Ben Creswell Merlin Grady Brass Repair Technician Owner
Welcome to Grady Instrument Service. Merlin Grady has been repairing, restoring, refinishing and maintaining musical instruments since 1965. Merlin attended McPherson College in Kansas and graduated with a BA in Music Education in 1965. He attended the University of Northern Iowa from 1965-1970 where he performed in the UNI orchestra, Waterloo/Cedar Falls Symphony Orchestra, Jazz Band, Faculty Brass Sextet and many professional performance jobs. During his years at UNI, Merlin apprenticed at The Music Corner in downtown Waterloo repairing pianos and band instruments.
In July of 1970, after graduating from UNI with an MA in Music Education, Merlin opened Grady Instrument Service on his family farm in what was formerly the chicken house. While he was getting the business built, he processed milk in the family dairy. When operations at the dairy ended, Merlin moved his business into the dairy building where Grady Instrument Service was located until 1992.
On September 2, 1992 lightning struck the barn next to the repair shop and burst into flames. Merlin and his family had 25 minutes to save whatever they could. They managed to get over 140 customer instruments and a few personal items and tools. When all was said and done, a substantial number of instruments and tools were lost and the barn and repair shop were a total loss.
For the next year, Merlin worked out of a neighbor's garage. In October of 1993, Grady Instrument Service moved to its current location on Ansborough Avenue, south of Waterloo.
Ben Creswell began working at Grady Instrument Service as a University of Northern Iowa student in 2007. He studied tuba with Dr. Jeffrey Funderburk and graduated with a Bachelor Of Arts-Music. After graduation, Ben continued working fulltime as brass instrument repair technician. He is also a proud member of the 451st Army Band, a reserve unit which drills at Fort Snelling, Minnesota.