Bob Desmarais of NHTunes keeps musicians on track in many waysBy MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader
April 05. 2014 12:09AM
MANCHESTER - When Bob Desmarais isn't playing guitar at a bar, the fiftysomething might be recording music for other bands in his studio or giving a guitar lesson.
But Desmarais, owner of NHTunes, is no one-man band.
More than a half-dozen instructors collectively gave 400 music and voice lessons last month in six lesson rooms at his Millyard business.
Lessons account for about 60 percent of the revenues for his profitable business.
"I didn't envision lessons being a bigger part of the business," said Desmarais, who gives about 30 guitars lessons a week. Those taking lessons stretch in age from under 6 to 60-plus with guitar the most popular instrument.
Last year, Desmarais moved to a bigger suite in the Waumbec Mill in the Millyard, doubling his space to 1,800 square feet.
Kris Fenchel brought her daughter, Catherine, to her Tuesday afternoon music lesson.
The 9-year-old has been taking piano lessons there for about three years.
"It's comfortable," Fenchel said.
The Manchester mom said she thinks the ability to play an instrument is a positive attribute.
"I think when she'll be 21, she'll love the fact she'll be able to play," she said.
Desmarais provides recording studio space at $40 an hour.
Sometimes, a parent will rent time for a teenage girl's birthday party. For about $100 total, the girls can spend time recording several songs and each walk away with a CD, he said.
"It's something different," he said.
Desmarais even will label and package CDs for an additional $2.50 each - something that comes in handy for bands to send to bars as audition tapes.
Last Tuesday, Tom Bourgoin started the first day of his internship. He said he hopes to "get a job working engineering, whether it be at a studio or TV station," and wants to get a degree in sound recording technology from UMass Lowell.
For Desmarais, he still sings and plays guitar for a duo dubbed "Sonic Boomers," which is set to perform May 5 at Shorty's Mexican Roadhouse in Bedford.