2016 Annual CAPT / ACAP National Convention

ARCHIVED …  CAPT/ACAP NATIONAL CONVENTION May 26 – 29, 2016 held at (UBC) VanVancouvercouver Campus Vancouver, BC.

Convention Agenda  


Convention Supporters:

CAPT/ACAP appreciates the generous donation of the use of a Yamaha grand piano for convention classes from Tom Lee Music, and sponsoring one of the coffee breaks. Thanks also to the Vancouver chapter of the Piano Technicians Guild for sponsoring a coffee break and to Rod Verhnjak of Verhnjak Pianos for hosting a BBQ after the shop tour!


Mario Igrec, Melanie Brooks, Christian Bolduc, Bob Bjerke, Bruce Bischoff (and a documentary film crew!), Rod Verhnjak (Piano Rebuilding Shop Tour)

Presenters Bios:

Mario Igrec: Mario is the author of Pianos Inside Out – A Complete Guide to Piano Tuning, Repair and MIgrecRebuilding, a book that is the most comprehensive publication on piano technology in recent memory. He continues to present classes in North America, England, Croatia, PianosInsideOutand Italy. Mario will be sharing some of the interesting findings made in his journey through his class entitled, Discoveries, Surprises, Lessons Learned: On the Journey to Pianos Inside Out. He is an instructor at North Benett Street School of piano technology, an accomplished pianist, and his business Concord Piano serves a Client Base in Boston which offers a unique and simplified approach to touch weight assessment and adjustment to his clientele. Mario will be introducing this approach at this year’s CAPT/ACAP convention in a double class entitled, Practical Touch™ Analysis: A Four-step, Non-invasive Grand Touch Evaluation Method. This will be followed by a class in which Mario will lead us into real-life exploration of the most commonly-encountered structural difficulties in dealing with touch weight adjustments and he will lead us through to finding their solutions. This method uses software that is currently offered free of charge and will help guide and simplify touch weight adjustment. These classes will offer a solid introduction to the Practical Touch™ adjustment especially helpful for those less experienced in touch weight service who can consider this approach. The classes will also help to simplify matters to those familiar with the Stanwood approach, with touch weight concepts presented in a new/unified/and non-intimidating way.

For his fourth class, Mario will be offering very practical advice and teaching for the everyday work that we do in his class entitled, What Matters, What Doesn’t: Prioritizing Work in a Changing Market.

Melanie Brooks: Melanie is the owner of Brooks Ltd which is a wholesale distributor of quality piano products, MBrooksBreplacement parts and supplies. She oversees the business and financial aspects of Brooks Ltd. This service has a strong reputation for supplying technicians with high quality workmanship and products. Melanie has a business background and offers technicians a professional business perspective that can help to boost the standing of our business. As technicians, our focus is typically on the performance area of our work. Melanie will help us to examine our work in order to maximize our business goals while continuing to improve the quality of our service. She will share with us her expertise in both the business and the performance arenas by offering us two separate and focused classes:

MBrooksAll About Hammers
Take a microscopic tour into the depths of a piano hammer.  Learn about the making of felt and the process of manufacturing hammers and what’s different about Natural Felt.  We will discuss how to control weight and touch through hammer selection and the information needed for boring hammers.  You will also learn grand hammer hanging on old and new shanks and flanges as well as using pre‑hung hammers

Business Savvy Professionals
Defining practical strategies to make savvy business decisions will help you realize your goals.  Focusing on technical skills, we often lose sight of the costs of doing business.  Join in a group discussion as we define what your time is really worth and build a roadmap to a successful business plan.

Christian Bolduc: Christian showed an interest in working with wood while still a child. He often accompanied CBolduchis father Andrè to the woodworking shop, learning to wield wood chisels and other tools at an early age. But it was while pressing pinblocks with his sister Danièle during summer vacations that his passion for working with his hands in the shop really took off. After finishing high school in 1993, Christian enrolled in cabinet making at the National Furniture School in Victoriaville. On returning to Saint-Joseph-de-Beauce, he apprenticed in piano restoration with his father, then continued his studies in piano production at the Schimmel piano factory in Braunschweig, Germany. A visit to the Steinway & Sons factory in Hamburg rounded off his time in Europe.

