On May 30th, senior Michael Leszczynski visited the fifth grade and gave an enthusiastic presentation about his hobby of designing and building custom guitars. “I begin with a pile of unfinished components and unconnected electronics and then go through the entire construction process, including painting, to wiring, and testing."
Michael brought along two guitars: an interpretation of Eddie Van Halen's EVH Frankenstein guitar and an original design called “Positively Pink.” The Frankenstein guitar was used during Van Halen’s tours in the 70's and 80's. “I took apart a Stratocaster-style guitar, striped it down, and refinished it with the iconic red, white and black racing stripes,” explained Michael. As a model he used the Fender's EVH Frankenstein Replica; a run of 300 guitars produced for the serious collector. The Positively Pink guitar was inspired by the family's “Relay for Life” team. “My mother approached me and asked if I could see myself building a "Van Halen" inspired guitar with hints of pink,” said Michael. This guitar is similar in style to the Frankenstein, but with a "Positively Pink" decal crafted out of individual mailbox labels."
After listening to Michael’s senior speech about his life challenges, being a fan of Van Halen and finding refuge in and a passion for guitar-building, Ms. Dayna Drake, Lower School Music Teacher and Blazing Bells Director, invited Michael to share his hobby with the fifth grade. Ms. Drake, “Michael’s presentation was wonderful and kept the students totally engaged, especially when he invited his brother to sing a Van Halen song while he played and then he did the Van Halen thing of throwing guitar picks into the audience!”
Beginning in the fall, Michael will have plenty of opportunity to feed his creativity when he attends Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute majoring in mechanical engineering.