Musical Instruments Get New Lease On Life

Tune Up Philly is inspiring a lot of donations - cash, as well as musical instruments. Recently, it received a gift from Frank Rosenwein, principal oboist of the Cleveland Orchestra, who, after reading about Tune Up Philly, donated one of his oboes to the program.

"I hadn't ever heard of Tune Up Philly. I'm pretty sure I first learned about in an article, probably from The Inquirer, that somebody had posted on Facebook," he said. "I read it and was really taken, by Stanford Thompson especially, but by the whole notion of El Sistema coming to U.S. cities. It seems very exciting."

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Students sometimes develop bad habits when they learn to play on inferior instruments, Rosenwein says. That won't be a danger in this case. Rosenwein's instrument is a Lorée, from Paris, that he played in the San Diego Symphony and possibly (he can't quite recall) in the Cleveland Orchestra as well. It was recently appraised at $4,000, Rosenwein said.

"With oboes, they wear out after so many years in terms of their ability to be played in the orchestra, but they're still really good for a student. I thought rather than finding someone to sell it to, I'd do this. It's just too good not to."

Rosenwein says he hopes others will be inspired to donate instruments.

But what about reeds - those delicate, notoriously balky slivers of wood where the oboe sound begins? Oboists can spend hours whittling in pursuit of a great reed - it is an art in itself.

"If they need reeds, I can can provide 'em," he says. "And I'd be happy to do it."

Read more about Tune Up Philly here.

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