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Musician, instrument maker join forces

Phil Dwyer and Claudio Fantino combine efforts to create Sea Wind Instruments in Qualicum Beach
Award winning saxophonist Phil Dwyer and renowned instrument technician Claudio Fantinato have created a new musical instrument company called Sea Wind based in Qualicum Beach.

A new company in Qualicum Beach combines the musicality and passion of a home-grown music star with the brains and brilliance of a local instrument technician.

It's called Sea Wind Musical Instruments, a Phil Dwyer Edition line of tenor and alto saxophones, adorned with the designs of a local first nations artist and assembled by local musician and instrument technician Claudio Fantinato.

Dwyer and Fantinato were friends years ago, playing in bands together in the early 1980s before they both moved away from the area to pursue music-related careers. They became reacquainted about 10 years ago when they were both back living in the area, and Dwyer learned Fantinato had other skills beyond playing music.

"I didn't realize this when we were kids but he's a mechanical wizard, it's just ridiculous," Dwyer laughed.

Fantinato approached Dwyer, a multi-Juno-award-winning saxophonist, with the idea to go into business last year, to produce quality instruments and accessories, and Dwyer agreed. Within a month the two were on a plane to Taiwan, which Dwyer said has become the hub of quality musical instrument manufacturing.

After a number of meetings with factory owners and musical instrument company representatives, the pair found all the components they were looking for to make their ideal saxophones.

The body of all the saxophones have First Nations engravings on the bell, designed by award-winning Aboriginal artist Jeremy Humpherville, from Coastal Carvings in Coombs. Dwyer said the design depicts the true life story of Luna the Killer Whale from Nootka Sound.

"It's a really interesting, heart-wrenching story about Luna the baby killer whale, so that's the design on the bell, a beautiful picture of an Orca."

All the parts are shipped to the Island where Fantinato assembles them and tweaks them with custom features, and then Dwyer tests them out.

Dwyer said they are an extremely well-built, high-end horn at a mid-end price.

See the instruments and read more about them at