Those of you who have been following me for any length of time know that I just love what I do here, and I love the stories and relationships that I get to build. I have commented to a lot of people that the music world in central Indiana is a very small one, so it’s not uncommon for me to re-kindle business relationships from people that I have worked with in the past–from helping a former high school classmate find their perfect forever flute to seeing children of friends join the world of band and orchestra. This week, I am highlighting a very important part of my musical path as he prepares to retire at the end of the year.

Steve Ruppert was featured on the blog here a couple of years ago when he was up for the monthly Paige’s Music staff spotlight; if you didn’t get a chance to watch it then, you can view it here. The first time I met Steve, I was a fourth grade beginning band student in Lafayette, and I was bound and determined to play the trumpet! Thankfully, my band director encouraged me based on my testing results to pursue the flute, and Lafayette schools obtained their instrument rentals at the time from Weast Music in the heart of downtown Lafayette. I can still remember the storefront, the smell, everything about that store, because we ended up spending a lot of time in there! Steve was the owner and jack-of-all trades at the time, and my family developed a wonderful relationship with him as we came in to purchase music, ask questions, and have repairs done on my instrument.

Fast forward to my 13th birthday in 1998…I was becoming very serious about the flute and was taking lessons from a professional in Lafayette. My horizons and performing opportunities were expanding, and I was still playing on my trusty beginner Gemeinhardt silver-plated flute. My parents were supporting 3 children in private school, outside activities, and music lessons–all on one income, so there was never a whole lot of money left over for large purchases. When it became clear that flute was a serious endeavor for me, my grandparents, who also lived in Lafayette and attended every single performance, approached Steve and my private teacher, Rebecca Cartwright, about getting me a better flute. The four of them settled on a sterling silver, open-hole Jupiter flute, and the rest was history. That flute got me through 15+ years of competitions, solos, countless performances, scholarship opportunities, and even held strong as I began my Masters degree at Butler University, studying with Karen Moratz.

As Karen and I mapped out my Masters track at Butler and began focusing on my recital, my trusty Jupiter was in need of some serious work. My grandfather had passed away the previous year, and my grandmother approached me once again and told me that in talking to Steve and Rebecca all those years ago, that they knew that I may need one final flute if I pursued music through college. I was lucky enough to have my grandparents assistance once again, and in December of 2011 we purchased an Altus 1107 from Alison at the Indy Flute Shop.

And the rest, they say, is history. My first day here, Steve came up to the counter and said, “Remember me?” Of course I remembered him!! Steve had been working at Paige’s Music ever since he sold the Weast business to current owner Mark Goff around 2002, my senior year in high school. In his staff spotlight, Steve talks about the unique aspects of the music business and how wonderful it is to be a part of it. He stated, “They served me well, and I hope I have served them well.” I would call that the understatement of the century. Steve, from all of us in the Indiana music business, thank you for your years of service, and bon voyage in your retirement. You earned it!