Tell Us Your
Joe’s M.I.L.L. Story

Share a story on how Joe’S M.I.L.L. has impacted you, your family, friends and connections within the Kingston community.



  1. Having learned trumpet basics at school, my 13 year old son then borrowed a trombone from the MILL and was able to figure out slide positions enough to lay down some harmony horn parts on his home recording projects. It was great to hear him playing ‘bone around the house! The MILL makes this kind of thing happen.

  2. My 7 year old wanted to take piano lessons and we did not have a keyboard for him to use. I was reluctant to have him pursue piano without a keyboard. We have been borrowing a keyboard from MILL and discovered that the boy is very musical and LOVES playing piano. Thank you so much. Without MILL we might not have known about his passion for playing.

  3. I have nothing but praise for JOE’S MILL and Roger Eccleston particularly. This is a fabulous facility which Roger maintains with verve and enthusiasm. Not only do you come away with an instrument, he always has recommendations for trying other things, and can generally demonstrate how to play them – when time and line-ups permit of course. I have never seen Joe’s MILL quiet though and this in itself is a tribute to the library.

    I have 2 kids playing a trumpet from Joe’s MILL. They can both get a tune out of it and I am very thankful that Joe’s is nearby and more importantly free!

    I’ve seen all sorts of borrowers and it is good to see so many young people trying to play instruments.

    Joe’s MILL is a star facility and Roger is a great librarian.

  4. When my son started Grade 7, he needed to choose and instrument for music and wanted to try the Saxophone. I wasn’t sure, as I’d heard it was a very difficult instrument to learn. Someone suggested we borrow one from Joe’s MILL. We were amazed at the selection of available instruments and borrowed a sax for a month. He loved it and it convinced us to invest in buying him a used on from a local musician. He is now in Grade 9 and still loves it. We can’t say enough good things about this wonderful place. We’ve been back a few times to borrow other instruments to try. Roger is a lovely person to deal with and obviously loves what he does.

  5. We began using the lending library last year when we returned to the Kingston area. My son and daughter have both benefited from borrowing instruments that we would otherwise not be exposed to, on the limited budget of a single mom. This year, in lieu of guests bringing presents to my daughter’s Birthday party, we opted to request donations for Joe’s MILL. We raised over $80 in the hopes that other children could continue to benefit from this amazing program.

    PS~ Roger is fantastic and we have always appreciated his excellent instruction and enthusiastic manner.

    Keep up the good work!

    Sydney, Victor and Kim

  6. Joe’s MILL is a great concept and is well served by Roger, who is very welcoming and helpful. I borrowed a sax in order to learn it at the La Salle Adult Band class, and quickly found out that my neck and back can’t take the weight. This is great because I didn’t waste a lot of time or money trying to buy myself a student model. Next on my list are the oboe, or possibly the trumpet – I feel like a kid in a candy shop, and it’s all free! Thanks very much,

    Patty Smith

  7. I am at the tail end of my university career and though I major in drama, music has always been a consistent part of my life. I had a band in high school and wished to continue playing in one, so when my friend and I started our two-piece (eventually a 3-piece) we relied heavily on Joe’s Mill to help us with gear that allowed us to practice. Now our band is fully functional, playing gigs with touring bands at local bars, recording, and helping out when we can with the Queen’s campus. We still have the original bass drum head we used, broke, and then replaced. It hangs on my wall now as a symbol of our early, humble beginnings. And we owe much of our early, humble beginnings to Joe’s Mill. Thank you!

    Paul (Sweet Jets)

  8. One of my sons expressed an interest in learning the violin. He started lessons with a violin borrowed from the M.I.L.L. After seeing that he was enjoying it and wanted to continue, we received a violin from one of my relatives and returned the borrowed one.

    The other son plays piano. When I was out of town and the boys were staying with friends, we were able to borrow a keyboard from the M.I.L.L. so that he could continue to practice for his performance at the Kiwanis festival, where he received top marks!

    We have appreciated Roger’s warmth, humour, wide knowledge and experience in things musical, and his obvious passion in spreading the joy of music.

  9. Borrowing one of your drum kits (a few times 🙂 — thank you!) was a very helpful way to learn how much I love playing the drums! Very inspiring and convenient.

    A fantastic service.

  10. Well let’s see, what haven’t we borrowed from Joe’s M.I.L.L.? I can’t say there’d be much unless they just got it in! It’s been a family affair too, each of us has borrowed at least one instrument at one time or another. There’s been, electric guitars, banjos, glockenspiels, drum kits, strumsticks and a bass guitar, and we’ll be back for more!

    It’s been fabulous to see my son experience each instrument in his own way. We could never have exposed him to so many different instruments any other way.

    Thank you Roger and the M.I.L.L. for having such a wonderful program!

  11. I know this song that’s finger picked, and I went to Joe’s Mill to look for an acustic guitar and Roger found a great guitar that made that song sound butiful! I won first at the Kingston Kiwanis Music Festival! Thanks to Joe’s Mill.

