Mike Grace

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Michael Grace, Director
e-mail: gracem@aaps.k12.mi.us
Community High School PH: 734-994-2021 EXT-364OO
401 N. Division FAX: 734-994-OO42
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48104
October 8, 2007
To whom it may concern:
Please accept this letter a hearty recommendation for Gary Ritter. I
have had the pleasure and the opportunity to observe Gary grow and
perfect a very unique business which, of course includes being a
craftsman, innovator, fearless repairman, salesman and great friend
to many of us out here in the music performance world. We would all
be suffering without Gary’s availability and expertise.
Many years ago I urged Gary to dig in and stay in this area when he
was considering moving away. I knew that the market was here for
just what he could offer. Having Gary remain has been a tremendous
advantage to all of us concerned. There are far too few businesses
such as his in any given state and he has created a fine reputation.
We are all proud for him.
As a professional bassist I must rely on a craftsman to keep me
working! I have an expensive instrument which I play continually and
I feel confident in Gary’s ability to assess and repair whatever he may
encounter to keep this instrument in top performing condition. And,
there isn’t much Gary has not repaired and adjusted, often on an
emergency basis, because of my world wide travels.
As a teacher, I am the director of perhaps the largest jazz program in
the US which includes eight to twelve jazz combos, which meet daily,
and which also perform over two hundred and fifty engagements per
year. Community High School is located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and
has been given the wonderful opportunity of developing a unique
music program – all improvisational jazz. We have no concert band or
orchestra. The Ann Arbor Public Schools, in addition, offer a huge
string program, from elementary through the many orchestras of the
two large high schools. And, of course, The University Of Michigan,
also located in Ann Arbor, has a world class school of music. Eastern
Michigan University and Washtenaw Community College complete the
extremely large cultural base which offers a large variety of music.
There is virtually every kind of music in this area.
With so many musicians in a relative small area, Gary often finds his
hands full with sales and repairs in response to this remarkable base
of musicians. Regardless, Gary is always friendly, takes the time to
demonstrate the inventory he maintains, discusses small adjustments
or large, invasive repairs, and makes every one feel comfortable, not
rushing anyone into the many important decisions they may have to
make – buying an appropriate bow or the correct case and, choosing
some of the many accessories necessary and available to them.
As a jazz musician, I cannot stress the the importance of knowing
about and understanding the many pick ups that are on the market
today. These devices attach to the bass and are used to amplify the
instrument. This is an entire separate technology from the intricate
understanding of the acoustic bass alone. However, Gary has been
keenly interested in this technology for many years and has invested
much of his own time and money into finding out just what products
work the best. This all becomes very involved because each and
every bass can have a unique and personal sound. Discussing and
installing a pick up means knowing a lot about them and, of course,
knowing the acoustic bass – the nationality of design, the traditional
sound expected and the cost of the instrument, which will relate to
the eventual sound when amplified by the pick up through an
amplifier. Then, of course, there are many amplifiers. What do they
all sound like? The combinations and considerations are endless.
So, in conclusion, it takes an especially dedicated person to know the
significant and varied amount of information necessary to satisfy any
given customer and run a successful business which, in type and
description, does not relate to any other business I know of. Gary
Ritter embodies these characteristics. He will always have my
business and he will always be my friend!
Respectfully submitted,
Michael Grace, Director
Community High School Jazz Program

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