Silver Eagle Alto Sax by Verne Q Powell

My friend Helen blogged about this redesign of the classic sax today and I had to share the tasty YouTubeage of this redesigned saxophone.

From the Internet we find this article: Two factories helping people get back to work in Elkhart County:

NAPPANEE — Lee Loper was talking about changes to the passenger bus industry but his words echoed the lesson Elkhart County has learned in hard economic times.

“You can’t rely on what you’ve done in the past to prepare you for the future because our world changes every year, as we can see,” he said.

Loper is vice president and general manager of the Nappanee Bus Refurbishment Center. As a joint venture between ABC Companies and Greyhound Lines Inc., the center, located on South Oakland Avenue, is a new business created to fill an emerging need in an established industry.

Buses have been moving through the refurbishing line for weeks but Wednesday morning, the plant took time to celebrate its grand opening.

Coincidentally, several miles to the north in Elkhart, Blessing music company officially opened its new factory Wednesday evening and unveiled a bold strategy to grow its brand by becoming the only U.S. manufacturer making saxophones.

imageBoth ABC Companies and Blessing, one new company and one established company, represent Elkhart County taking a few small steps from its reputation as the recreational vehicle capital and diversifying into different markets.

“It allows us to have and maintain the tradition and heritage of what we’re good at and to continue to grow and expand it,” said Dorinda Heiden-Guss, president of the Economic Development Corp. of Elkhart County.


At the Nappanee Bus Refurbishment Center, Greyhound motorcoaches limp into the facility with upwards of a million miles on them and, after a swing through 25 work stations, roll out of the factory sporting a blue paint scheme and amenities like Wi-Fi, power plug-ins next to the seats and extra leg room.

“It’s not true production,” Loper said. “It’s more a combination and a mesh of production and repair.”

Cost is the prime motivation behind the project. Loper was reluctant to give exact figures but he noted a new motorcoach can cost $450,000 and one can be refurbished for about a third of that price.

Consequently, keeping costs low along with meeting production goals are the keys to making the endeavor viable, Loper said. ABC is partnering with Greyhound to revitalize 250 buses over about a five-year period. It is also exploring some other work that could be done in Nappanee.

The plant has a payroll of 100 employees and another 20 are expected to be hired in another month.

Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson said the small companies like the refurbishing center are helping the county recover but the bigger projects, like the electric vehicle makers Navistar and Think, will provide the real boost to the local economy.

“If we can put this all together, then we’re going to be back,” Thompson said. “But we’re a ways off. Some of those larger companies…they need to do what they’ve told us they’ll do and that’s hire people and put them to work at a good wage.”


With 50 percent of the worldwide demand for saxophones coming from the United States, Steven Wasser, owner of Blessing, sees a business opportunity. A prototype is scheduled to be ready by January and production is targeted to start in the spring.

AmericanEagle   AmericanEagleKeyWorks

The woodwind instrument will be built alongside the brass horns in Blessing’s new plant. It is Wasser’s plan to fill the large Elkhart facility with a full line of production.

“This is a musical instrument factory,” he explained. “It is not a brass instrument factory…. We do not feel restricted to the traditional trumpet, trombone, marching brass. Part of our vision for the future is to make excellent wind instruments here.”

Mayor Dick Moore thanked the company for keeping its business in the band instrument capital of the world and applauded the company’s expansion.

“What is good for Blessing,” he said, “is good for Elkhart.

Read more…

About Gandalfe

Just an itinerant saxophonist trying to find life between the changes. I have retired from the Corps of Engineers and Microsoft. I am an admin on the Woodwind Forum, run the Seattle Solid GOLD Big Band (formerly the Microsoft Jumpin' Jive Orchestra) a GOLD sax quartet, and enjoy time with family and friends.
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