---My first introduction to music was in my home as both of my parents sang and at church, where acapella music was the norm. Later, at the tender age of eight, I auditioned and was selected to become part of a boys choir to sing alongside a symphony orchestra in the large city where we lived. What an experience! I also took the obligatory piano lessons as a youngster and later, as a teenager, spent hours in the garage banging the ivories of an ancient upright and trying to sound like "The Killer" himself--- Jerry Lee Lewis.
---About this time, due to the worldwide folk music craze, I picked up the guitar and taught myself to play and sing to tunes by the Brothers Four, The Limelighters, Bob Dylan and others (the sound box was also a handy hideaway for my Lucky Strikes). I thought that was cool then but fortunately I later saw the real light, not the one at the end of the cigarette, and threw the nasty things away forever.
---Although rock 'n' roll continued to burn deep inside my soul, I traded in my rockabilly keyboard licks for a more sedate position as tenor in my high school acapella choir (although, at times, the neighbors would still have cause to complain about the unrestrained melodies rocketing out of the family garage).
---Those four great high school years culminated in the electrifying experience of singing at the opening ceremonies of the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley, California. I'll never forget how the stormclouds suddenly parted just as the ceremonies were to begin and how an enormous, ethereal shaft of pure sunlight beamed almost magically down through the dark sky upon the multitudes gathered below. The choirs then sang their hearts out with strains of the Olympic Hymn and various anthems as the athletes from all over the world marched in grand procession. And, just as quickly as the sky had parted, when the ceremonies were complete, the stormclouds once again returned and the firmament became dark.
---This fascination and love of music continued to grow and finally manifested itself in the form of casual performance groups during my college years. As a freshman, I was tenor in a quartet singing gospel music over a tiny AM radio station in central Arkansas. The next year I played guitar and sang as a member of a Kingston Trio-type folk group and in later years performed as a solo act and with others at service clubs and organizations as part of a college entertainment troupe.
---As a young father in my twenties, I sang all the time with my two daughters and would serenade them to sleep with my guitar on many a dark night. During this period of time, I also gave guitar lessons to aspiring young students both individually and in classes.
---One particulary satisfying "gig" was with the Yosemite Mountain--Sugar Pine Railway, an enterprise that drew visitors from all over the world. Run by a Swiss couple, it featured an old, full-sized Shay steam locomotive pulling open cars that took people down a mountain on a winding track to a campfire area at the end of the line. That's where I came in. For about an hour each set, two times per night, my dreadnought flattop guitar and I would make the rounds of the 20 or so people from all over the planet gathered around the campfire. I would sing, tell jokes and lead singalongs, etc. until it was certain that everyone had more fun than they had ever thought was possible. After thoroughly laughing themselves silly and stoked with all degrees of merriment, they would gleefully reboard the train, head up the hill and be on their various ways. I was later joined in this venture by a teacher friend of mine who provided delicious vocal harmonies to the musical experience and my eldest daughter also helped out on occasion.
---As choir director at the local elementary school I had the opportunity to teach music theory and performance to my young charges. I was in a period of creativity/songwriting then and my students were always eager to perform my personal compositions in concert. Having the tunes relate to school and making sure they were uptempo usually helped their acceptance.
---During this time I also played weddings, rodeos, local dances and a bar or two. One unforgettable bar gig near Millerton Lake started out in a tame fashion with just a few locals nursing their drafts until the throaty roar of unfettered exhaust noise began to fill the air. As approximately 30 members of the Hell's Angels motorcycle gang poured through the front screen door, the locals quickly vanished and we literally spent the rest of the evening as a band for a private party. Some of the things I saw that night cannot be recounted here due to their graphic nature but I can say the tips were great and we were never hurting for another free mug of spirits.
---Moving to Oregon in 1976, I decided to really pursue the craft and formed the Santiam River Band in 1978. That began a 13-year run of successful bookings from Portland to Eugene and from the mountains to the coast. What a ride! I was doing what I loved to do and getting paid for it! (For more information on the Santiam River Band, see the link below).
---As you can see, music has always been a driving force in my life and continues to be. It's hard to pass by my old Wurlitzer studio model or my new Yamaha PSR-600 without ratcheting out a few runs and chords or to pass by one of my three guitars or the old Fender bass without picking one up and sending a few notes through the air.
---In the past few years, I've expanded my songwriting efforts and now have recorded five CDs of original compositions (approximately 60 songs) on my 8-track digital recorder in my home recording studio. The themes of these compositions include country, classic rock, bluegrass, romatic ballads and gospel.
---Music is always there for you too if you, as the Beatles so aptly stated, "Let It Be." When you're happy, music helps you celebrate; when you're sad, it soothes the aching, troubled soul. It's a force for all seasons and one you should never be without.
---May the melodies of peace and joy fill your soul....
PATERNAL (Masonhall) GENEALOGY
TRAVEL -- The Lure Of The Open Road
SPORTS -- Dave As Referee/Umpire, Coach and Player
SANTIAM RIVER BAND -- Dave's Band Website
SIERRA SWEETHEARTS SOFTBALL TEAM -- Dave's Softball Website
PETUNIA AND ELTON -- Dave's Bygone Buddies