Meet Sonja Guthrie
Sonja is a North Carolina native, growing up in Asheville and attending Mars Hill College (now University) and later UNCG. During her master's studies, she completed a repair apprenticeship that led directly to full time employment in a retail repair shop.
In addition to repairs, Sonja also teaches horn and piano students in Guilford and Forsyth counties and plays church and pit orchestra gigs all over the western half of the state. When she's not busy with repairs or horn, Sonja makes the best snickerdoodles and peanut butter cookies in the world, watches horror movies, and takes thousands of pictures of her dogs.
Sonja's Favorite Things:
Favorite music to listen to:
Wagner operas. Turned up to 11. But also Tool, Murder By Death, Sam Cooke, Henry Cowell, The Music Man soundtrack... And to really keep me on my toes, I like to shuffle all of it!
Favorite music to play:
Wagner Wagner Wagner. But seriously, everything. Orchestras, jazz bands (jazz horn is a real thing, I swear!), brass quintet, pit orchestra, bands, everything. I do especially like playing duets with my horn students.
Favorite instrument to repair:
Horns are always fun to work on, and I particularly like working on noisy rotors. I can always make them quieter! Otherwise gratifying are bell torques or completely smashed bell flares. I do also enjoy working on tubas and sousas, partly due to the shock value - they're huge, and I'm quite short. I need a step stool just to reach the dent tools!
Favorite part of being a technician:
I like being a tech because of how many opportunities there are to help people. Whether it's helping somebody find an upgraded instrument, making their current instrument work better, or helping out schools and organizations that depend on functional instrument donations.
Favorite weird repair story:
A friend of mine sold her horn because it "sounds stuffy." A year or two later, the new owner came in to have it cleaned. After a thoroughly normal cleaning, I reassembled the horn and found that it wouldn't play at all. After a couple of hours of frustration fueled cursing, an old foam earplug shot out of the bell.
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner
Before, on a detachable horn bell that got stuck and torqued
Two impressions is too many.
Ah, much better - rotor-colored rotors!
There's a hole in this tube!
There's solder everywhere.
That's not the right shape.
Before. Trumpets shouldn't be this color.
After some cleaning, anti-tarnish dip, and time spent polishing.
Red rot made this crook so soft that the waterkey just collapsed into it.