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Staff Spotlight: Sam Whitmire

Portrait of Sam Whitmire"Staff Spotlight" is a series meant to highlight the important contributions of our staff to the college mission and to introduce them to the entire college. This time we feature Sam Whitmire, Piano Technician in the School of Music.

Sam Whitmire
Job Title
Piano Technician
Job Duties
Tune and maintain all stringed keyboard instruments.
What do people think you do?
Obviously they think I tune pianos. The faculty realize that I address a lot more issues than just tuning the piano to make it musical.
What do you actually do?
Tuning is a small part of what I actually do. I have been rebuilding and refurbishing pianos my whole career. Regulation and voicing is a big part of making a piano sound its best. There are a lot of moving parts in a piano; regulating insures everything is working in harmony. Voicing is a term we use to keep the tonal balance uniform and even. Concert level work involves a lot more than being a “tuner”.
How long have you worked for the University? For the College of the Arts?
32 glorious years!
What is your favorite part of your job?
Working with the faculty. The School of Music is blessed to have a wonderful one. Doing recital work for the students is very rewarding also.
What is your favorite time of the day or week?
The mornings are my best energy times. It’s very tedious to tune and listen to pianos all day!
What do you think is your most important contribution to your area or the college?
Projecting a positive outlook, keeping a smile on my face while I provide the best technical service I can.
What do you want the rest of the college to know about you?
I am grateful to serve the community and the school of music.
What do you think that your co-workers would be surprised to learn about you?
I am a songwriter at heart. Been writing songs and compositions all my life. Creating is one of the best joys of my life. Piano tuning has always gone hand in hand with my love of music.
What is your favorite pastime or hobby?
Besides playing and writing music, give me a good book and a hammock to lay in when I’m reading it!
Anything else you want to add to let us know you better?
Gratitude is a big part of my life. Everybody should be grateful for something, right?