Guy Remonko, head of percussion at Ohio University's School of
Music, is retiring this year, after 28 years of teaching. Some of
his students and fellow faculty wanted to get him something very
special, as a surprise. A couple of students who have seen some of
my snares, suggested they get me to build him one.
Because Guy is my drum teacher, even though he goes beyond his
normal teaching load to do so, and because he makes learning so easy
for me, and because he is such a freaking incredible player, I
considered it an honor to be asked.
They only guidelines I was given were the drum was to be maple and
have gold hardware. I'm still not sure if they just meant gold
colored hardware. :-) Guy already has a beautiful Yamaha Maple
Custom ply shell snare. He already has a thin shell Gretsch. And
he's not into metal. So I had to come up with something different.
I also knew he was always reminiscing about the old Leedy and Radio
King snares, which I believe were solid (correct me if I'm wrong).
I called Ryan Payne and told him the whole story. He said he had
beautiful birdseye shell waiting for a special project and mine
sounded special. :-)
I called Patrick at Adonis and got some of his solid brass lugs.
called Greg Nickel to order some gold piston strainers and he told
me he could have all my hardware plated by the guys who do his
strainers. I'm not supposed to refer anyone to him for this, guys.
So don't get me in trouble. :-) I only mention it to share what a
cool guy he is.
Originally I had only 5 weeks to do this project. The presentation
was pushed back 2 weeks, so I had some more time. As I started
receiving the components for the drum, and as I would finish each
stage of its crafting, I would really get psyched. I had times of
great joy, like seeing the edge finished. And there were times when
I felt a lump in my stomach so big, I though I was going to hurl,
like when I *thought* I had mis-drilled a hole. If you screw-up a
Keller shell, hey, no big deal. You fork over 35 bucks for a new
one and start over. This shell was a one-timer-- no reprieve for
brainfarts. So anyway, you guys can see the finished product.
We also got in a good practical joke while we were at it. At the
concert which was the originally scheduled time for the
presentation, we gave Guy a snare stand and a snare bag with his
name embroidered on it. They went through this whole speech about
his retirement and then brought out a gift box. You should have
seen his face when he pulled out the stand and bag. He kind of
looked out at the audience, puzzled, and actually said, "You can
never have enough stands.... and bags." It was great. His jazz
percussion ensemble behind him, all of whom were in on the gag, were
trying their hardest to keep from laughing.
So we let him stew on that for a couple weeks. Then this past
Saturday, at his final official performance/conducting, they did the
whole speech over again. This time they said something like,
"Remember that snare stand and snare bag we gave you a couple weeks
ago?" "Well, we thought you might like something to put in it, and
on it." I was standing behind him with the drum.
To shorten a long story. He was floored and can't stop bragging
about the drum. I'm hoping to see him use it this weekend at one of
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