Today, Christian supervises both the factory and the rebuilding shop in St-Joseph-de-Beauce. He also regularly teaches the science of piano rebuilding around the world. Christian is a sought-after presenter who makes the most challenging of piano rebuilding tasks attainable goals due to the clear and refined teachings that he presents.

Last year, he performed a complete pinblock replacement for CAPT/ACAP Conference attendees at his shop near Quebec City. This was a most informative and practical CBolducBexperience for everyone in attendance.

This year, Christian will again offer us some of the most practical teachings as he walks us through the process of changing an upright bass bridge cap. He will show us an easy way to replace split bridge caps on uprights without using epoxy or other glues to fix bridge pin problems. Learn how to build a jig over the plate to remove the old cap and glue the new one. This technique can also be applied to grand pianos. DVD of the class will be available at the conference, along with other Bolduc DVDs and tools. Christian has consistently offered high quality presentations!

Bob Bjerke: Bob has been a piano technician for more than 30 years! Beginning with a piano technology BBjerkecourse in 1981 at Douglas College he is well known as a Concert and Artist BBjerkeBtechnician, a position he has served in for more than 20 years with Tom Lee Music in Vancouver. He also has extensive experience in both Institutional and Disklavier service.

Over the course of his career Bob has received both Steinway and Yamaha training and is highly regarded by technicians and musicians. We look forward to Bob sharing his expertise and experience in a class on “Servicing Modern Steinway Family and Yamaha pianos.”

Bruce Bischoff:   “Lights,…Camera,…Action!” A documentary film crew has been following Bruce as they create a BBischoffone-hour documentary on aural tuning with Bruce’s stories and experiences as the backdrop. The producer, Marie-France Guerrette (Productions Loft Inc.); noted that Bruce Marie-France Guerrettespeaks so highly of the CAPT/ACAP organization that she thought she would ask if they could continue filming portions of the documentary at this year’s conference. We welcomed the opportunity and asked Bruce to offer a dedicated aural tuning class, to which he enthusiastically agreed.

Bruce’s class will be called, “Perfect Pitch, Horse-shoes and Hand Grenades.” It will be about things we’ve all heard of but with a more visual and organic feel. He will touch on the science of sound, and how it relates to the piano’s harmonic, inharmonic, and enharmonic characteristics. He will explain some aspects of the history of international pitch, pitch inflation and the evolution of the equal tempered scale.

Bruce says that he will then wrap up with a brief exploration and embarrassing exposé of perfect pitch. Remember, close counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

He also says that “…this will be Fun!”

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Bruce and a unique opportunity for piano tuning to be showcased in such a forum. We are happy to partner with Bruce and Marie-France in their pursuit to raise the profile of this portion of the trade which has underscored most of the music in the past century.

It is noteworthy that this conference will embrace both the newest and most comprehensive text to be written in the field in decades, if not ever, as well as the film expose on the core of our trade. As always, the best part of the year is when we get to have live interaction with one another to share our findings and our passion!

Rod Verhnjak: Rod joined the family piano service business in 1989, where since 1995 he has had RodV5bresponsibility for the rebuilding shop located in Surrey, BC. Here piano repairs, rebuilding, refinishing and custom restoration is accomplished toRodV4b his exacting standards. The pianos that have gone through the shop over the years include vintage, family heirloom and premium concert instruments. Rod is well-known in the piano service community across North America and has been a regular attender and contributor at numerous piano technician education events over the years. His shop location has often been the host location for an evening meeting of local Vancouver technicians, where the atmosphere and displays of specialized tools and jigs is especially inspiring for those passionate about providing excellence in piano service. We’re excited that a tour of his shop can be part of the 2016 CAPT/ACAP convention!