You may hear an early morning musical serenade coming out of a R.L. Torresdal Company Machinery Shop by Ossian as owner Ray Torresdal slides his trombone back and forth, using just the right notes, as he will later in the day, make just the right parts to recreate the pre-1970 classic Conn trombone for Greenhoe Trombones out of Jackson, Wisconsin. You could say he practices what he preaches, when it comes to the great sound of a classic trombone.
When Ray was in grade school he got his first tromblone and played it all the way up to his two years at Luther College, even going to Europe with the Luther band. Then the music stopped as his busy life took over. Married, children, his own business all played out with the trombone in the background, left behind with only the clef-notes remembered somewhere in the back of his mind. Then eight or so years ago he picked up his old trombone and began playing with The Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Decorah.
Ray's reason to begin again was simple, “The church has a quartet, making it easier to play in a group, than alone.” Then as the music flowed back inside him, he joined other groups including the Luther College trombone choir and a group called the Trombononota to name a few.
One day, after delivering clay bird throwers for a range in Greenbay, Wis. he stopped at Greenhoe Trombones in Jackson, Wisconsin and was asked if he could make a custom part for Classic Conn trombones in his machine shop. The rest is history, as he now makes many parts for the company and helped design a slide locknut and lead piper collar, getting in at the beginning of Greenhoe Trombones business venture. Ray bought a machine from a salvage yard to help him as he works on a making draw tubes, another part for the trombone. He has just started experimenting with the part as in the early stages of the design.
The company does makes other custom parts, many not made anywhere else any more for construction companies and even a trombone business.
The business may be small (he has two and-and-a-half employees), and you won’t see Ray with “76 trombones leading the big parade,” on Ossian Days like in Music Man, but we’ll see where this “clef”-hanger goes from here, already supplying most of the parts for the Greenhoe trombone business that appreciates his custom work as they recreate classic pre-1970 Conn trombones together. Who knows what parts he will recreate next as he slides into another business venture into the future. We wish him the best in 2014.