Jazz Fest Guitar Project

From Junk to Jazz

When you are driving in traffic and a car suddenly appears seemingly out of nowhere, the result often involves a trip to the auto body shop. Awilda Goodwin, paraprofessional at RMCTC, headed for the same destination recently but not because of a fender bender.

Back of repainted guitar

Goodwin is a big fan of the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest and has volunteered at the event for more than 20 years. She enjoys using her creativity to make decorations for the festival’s various venues. This year, event planners presented her with a well-used, somewhat battered electric guitar with the thought that she might use it in one of her musically-themed floral arrangements. That’s when she set her wheels in motion right down the hall to the Auto Body Repair program at RMCTC. She had an idea for a cool student project and was eager to share it with Todd Cassler, the program’s instructor.

The idea was that a few students would use the skills they had acquired in class to give the guitar new life by repairing and painting it. “I thought it was a great idea,” said Cassler. “As a project, it would require many of the same steps and products used in auto body repair but on a smaller scale. Also, it seemed like it would be a fun challenge for the students to take on.”

Three students stepped up to meet the challenge: Yashika DeGeorge and Joshua Gonzalez, both 12th-graders at Reading High School, and Robert Hamaker, a 10th-grader at Muhlenberg High School. They disassembled, cleaned, and sanded the guitar. After priming it, they applied a base coat and some interesting graphics. A clear coat of acrylic added a nice shine to the rich red-orange paint they used to give the guitar a whole new look. Finally, they reassembled the guitar and installed new strings.

Three students who refurbished an old guitar
Joshua Gonzalez, Yashika DeGeorge, and Robert Hamaker participated in a project 
to refurbish an old guitar for use as a decoration at the Boscov’s Berks Jazz Fest.

“It was a different kind of project,” said DeGeorge. “Since we normally work on cars, painting a musical instrument was something new for us, but it was fun.”

Now Goodwin will use the guitar as a shiny, eye-catching feature in one of her floral arrangements for the big music festival. There, amid the popular musicians and their admiring fans, the guitar that went from junk to jazz will add its own high note of excitement to the festivities.

Front of repainted guitar

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