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A brief Q&A with Sam Finlay

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Finlay & Gage, SOMA’s’ new ‘string shop’ will celebrate their grand opening on Sept. 16 (from 11 til 5) at 1677 Springfield Ave., #19 in Maplewood.  It will be such a convenience and pleasure to have a music center in town for string players from professional to beginner.  The shop will rent, sell and repair stringed instruments. Sam Finlay, the manager lives in South Orange and here is a bit of Q&A with the renaissance man himself!
1  were you always interested in music? what instrument(s) do you play?  I started on viola in Junior high, took up string bass in high school & studied it in college, too.  While in school & for a while after, I played bass professionally.
2  what gave you the idea to open the Finlay & Gage stringed instrument store locally?  When I moved here, I was inspired by the level of artistry in the people I met here. When I saw the quality of instruments that the kids had access to and the fact that adults couldn’t get a decent repair without driving a distance, it seemed like I would be doing a disservice if I didn’t offer them something better.
At first, I thought I would just bring instruments from NY, where we have a large store. And then my good friend Matt Smollon, cofounder of SOMa film fest, showed me a location in Maplewood & it seemed like too perfect an opportunity to pass up.


3  what drew you to live in south orange?   My wife, daughter & I came here for backyards, sense of community, & school system. I grew up in the city and was looking for something a little different for my kid. I didn’t want to give up the city altogether, so this seemed like the perfect place.
4  who’s your favorite musician/band/singer? Beethoven, Charles Mingus, The Clash, George Jones, Clutch, Tom Waits, Frank Sinatra, NAS and the Wu Tang Clan

5  if you could have three people at a dinner party who would they be?As a musical instrument nerd, many of these folks might not be familiar to every reader. I’d like to hear what it was like to invent the Violin from Andreas Amati, what it was like to run a busy store in a city like Milan from the young maker Carlo Antonio Testore. Finally, the French inventor-instrument maker-broker Vouillaume seems like he would have been a hoot. I’d like to finish a bottle of wine with him.

6  what does success for Finlay & Gage look like?  I’d like the store to be successful, but more, I’d like for it to work to support a thriving musical community here.

7  what’s the most recent concert/show you’ve attended? I went to see South Orange royalty Mandy Gonzalez in beginning of the summer & she blew my mind. Soon after, I saw Clutch and Primus in Asbury park and they were incredible.

8  what’s your favorite place in the world?  That’s tough, but I would have to say my house. I love to be here with my family. Every time I get home I feel like the luckiest guy in the world.
 
9  what would you like to see more of in SOMA?  I’d like to see more bike lanes, rehearsal spaces & schools in SOMA.
We all like to ride our bikes & bike lanes would make this area a lot less dependent on cars.  Rehearsal spaces for musicians make for excellent art communities – just look at Williamsburg in the early days. And as popular as this area I gets, it would be a shame if we forgot to build enough schools for all the kids who are bound to come with the families moving here.
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