Yamaha Donates Instruments to Western Iowa Tech’s Band Instrument Repair Program

Mike Lawson • News • December 13, 2017

Share This:

Yamaha has donated a large number of band and orchestral instruments that had been damaged in shipping to help train the next generation of band instrument repair (BIR) technicians at Western Iowa Tech Community College (WITCC) in Sioux City, Iowa.

Over the past several years, Yamaha has sent scores of instruments to the three schools in the country that offer BIR programs, and remains the biggest donator to provide students with complete instruments.

“Yamaha is dedicated to furthering music education not just for students in technique and theory, but in all areas, including instrument repair,” said Mark Sorlie, the national warranty manager for the Band and Orchestral divisions of Yamaha Corporation of America. “Rather than scrapping the instruments, our company has elected to further the education of those dedicated to restoring them to perfect shape.”

Sorlie, who has been repairing musical instruments since 1979, joined Yamaha 10 years ago.

“A number of us at Yamaha periodically go to these schools to teach and the instructors we worked with were always looking for instruments to provide hands-on experience for the students,” he says. “About six or seven years ago, I asked if Yamaha could donate the instruments they couldn’t sell to the schools. The benefit is two-fold: We want repair people to have a positive opinion of the Yamaha brand and to ensure they are properly trained on how to repair our instruments.”

The BIR program at WITCC is the oldest of its kind in the country and focuses solely on the repair and restoration of woodwind and brass instruments. The shipment the school just received includes eight French horns, three tenor trombones, Xeno and Allegro trumpets, and other band instruments.

“Yamaha’s support for band instrument repair technicians is unrivaled among instrument manufacturers,” said Mark Schmedinghoff, instructor, Band Instrument Repair, Western Iowa Tech Community College. “The company’s investment of time and resources in the technicians of the future reflects a clear understanding of the role that technicians play in the current and future success of Yamaha. As the instructor of this program, I am very thankful to be associated with the international leader in wind instrument manufacturing, and I hope to be able to continue this partnership for many years to come.”

The Latest News and Gear in Your Inbox - Sign Up Today!