Cathie Anderson

Cathie Anderson: Meet the maestro of repairs

Published: Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 1B
Last Modified: Thursday, Apr. 25, 2013 - 7:02 am

Over on 16th Street in midtown Sacramento, in a small shop next door to Hot Italian, symphonic musicians and Grammy winners call upon John Gill. He's the master technician who gets their brass and woodwind instruments to sing.

Gill has worked for jazz saxophonist Branford Marsalis, flutist Mary Youngblood and one chair or another in the Sacramento Philharmonic. He is also the choice of many amateur musicians, boosters of high school bands and weekend warriors playing gigs at churches, weddings and parties.

He moved into repairing instruments after a teacher gave him a frank evaluation.

"I was about 19 years old, and I played clarinet for 10 years, and my teacher told me, 'John, you're never going to make it as a symphony clarinetist, so do you have any interest in learning how to repair them?' " Gill told me. "I just didn't have the drive and the enthusiasm at that point in my life, but repairing instruments turned out to be a wonderful avocation."

Gill's past has included stints managing music stores and buying instruments for them. He met his wife, Ming Zeng, while on purchasing trips in China. There, Zeng's brothers run factories that produce purses. That's why you'll find the Panache Purses boutique operating under the same roof as Got a Gig Music at 1617 16th St.

Take a taste at Denio's

You've pegged Govinda Dhakal wrong if you think he's serving up chicken tikka masala, samosas and mango lassis at Denio's Roseville Farmers Market because he can't afford to open a restaurant.

Dhakal has opened three restaurants in the Sacramento region in as many years. First came the Namaste Nepal restaurants in Davis and Rancho Cordova. He sold them and used the proceeds to open a larger Namaste Nepal in the Roseville Square shopping center on Douglas Boulevard, just a block from Interstate 80.

His venture into Denio's is an attempt to gain acceptance of the Nepalese and Indian food, unknown to 90 percent of people who visit his restaurant.

"I went there a couple times, and I saw the crowd," Dhakal said. "I thought, 'If I get this place, people will see it. It's like advertising, and maybe they'll come here. I'll make more money.' So I decided to try it."

At Denio's, he's priced food to move: $6 for his chicken tikka masala over rice, $6.50 for lamb curry and $2 for his restaurant's biggest seller, the refreshing mango lassi smoothie.

Aid for Boston amputees

Folsom's Bonnie Williamson wrote to say she'd like to help survivors of the Boston bombing who lost limbs, but she doesn't know where to donate.

I'm listing only some of the possibilities. If donors want to address an individual need, the friends and families of many victims have launched fundraising efforts. Take, for example, newlyweds Patrick and Jessica Kensky Downes, who both lost limbs in the attack. Kensky Downes, a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, graduated from Sacramento's St. Francis High School in 1999.

The couple have raised roughly $700,000 through sites such as and These fundraising sites have separate spaces for Boston survivors.

There are also established organizations such as the Amputee Coalition,; Challenged Athletes Foundation,; Limbs for Life,; and Wiggle Your Toes,

Upon hearing that a number of survivors would lose limbs, amputee veterans with the Semper Fi Fund headed to Boston.

"They came to us and said, 'We want to be there. We've been through this,' " said Wendy Lethin, the fund's senior director of outreach and development. "We're very much a family. We've been helping some of our service members since 2004, and we aren't a once-and-done nonprofit. Once we wrap our arms around you, you're with us forever. And our service members have felt that, and they wanted to go to Boston and wrap their arms around those who were injured."

Lethin said her organization is raising funds at to cover veterans' support of Boston amputees and to pay future expenses such as lost wages, child care and utility bills.

Call The Bee's Cathie Anderson, (916) 321-1193. Follow him on Twitter @cathiea_sacbee.

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