  12. I am thankful for Joe’s Mill for a number of reasons, I was a friend of Wally High’s (rest his soul), the founder of this great invention, I have used the library myself, and I have another friend who was a friend of Joe’s and he introduced us once. He must have been a very special person to have inspired such a great local treasure.

    Also, Roger is an integral part of the libraries success, his energy and enthusiasim are contagious.

    My personal use of the library inspired me to get pickups on my own guitar and am now ‘electrified’. Thanks to the library I was able to experience first hand what I had been missing.

    Thank you to all for this institution, it plays an important part in the community.

    S. Walker

  13. Thanks in large part to Joe’s M.I.L.L., our son Joseph won the Grade 8 music award at Module Vanier at his graduation this June. Over the past few years, Joseph & his brother have borrowed a trumpet, several violins, a viola, a clarinet and a flute.
    It is such a wonderful thing to be able to have access to all of these, and its always a pleasure to make our monthly visit to Roger.

  14. The M.I.L.L is my favourite place in Kingston! I have borrowed a banjo there a couple times, along with an instruction booklet, and ended up buying a banjo of my own this summer because of it! I also borrowed an accordion once, just for fun. The best though, was when I was playing Spring Awakening at Queen’s and needed an electric bass, since mine was all the way in NS, and the M.I.L.L. let me have one, along with an amp, for the whole term. 🙂

  15. Our family has been using Joe’s MILL since it opened. We regularly have an instrument or two from there at home. It is a fantastic resource for people to be able to try new instruments. After trying a few drum kits, one son saved money to buy his own. We had a trumpet regularly last year for my other son to be able to be in a school music program. We have also been able to donate a few instruments over the years, Roger does an excellent job of maintaining the instruments, finding or suggesting the right instrument for people, and making sure that people treat them well!

  16. Without Joe’s M.I.L.L. I would have never learnt to play the drums, plain and simple. Being able to take out a kit for a couple months and bang away on it really opened me up to a whole new way of making music (me being a guitarist already). I’ll never forget what Roger said as he handed me my first set of drumsticks when I signed it out: “You have to bring everything back, but if you bring these sticks back I’ll be very disappointed because it means you weren’t playing them hard enough.” Needless to say he never got them back (I sort of broke them with the power of rock!).
    Besides me personally learning to play the drums, I can’t count the number of times Roger and the M.I.L.L. saved me and my bands from being drumset-less over the last year and a half. Without him we never would have been able to open for a bunch of bands at the Mansion, or compete in the Clark Hall Battle of the Bands. Being free and open to everyone, this is really one of the best things Kingston has going and I make sure to tell everyone I know about it. On behalf of both the bands Sex Ray Vision and The 10 O’Clock People, we say thanks!

    Colin Richards

  17. Your library has given my son a wonderful experience playing the violin from your library
    I also know many music students from sharbot lake who would never have got the opportunity to play without you do thank you

  18. I’m a big fan of the very unique Music Lending Library, and have borrowed many different instruments. It’s an excellent way to find out which instruments work best for each individual . It must be very satisfying for Roger since he puts a smile on so many people’s faces.

    Dave Workman

  19. The Boys and Girls Club has borrowed several instruments to start up a music program with our members. It is amazing to see because some participants are getting their first introduction to music while some of our older members are able to enhance their skills (and help the young ones). We also use the instruments for sing along program for the really young ones. Without Joe’s M.I.L.L. these programs wouldn’t be possible.

  20. When our son signed up to play clarinet in his school band, we borrowed one from Joe’s prior to the school instruments arriving. It meant he could noodle around on a clarinet, and when the school instruments arrived, he already could make a few notes! A small thing, but it made a big difference to his confidence. We’ve also borrowed a guitar and a trombone. I love this service — what a great thing to have in our community!

  21. Two years ago my family and I moved to Kingston from Durham region. We came from an area where music was a portion of the school curriculum from kindergarten up to grade 8. Coming to Kingston, I was surprised and saddened by the fact that music is not introduced until grade 7. It appears in Kingston that parents who wish to have their children learn instruments earlier are expected to pay for private lessons. Given the price of lessons and the need to practice it makes purchasing an instrument very difficult. We used the lending library for my daughter Meghan as she was interested in taking guitar lessons. The lending library is an excellent resource for children to see if a certain instrument is well suited for their use and is risk free. I feel very privileged to have the library in Kingston. I believe Kingston children should not be disadvantaged due to a curriculum decision and families that cannot afford an instrument should not be lacking.

  22. I have rented many instruments from Joe’s MILL. In a very dreary winter last year I fell in love with some Appalachian folk recordings- in particular the ineffable open-aired hinterland beauty of clawhammer banjo. I’m a seasoned guitar player, and immediately yearned to get my hands on a banjo to try out. As a student at the time there was no way to afford a rental or to buy one. I went to Joe’s and instantly when I got home I fell in love with the instrument. I can’t describe the amount of enjoyment I got out of the sound it created, and it provided endless comfort through a difficult winter. Now I have my very own banjo and I take it everywhere with me. Really, Joe’s MILL is responsible for a true musical love story. This place provides an invaluable service by lending the gift of music to people who need it most

  23. I heard of Joe’s MILL from a good friend and simply didn’t believe it to exist at first. It was truly amazing to walk into that warm, encouraging environment. Experimenting with different guitars has been a real help in many ways.

