica and her husband, Rich, also took advantage of Flynn's having invited representatives from local community bands - Colorado Springs Concert Band, New Horizons Band and the Pikes Peak Flute Choir. Ed Nuccio, a New Horizons director, was one of those who talked to the couple for a while (although he noted afterward that Erica couldn't play for New Horizons - members need to be at least 40 years old and she's too young).
       Nuccio spoke highly of the event as a whole. “It's a great chance for people to find out about these things,” he said.
       For Mary and Richard Owens, the basement of their house had been the storage location, at least in recent years, for an old soprano saxophone. Lis told them it just needs one little post to be playable again. But they don't expect to take up that instrument, Richard explained. Between them, they already play French horn, trombone and guitar. The sax is a memento of Richard's father, who played it in college in the early 1920s. The instrument is unique in and of itself. “It has unusual key arrangements that they don't do anymore,” Richard said.
       Flynn, who has played or sung in bands and choirs since she was a schoolgirl, said she organized the event in hopes of stimulating the use of more musical instruments in the region.

Westside Pioneer article