My father was a musician who played 9 different instruments, had his own band and radio show in our hometown of Savannah GA and encouraged me to develop my own musical talent. I started taking lessons at age 11, and after about 5 years of lessons, I began learning on my own. Unfortunately, accordions did not have the acceptance in the South that one sees in areas like Minnesota, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and other areas with large immigrant populations from cultures which have typically accepted and promoted accordion music. Though I still loved the instrument, my interest waned and for many years I would only play occasionally, and then mainly for my own pleasure.
Around 2009, after many years of working as a professional in the insurance, advertising and sales fields, a strong sense of boredom settled on me, and I began to search for another way in which I could express myself. I recalled my former joy at playing the accordion, and though I also began to play the guitar, I spent more and more of my spare time practicing the accordion and enlarging my repertoire.
I wondered who would want to hear the accordion music that most of my peers did not seem to embrace. I realized that folks in assisted and independent living facilities were of an age to fondly remember Lawrence Welk, Dick Contino, Myron Floren and the players and singers of music from that era, and they might enjoy hearing that music once again. As I contacted these facilities, I was received by the residents with a wonderful sense that I was recreating beautiful memories for them,
and so I began to focus on the music from the 1920s through the 1950s, much of which they had not heard in a very long time.
Also in 2009 I went through a divorce and my sister Cynthia, who had moved from Georgia to California in 1972, invited me to "go west, young man" and make a new life in the Golden State, and so, "California Here I Come" became my theme song.
Arriving in January of 2010, I began contacting many of the "eldercare" facilities such as Eskaton, and found the same enthusiastic welcome from the residents here that I enjoyed in Georgia.
In addition to playing for an older population, I also have been a paid performer and a volunteer at festivals such as Cornish Christmas and Victorian Christmas, the Foothills Celebration, the Meadow Vista Oktoberfest and fundraisers for the Citrus Heights Marching Band, the 2013 Irish Ceili (party) held at the Unitarian Universalist church in Grass Valley and at Hospitality House gatherings (soon to be Utah’s House) to help the homeless.
I am blessed to be on the way to being self-supporting as a musician, to having started an accordion group here in Grass Valley, to be in a relationship with a wonderful woman who is very supportive of my musical ambitions (thank you, Sue!), and to be a member of a spiritual family at Unitarian Universalist Community of the Mountains which encourages me to work as a volunteer with some wonderful organizations through whom my music can make a difference in the cause of social justice.