North Shore Adventist Academy band director, Steve Martin, signals to the audience at last Sunday's school concert that in four minutes he played 47 instruments.

May 23, 2019

Flutes, French Horns, and … Fundraising?

Illinois—You’ve probably heard of folks who think out-of-the-box to solve a problem, but this may blow your mind (and hopefully set a world record!). ...

Illinois—You’ve probably heard of folks who think out-of-the-box to solve a problem, but this may blow your mind (and hopefully set a world record!). 

North Shore Adventist Academy’s longtime band director, Steve Martin, has recently perfected the incredulous feat of playing “Mary had a Little Lamb” on 47 instruments in just four minutes. And we’re talking some very different instruments — everything from brass and strings, to woodwinds and squeezeboxes (accordion-like gizmos).


The idea was composed from a few categories Martin saw on a world record site last summer. “I can go to a more difficult level than that!” he thought. A concept was born, just in time to serve as a unique fundraising idea during a dip in the school’s enrollment.

            Martin says donations started with a few fellow musician friends sending in a couple bucks here and there. At last check, the school had received nearly $2,000 “and it’s still coming in,” Martin admits, incredulously.

            It was at North Shore’s recent spring concert when Martin proved his months of practicing had truly paid off. In front of a packed audience (and a professional photographer who would serve as proof for the world record evaluators), the teacher of 36 years reached his goal, averaging 5.1 seconds per instrument. “The whole place went nuts,” says Martin chuckling.

            The plan is to have the professional photos sent to (a world record-keeping organization, similar to Guinness World of Records). Final notification is expected by mid-June. 

Record or not, Martin says his stunt has been worth it — drumming up more musical interest amongst his students. “I want them to have love for music and for God, and use [music] to communicate with Him.” It’s a goal that certainly must strike a chord with The Music Maker.

The 47 Instruments Steve Martin played were: micro flute, cheeks, piano accordion, concertina, trumpet, F horn, trombone, baritone, tuba, kazoo, ukulele, mandolin, 4st banjo, 5st banjo, 6st guitar, bass guitar, slide guitar, tenor sax, bass clarinet, lap dulcimer, soprano sax, oboe, soprano clarinet, bass recorder, piccolo, slide whistle, sopranino recorder, Filipino flute, Irish whistle, quena, alto recorder, Irish flute, silver flute, bamboo jaw harp, steel jaw harp, hiG harmonica, loG harmonica, cello, violin, pan flute, thumb piano, nose flute, ocarina, electric piano, wind chimes, orchestra bells, and chimes.


Cheri Daniels Lewis, Illinois-based freelance writer