Last week I spent an remarkable two hours with Joe as he customized his new Alma large chamber soprano mouthpiece for my soprano. His patience in dealing with my exacting needs was only matched by his amazing skill and artistry in making dozens of adjustments to make it just right. It was stunning to see how much of a difference the most minute change could make in tone, response and pitch. To watch him work on the mouthpiece was a wonder; as the most congenial and hospitable host imaginable, his adjustments were based (after hearing me play) on measurements, feeling (with fingers over the rails and chamber) and experienced intuition. The mouthpiece was being transformed in front of my eyes and ears. First the response, then a little high register tuning, then a greater dynamic range, and finally to sustain the beautiful dark sound (“buttery” as he called it) throughout all registers, including altissimo. The education was alone worth it, and I also ended up with a great classical mouthpiece for my chamber and solo soprano playing!