GABRIEL VALLEY TRIBUNE
January 27, 2010
Orlando's caters to professionals and students alike
Author: Michelle J. Mills Staff Writer
you hear a sweet saxophone or tootling trumpet as you drive through
El Monte, you may be near Orlando's Wind Instruments. Owner Orlando
Castaneda began repairing horns and providing custom work for
professional musicians, friends and music stores in 1969. "In 1988 I
started my own company because I'd been doing it for so many years
for everybody else," he said.
Castaneda's client list features trumpet players Lee Thornburg and
Paul Litteral and saxophonist Red Holloway, as well as groups like
Mariachi Sol de Mexico and Mariachi Divas. He also works with
Pioneer High School in Whittier, South Hills High School in West
Covina and the Covina Valley School District, as well as with such
stores as the Fret House in Covina. He began playing clarinet as a
child and went on to tenor saxophone, which he played professionally
at age 14 with bands from East Los Angeles. He majored in music at
Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut and Cal Poly Pomona and now plays
all the brass instruments and some strings. "I deal with pros all
the time so I know all the picky things pros like," Castaneda said.
"I know a lot about the instruments that other people don't know."
Castaneda has teamed up with a factory in China to create his
instruments, and the two also opened Gulf Music USA as an import
company in America. In 1990, he began his student line and later
created a professional saxophone line, with other professional brass
instruments following quickly. Up until 2009 Castaneda was working
out of the garage at his West Covina home. His son finally convinced
him to move to a warehouse in El Monte, but two months later the
economy collapsed. "We started focusing on the Mexican bands, I
changed my market and my repairs saved me," he said.
he first started out, Castaneda served many of the instruments used
by mariachi, bandas and taborasos. But over the years, some of his
customers lost touch with him. Reaching out again, he has gained
back former clients and continues to add to his roster, including
both local artists and those from Mexico. For these customers he is
making custom trumpets set up in the "old style" sound favored for
Mexican music, and he will have also modified trombones ready this
year. "For the bandas I have a valve trombone," he said. "I don't
know why, but Mexicans ... we like a big bell sound. Even my
saxophones have a big bell sound to them."
Mexican musicians often have their trombones cut in length, which
alters the key from C to B flat. That can result in tuning problems
and other issues. But Castaneda's line is produced in B flat and is
in tune off right off the shelf.
Castaneda is also reaching out to the community. While teaching
music in middle and high schools, he met Buddy Collette, the
co-founder of JazzAmerica, a Hollywood-based, tuition-free jazz
education program for children in Southern California. He began
referring his students to the program, but this year he was told
that the classes were full. Instead of giving up, Castaneda stepped
up, offering his warehouse as a teaching venue.
JazzAmerica/East for children ages 15-19 will meet Saturdays from
May to September, providing free education for all instruments used
in jazz. The only rule is that the participant must commit to
attending all of the rehearsals and performances.
Slated instructors include trumpet player Ray Ponson, saxophonist
Don Mesa and Paulie Cerra, saxophonist and pianist. Joseph Monte, a
music historian from Covina, will also teach about the history and
background of jazz and related genres.
"These guys are tops in the field," Castaneda said. "We've got
mariachi schools, which is nice, but we don't have anything for
group will present five to six concerts during the session at venues
such as Covina Park, El Monte Senior Center and the Sweet & Hot Jazz
Festival in Los Angeles.
more information on Orlando's Wind Instruments or JazzAmerica/East,
call 626-523-0069 or visitwww.orlandobandinstruments.com.
Also visit www.jazzamerica.org.
626-962-8811, Ext. 2128
2010 San Gabriel Valley Tribune. All rights reserved. Reproduced
with the permission of Media NewsGroup, Inc. by NewsBank, Inc.
Record Number: 14271569