Music and Me

Music has been a part of my life since my earliest memories.  I remember sitting on the piano bench with my mother while she played and I sang “You are my Sunshine”.  I get so much pleasure out of that now looking back on my musical life and I’m sure that she got a lot of pleasure out of knowing that her son could carry a tune and even more that I loved to sing.  I don’t think she could’ve ever dream’t of how important music would be in my life.

I really enjoyed grade school music and I played Tom Sawyer in the six grade play and I remember that I had a couple solos and that I also sang in the church school programs.  My first experience with stringed instruments was my 5th grade music teacher who was from the Phillipines.  He played the Uke during music class, and I bought a plastic one that year and learned to play it myself.

Here’s the story of the 1923 sterling silver and gold inlaid King Silvertone trumpet. My grandfather bought this trumpet from Norm VanBrocklin’s (Quarterback for the NY Giants) father who owned a jewelry store in Griswold in the 30s. He was going out of business and that’s when my grandfather up purchased this beautiful instrument. My dad played it and he and the band traveled all over the United States.  The plaques that they won are displayed in the Griswold Museum.   My grandmother I understand made most of the uniforms that they wore.

In fifth grade you are able to start band we all took an aptitude test and I remember how excited I was because I scored perfectly on every part of it.  I couldn’t wait to play that trumpet so I took the aptitude test home and I was crushed when my Dad said that fifth grade is too young to start band and I had to wait a year. This frustrated me.  However, I really had the desire and wasn’t afraid to teach myself anything, so whenever I was alone in the house I got out the trumpet and taught myself to play.  The next summer Dad (who wanted to show off this prize trumpet) took me to my first lesson and after telling the band director the story of the trumpet, the director told me to try and blow a note.  So  I took the  beginners book flipped it to the back page and played the song straight through.  The director said that he guessed that there will be more added to the history of that trumpet.  And there was.

I started playing in the high school band when I was in Jr. High and as soon as I got to High School I played 1st chair.  My favorite memories were of playing solos in the jazz band and almost every concert I had a solo with the selections.

My brother Chris started the guitar saga.  We saw a guitar for sale in one of  the downtown store windows.  Chris bought the guitar for $13.  He tried but couldn’t play it. I bought it from him for nine dollars worked on the bridge and made it playable and sold it back to him for $11.  I took that money and added $9 to it and bought a flat top folk guitar from a pawnshop in Des Moines. I loved it and really played it, but then I wanted an electric and so I bought a red, electric, Harmony single pick up single cutaway hollow body guitar that I still have. I also bought are used Fender 12″ tweed covered tube amp. I wish I still had that amp.

In 1964 I decided that we needed to get a band together and the first band we had were called the Rogues. Our first gig was in Grant Iowa and we split $20 we only knew about  10 songs and we just played them over and over again. Sad thing was the next night two of the band members were killed in a car accident. We lost another one to a car accident about nine months later and I’m the only one left alive from that first band.

I then decided to start a band with Chris he played bass I play rhythm guitar Terry Drake played lead and Scott Erickson played drums. We called ourselves the Gude Tymz IV . We were pretty good and had fun practicing in our garage I wonder if the neighbors are enjoyed it as much as we did. I can’t believe my Dad allowed all that much noise on a Sunday afternoon.  We played a few gigs around the area there is a dance every Saturday night every little town and the most we ever got paid was 75 bucks

Our claim to fame was in 1967 at my senior prom the band didn’t show up and So I went home got my brother out of bed and we played the night it was pretty exciting and I attached a picture of that night I’m not sure what I thought my date thought of it but I was out of sight excited to play the really great news was that we got $150 which they would’ve paid the other band and that was the most we ever received

After high school I never played in a band again but I played a lot of folk guitar at the fraternity on our serenades of the sororities

I continue to play often on throughout my life until finally contemporary worship entered the churches and I started the first contemporary worship at Grace Methodist Church and Spencer in 1995. I really loved playing even though it was hard to put together a band but we did the best we could.  When I left the Methodist church we went to DaySpring Assembly and  I played guitar and then the piano we had fantastic worship music there Barb VanWyk was the leader and it was a good band. My claim to fame there was that I broke two strings on the grand piano I guess I played a little too hard. I’ve continued to play in church bands from there on I believe if I had the opportunity I would play every day if that was possible because I think I get the most joy out of doing that more than anything else.




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