The Last Repair Shop: A Heartwarming Documentary Visits the Warehouse Servicing 80,000+ Instruments for L.A. Students
The Los Angeles public school system is one of few administrations in the U.S. that still provides instruments to its students for free. Tens of thousands of young musicians learn to play the saxophone or tuba on borrowed equipment, a program running since 1959 that offers greater and more equitable access to the arts.
A short documentary directed by Ben Proudfoot and Kris Bowers visits the unassuming warehouse where more than 80,000 student instruments are maintained. “The Last Repair Shop” shares the stories of how the four craftspeople came to their roles, punctuated by testimonies from students who’ve benefited from their work. Glimpsing their mending techniques and skill at repairing even the smallest cracks, the documentary is both a testimony to the necessity of public services like this program and the indelible impact music has on people of all ages and backgrounds.
“This is not just a musical instrument repair shop. When an instrument breaks, there’s a student without an instrument,” says Steve, a piano technician and the workshop supervisor. “No. Not in our city.”