4 Images

Mending to beat the band

Rudy Saldivar dips a trumpet in a rinsing bath in the “wash room” at the downtown Los Angeles shop where Los Angeles Unified School District musical instruments are stored and repaired. A dedicated group of former musicians and artisans work at the shop, helping to keep a still thriving Los Angeles school district music program on its feet. Saldivar is a part time employee who will soon be graduating from Long Beach State where he studies philosophy and business. (Robert Gauthier / LAT)
Repairman Michael Dubkin blows a tune on a saxaphone he just repaired at the Los Angeles Unified School District musical instrument repair shop. Dubkin, a former musician, once toured with Little Richard. (Robert Gauthier / LAT)
A sculpture comprised of cello scrolls taken from instruments is a work in progress at the station of repairman Joshua Fang at the Los Angeles Unified School District musical instrument repair shop. Fang says he will continue adding on to the sculpture until it reaches the ceiling. At that point he says, he will retire. (Robert Gauthier / LAT)
Doug Hershberger is one of 25 people responsible for taking care of 85,000 instruments, some of which have been in L.A. schools since the 1930s. Here he restores a donated 1905 Steinway that he says was badly treated at its first school. It has taken Hershberger and other technicians nearly a year to fully restore this valuable instrument. (Robert Gauthier / LAT)