Man’s passion for guitar repair gives the gift of music

MANCHESTER – It’s 9 a.m. on a Monday morning. While most people are just grabbing that first cup of coffee and getting settled at their desks, 20-year-old Tristan Aho can be found busily at work in the Manchester Community Music School instrument library refurbishing donated guitars.

Tristan volunteers at the school two mornings a week, as part of a Youth Transitional Services program through Easterseals New Hampshire. Youth Transitional Services provides individualized, community based programming to help students learn a variety of skills, and gain greater independence. Tristan has a real passion for music and in particular playing the guitar and guitar repair. When he and his Youth Support Specialist, Angela Adorno, began talking about what he wanted to do with his life, music was the clear choice. Together, the pair researched what options might be available to Tristan and that’s how they found the Manchester Community Music School. After some preliminary conversations with MCMS Executive Director Judy Teehan, it became evident that Tristan’s talent with guitar repairs would be a real asset to the school. The school regularly receives donations of musical instruments; some are ready to play while others, as Tristan puts it, “are in need of a little TLC.”

“We are so lucky to have Tristan sharing his talents with the music dchool,” said Teehan. “He has helped restore many of our donated instruments, but is also taking care of the guitars used by our own music therapists. Most recently, Tristan has expanded his reach into the community by providing repair services to area public school teachers. One thing is for certain, when you see Tristan working with the guitars you know he loves his work.”

When asked why he enjoys guitar playing and repair Tristan said, “Playing the guitar is a release for me, I can get lost in my music, ignore the world for a while, and when I’m done things seem better. The best thing about fixing guitars is knowing that the instruments I repair will give others the opportunity to play and let them experience the gift of music.”

Tristan was recently invited to join the Manchester Community Music School Folk String Orchestra. This ensemble is open to players of any string instrument looking for an ensemble playing opportunity. The group is continuing an old-time British American music tradition with many of the tunes they play having roots reaching back to the music traditions of the British Isles. Although he admits the music is a bit challenging, the school’s staff is confident in Tristan’s abilities and will be there to help him along the way.

The Manchester Community Music School is located in historic north Manchester. As a nonprofit organization, it is dedicated to supporting the artistic development of the community through a variety of programs and classes. To learn more about the Manchester Community Music School, visit