    The selfless people who have continued this inspiring dream have made a strong impact that transcends music. They have inspired others to be kind, virtuous people.

    Thank you!

  24. As a full time guitar instructor and music school owner, the M.I.L.L has had a huge impact on life for me. I see many kids who want to learn to play guitar but their parents simply can not afford to buy one right away or they are forced to make a choice between buying the guitar or taking the lessons. When I tell them about the M.I.L.L. they are so excited and then they are able to continue lessons with a decent instrument. I hold Joe’s M.I.L.L. in the highest regard and I can assure you that the work they do has a very positive effect on Kingston. I have been fortunate to meet many of the people involved and they are all fantastic. Joe’s M.I.L.L. rocks!!!!!!

  25. Joe’s M.I.L.L. is a gem. I borrowed an organet and viola to use in a Queen’s Musical Theatre show last year and was impressed by the professional and welcoming atmosphere maintained at the M.I.L.L. What an amazing resource. It is the only organization that makes it possible for all Kingston residents to learn a new instrument or even to discover music for the first time. We are truly lucky to have Joe’s M.I.L.L. in Kingston.

  26. As a first-year student at Queen’s University I was unable to bring most of my instruments to school due to the lack of space in residence. Luckily I found out about the M.I.L.L. early on and I was able to keep up with most of the instruments I had left at home. I am now in second year and am a member of the Clark Hall Pub House Band. We open for touring bands that come through town, play at Clark nearly every week, and were privileged enough to be the opening act at Sci Formal this year. I am lucky enough to consistently be able to use a bass and a bass amp from the M.I.L.L. at our shows. The M.I.L.L. has always had an easy-going and positive environment that makes everyone feel welcome. On behalf of Mountain City, thanks to Roger and friends for all of your kindness and assistance. Joe’s M.I.L.L. truly is a magical place.

  27. I’m honoured and delighted to be asked to say a few words about how Joe’s MILL has made a difference in my life and my role in this community.

    As a working musician on a fixed income, it would never have been possible to buy, or event rent the variety and number of musical instruments I’ve borrowed from Joe’s MILL over the years. I’ve broadened my musical horizons, learned to play multiple instruments and become a resource to many bands, clubs and charities in the community as a result. I’ve also had the ability to provide instruments for new performers who support various local events that I’ve organized over the years. All at no cost to them, myself or the various establishments we’ve patronized. The MILL has also provided instruments and equipment for many benefit concerts and fundraisers that I’ve been involved with organizing, allowing me to deliver more of our proceeds to the causes we work for.

    If Joe’s MILL can do all this for an already musically proficient adult, I can only imagine what they can offer a young person just discovering their love of music for the first time!

  28. What an incredible unique and life-enriching facility Joe’s MILL is. I would say its one of the highlights of living in Kingston overall. Where else can you borrow an instrument you’ve always dreamed of playing, but never had the chance? I particularly benefitted a great deal from the privilege of borrowing a cello- something I always wanted to try very much. This opportunity brought incredible value into my life, and confirmed that I need to find the funds to invest in one for myself. Roger has been such a pleasure to deal with as well. I truly appreciate his generosity and kind spirit.
    Thank you so much for everything!

  29. I started playing the Trombone in Grade 7, and i was able to win the grade 8 Vanier music award through Joe’s mill with an instrument I would not have been able to rent anywhere else. My family has also borrowed a number of violins, a viola, a flute, and a glockenspiel. It is fantastic to have access to all of these instruments, and I do not know what I would do without it.

  30. I have been borrowing a great violin from Joe’s MILL for a long time. It’s allowed me to keep taking lessons from my wonderful teacher, Danielle Lennon, without needing to buy a new violin every time I grow! Many of my friends from Mulberry Waldorf School have also borrowed violins from Joe’s MILL for our violin class at school. I just turned 11, and for my party, we asked friends to consider giving money instead of a gift – part to go to Joe’s MILL and part to put towards saving for a full-size violin when I am big enough for one. Everyone was very excited about supporting the MILL because it is a great service to our community and because music is even more awesome when it is free to everyone. We were able to make a donation of $145.00 thanks to everyone’s generosity. Thanks Joe’s MILL!!!

  31. I just wanted to say a big thanks to Joe’s M.I.L.L for donating three guitars to Peers of the Roundtable, a mental health peer support centre in Kingston. Through our music group at Peers, we’ve seen the guitars get some great use over the past couple of months. They are in someone’s hands literally each time we walk through the door! And also, because Roger has offered us an add’l guitar (one more than what was needed at Peers of the Roundtable), we were able to donate that guitar to the In From the Cold shelter. I had a fantastic experience of taking the guitar over later in the evening one night, and one gentleman (a resident of the shelter) sat down and made that guitar sing. He had been a performer most of his life, though had fallen out-of-practice in recent years, and did an impromptu set of East Coast tunes for anyone within earshot. It was a pretty awesome sight to see (and hear).

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