Clarinet Barrels and Bells is Bill Stevens and Mike Vaccaro.
Bill and Mike met at a golf driving range. Mike’s golf instructor knew Bill (a fine golfer in his own right) for many years. A discussion ensued between the three of us and it turned out that Mike knew Bill’s childhood girlfriend. A phone number ensued and Bill made the call and he has been with his sweetheart ever since. She happens to be a professional oboe player.
After ordering lots of aftermarket equipment, including a bushel basket of mouthpieces, barrels from many different makers and bells from another manufacturer, we decided to make our own aftermarket barrel. We did some studying, bought some very expensive hardwood, and after an epiphany regarding design we made our first barrel which Mike still plays today.
So now we make barrels, and Mike finds out that Bill has been making oboe bells for his sweetheart. So why not try making a clarinet bell. More study, more epiphanies, and more expensive wood, and we now have a bell that works perfectly on Mike’s Buffet Clarinet. We have also made bells the work on Mike’s other clarinets. So now we are in business.
Bill Stevens is our Director Of Engineering and Manufacturing, with extensive experience with machinery and both woods and metals. He has his own line of reed knives that took him 2 years to develop in finding the right metal and researching a handle that would fit virtually every size hand and be comfortable. In addition Bill has a keen ear for music, nuances of tone and pitch, and the singing quality of woodwind equipment. Bill’s technique in manufacturing our barrels and bells with their unique styling both inside and out has been the cornerstone of Vaccaro and Stevens Woodwinds.
Mike Vaccaro is a woodwind specialist performing on clarinets, saxophones, flutes, and oboe. A short resumé of the past 10 years includes: performing at every theater in Los Angeles and Orange County, performing on over 30 major motion pictures (including 15 motion pictures on 1st clarinet), performed on 1st clarinet with the Long Beach Opera for 10 years, performed on the utility woodwind chair in the Pageant of the Masters Orchestra for 12 years, and has worked freelance in symphony and pops orchestras throughout the area. In addition Mike has been the Music Contractor at the Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts since the Center’s opening 15 years ago. He has three solo albums that you can find on www.MikeVaccaro.Com.