Pitch perfect

The sound of an out-of-tune saxophone billowing from the basement of Terry Staten’s East Dayton home is probably a nuisance to his neighbors, but for Staten, it’s the chance to show off his expertise.

“I like to think that I do a really good job because I focus my energy on connecting between being a player and a technician,” said Staten, a 2015 music education graduate of Wright State University and woodwind technician at Buckeye Brass and Winds in Columbus.

Staten repairs an average of 1,500 damaged and neglected instruments a year.

Since graduation, he has performed professionally with his saxophone at Carnegie Hall, the Rochester International Jazz Festival and the North American Saxophone Alliance Biennial Conference. He also stays busy playing in the Dayton and Cincinnati area.

“I could immediately tell he was a diamond in the rough,” said Shelley Jagow, Ph.D., professor of music, director of bands and Staten’s former instructor at Wright State. “He’s been terrific in his selflessness and wanting to give back.”

Staten has volunteered at numerous band festivals at Wright State, repairing high school and middle school students’ instruments for free while they are on campus.

“The gratification of seeing their response is great,” said Staten, who enjoys volunteering at Wright State because he gets to see the students’ reactions when their instruments are working correctly.

As a student at Wright State, Staten said, his instructors were caring and extremely invested in his classmates, inspiring him to return to his alma mater to give back to the music program.

Jagow described Staten as “a bit of a unicorn” because his expertise as a professional player makes him a sought-after repair technician. Jagow said Staten’s quick repair work keeps instruments in students’ hands so they do not miss rehearsals while participating in the festivals.

“His contribution to the community is outstanding,” said Jagow.

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