Your Neighbor: Meet Melody Choplin-Hoover

Published 12:00 am Thursday, January 13, 2022

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By Mandy Haggerson
For the Clemmons Courier

Melody Choplin-Hoover spent her early years growing up in the northern Virginia area. The oldest of three siblings, Choplin-Hoover was raised by a single mom with an incredible work ethic. Encouraged to embrace her talents as a youngster, Choplin-Hoover got into piano lessons. “Music brought a lot of discipline to my life. I was lucky to be influenced by a lot of people that showed me that lesson,” recalls Choplin-Hoover. “As a child, aside from being drawn to instruments, I loved making things like Christmas ornaments with sequins and buttons. Anything I could create with my hands was of interest to me.”

When Choplin-Hoover wasn’t crafting, she was honing her skills in music. “Mrs. Jane Lewis really helped instill the knowledge of music theory and performance when I started playing in high school. For me, high school started in eighth grade, so I was only 13 years old. The benefit of music theory and performance allowed me to read music, and pushed me to a higher degree,” reflects Choplin-Hoover. “In the band, another influence in high school was a military guy, Mr. James Bean. Discipline was his thing. He reinforced the need for practice and working hard coupled with discipline. His influence led me to learning and playing the clarinet and oboe,” mentions Choplin-Hoover. Her attentiveness to her instructors paid off. At a young age she was put in leadership roles in her high school band. “Prior to high school, I had never even seen an oboe. I was self-taught, however, I practiced and worked, and it paid off,” explains Choplin-Hoover.

Choplin-Hoover started winning higher seats in county and district bands. “At that point, I discovered you could get scholarship money to play the oboe,” notes Choplin-Hoover. She was awarded a scholarship to attend Shenandoah University for her undergraduate degree. “I knew that I wanted to learn in college about instrument repair,” says Choplin-Hoover. “I wanted to combine my love for instruments with my enjoyment of crafting and it seemed like a perfect fit,” explains Choplin-Hoover.

After graduating from college, Choplin-Hoover headed to Winston-Salem to begin a job doing just that. “A career in instrument repair was an absolute passion of mine. When I started only about 6% of women were in the field. And quite frankly, it was a small field,” points out Choplin-Hoover. At my job, I was able and encouraged to attend the University School of the Arts to get my masters in instrument repair technology which I loved,” reflects Choplin-Hoover.

Choplin-Hoover was building a future that allowed her to embrace her passion, but also take care of her son, Elijah (26). “I hadn’t intended to be a single parent, but that’s how it happened, and I wanted to make sure I provided for him,” says Choplin-Hoover. When I was at work at the music store repairing instruments, I was completely immersed in my responsibilities. When I came home to Eli, everything I did revolved around him. It was tough to balance a family and a career. I really enjoyed doing mom things though. I wanted to give him the opportunity to discover his passions too and that involved trying a lot of new things,” mentions Choplin-Hoover. Serendipitously, one of those extracurricular activities let Choplin-Hoover to meeting her future husband, Bruce Hoover. “We got married in 2009 and he has been such a loving and supportive husband,” says Choplin-Hoover. “We met through Tae Kwan Do and were sparing partners before we started dating.”

Choplin-Hoover’s life continued to evolve and change professionally too. “I had decided to open up my own business, Carolina Wind and Brass Repair,” says Choplin-Hoover. “I had purchased everything from the music store I had worked at when they closed down. I coupled managing my store with teaching. In 2007, I began teaching at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. At that point, UNCG didn’t have a curriculum for what I was teaching. I built it all from scratch, including publishing a textbook,” says Choplin-Hoover. “During that time, I spent most of my professional time on my teaching for 12 years. I worked with my own business part time repairing instruments.”

Choplin-Hoover throughout her career never stopped loving being a student herself. “I believe that you should always study and hone your craft. I also believe in paying it forward because I had so many people take the time to do that for me,” reflects Choplin-Hoover. She has been active with the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians, Inc. (NAPBIRT). “I used to attend the conferences they hosted, and now I’m teaching them and holding the trainings for them. It’s a great way to give back what I’ve been given,” says Choplin-Hoover.

Choplin-Hoover finds ways to give through other areas in her life, particularly her church, Clemmons First Baptist. “I’ve always enjoyed being a part of Clemmons First Baptist. I’ve done the choir, participated in missions, and taught classes,” mentions Choplin-Hoover.

Another way that Choplin-Hoover has chosen to give of her talents, is by imparting her wisdom as a self-published author. “I spoke to Brittney Shore who gave me pointers about how to actually do it. I had always had a list of things that would happen someday. This was one of them. I figured at 50, I needed to make some of these somedays into todays. I was shocked when I sent in a manuscript to an online publisher and they offered me a contract,” says Choplin-Hoover. “Book 1 led to book 2. Book 2 led to books 3, 4, and 5. Then, I started to do series from the original books. It really took off,” explains Choplin-Hoover who has completed a total of 14 books.

Choplin-Hoover hasn’t set a limit on the books she intends to write or her journey as a small business owner to continue her passions and inspire others to do the same.