A little about myself

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This page is devoted to introducing myself. I will give a little of my personal history and my interests.

I was born in 1948 and began playing music when I was eight. (Okay, the guitar in the picture was a toy, but that was the toy that sealed my fate.) 

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I wanted to play guitar as early as I can remember. My father played guitar so there was always a guitar around the house and my interest in the guitar began very early. I didn’t pursue music seriously until my late teens. I jioned the Marines in 1966.

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I played guitar constantly while I was in Vietnam with the Marine Corps in 1967 & 1968. Below are two pictures of me in Vietnam.

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The first 5 string banjo player I had ever seen in person was in the late 1960’s. I was fascinated by how fast his fingers moved. It inspired me to take up the banjo. I immediately bought one and taught myself to play. I was in college studying classical guitar, so I was able to apply my musical background to the banjo.

I graduated from college and did some graduate work in jazz guitar while teaching banjo and guitar and playing with some of the local groups. I wrote a regular column for the Banjo Newsletter as well as regular contributions to several other music publications. I began teaching music around 1972. I retired from Boise State University but still continue teaching both  private and group classes at Dunkley Music in Boise, Idaho until 2012, when I completely retired and moved to Arizona.

During the peak of my teaching career, I was teaching a huge volume of students and felt the need for a computer and music software that would reduce my teaching prep time. I bought a PC and found a musical notation program that served my guitar teaching needs, but found nothing that would produce tablature. Most banjo players and an increasing number of guitar players are using tablature, and need a tab that contains the timing stems and beams. My brother had recently retired from the navy where he had served as a computer specialist. I told him what I needed and we began developing TABrite.

Since 1992 TABrite has evolved from a simple DOS version with minimal, basic requirements, to our 4th Windows version. It produces beautiful printout, plays back at any speed with any tuning and creates a .MID file that can be opened and played in other music programs. We marketed TABrite for nine years. When our time restraints became too great, we closed the company and soon after, released TABrite as a free download. It is still available at the Banjo Hangout and Phil Mann's banjo page. 

My last playing experiences have included a duo with a talented vocalist named Carol Meli. We completed a CD of love songs for Valentines Day. On the CD Carol does all of the vocals, including harmony parts and I play all of the instruments.......at the same time! (okay only in the picture.)

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I have been a life-long student of the guitar as well as a teacher. I have had the privilege of studying, privately or in seminars, workshops, clinics and master classes with some of the most renowned players and teachers in the world. Among them are: Christopher Parkening, Oscar Ghilia, Joe Pass, Ted Greene, Stephen King, Barney Kessel, Emily Remler, George Thomason and Johnny Smith.
It has been my pleasure to share the knowledge I have gained with a new generation of enthusiastic guitarists.

July 2002 was the release of Sally Tibb's new CD. I played Guitar with her on the CD.

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One of my passions is the martial arts. I began studying the martial arts as a teenager and continued all of my life. I have studied several styles and stayed active in Taekwondo, where I was an instructor and 4th degree black belt. I retired from teaching and participating in 2011.

Here is a picture taken with some of the regulars from the nearly 150 students in our school. (I am in the front, fourth from the right.)

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This is a picture of some of the instructors in our school. I am on the left rear.

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This is one of my Saturday morning classes shortly before I retired from teaching.

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Dancing is another recent interest I have developed. I am a member of Idaho's High Desert Swing Dance Club. And the USABDA ballroom dancing club. Below is a photo taken at a dance workshop I participated in during the 2001 year. I am on the right, on the second row. (Just my head sticking out. You can't see my two left feet in the picture.)

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This is a picture of me and Alla, my wife. We share a passion for travel. The photo below was taken on vacation in Jamaica in 2002.

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In the Spring of 2003 we vacationed in Paris. This was taken then.

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In early Summer, 2003 we spent a week in New York City. This photo was taken in front of the USS Intrepid.

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During the Summer of 2003 we traveled around Europe. Our first stop was Frankfurt, Germany then on to Dusseldorf and Cologne. This was taken at inside a castle in Dusseldorf.

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We went on to Vienna, Austria where this picture was taken. That is the city where my wife was born.

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This picture and the picture below are from Prague in the Czech Republic.

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This picture was taken in Jamaica on New Years Day 2004. GREAT WAY TO START THE YEAR!

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This picture was taken at the Gaudi Park in Barcelona, Spain on Spring break, March 2004.

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This was also taken in Barcelona in March of 2004. This was on top of the hill near the Olympic Park. Great view of the city!

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This is a picture of me and Alla taken in June of 2004 at the Trevi fountain in Rome.

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Here we are in New Orleans in June of 2004. We are standing on the riverboat dock.

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This is me in front of the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia in June of 2004.

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This photo was taken in Bangkok, Thailand in March, 2005.

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This picture was taken at a coffee shop at the top of Victoria's Peak in Hong Kong, March, 2005.

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This is my wife, Alla at Hong Kong Park, March, 2005.

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This picture was taken on the Colonel Jackson riverboat as we cruised down the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tenn. June, 2005.

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This picture was taken in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil in November of 2005. We are standing in front of the "Christ the Redeemer" statue on top of Corcovado (2,400 feet high.) There is actually quite a far distance between us and the statue. It appears deceptively small in the photo, but is actually 100 feet tall and very impressive. 

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This is another picture from Rio. We are standing atop Sugar Loaf with an incredible view of Copacabana beach. It was a breathtaking view of the city and worth the hair-raising gondola ride to the top of the biggest granite rock we have ever seen.  

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This was the most relaxing moment of the trip. I am sitting at a quiet table at Colombo Cafe on the peninsula that separates Copacabana Beach and Ipanema Beach. We walked half the distance of each beach in 90 degree heat and brutal humidity. Not an easy task since those beaches stretch for miles. Rio has the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen, and more of them than anywhere I have ever been. There are 54 miles of beaches in that city.

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I took this picture on the street in one the oldest section of Buenos Aries, Argentina in November of 2005. It is common to see Tango dancers dancing on the streets of Buenos Aries. The people are proud of their music and dance (Tango originated there.) My wife, Alla is in the left of the picture in the white sweater carrying her shopping bag full of treasures.

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In this picture I am standing in front of the "Woman's Bridge" over the canal in Puerto Madero Buenos Aries. The canal flows through the old warehouse district, now converted into rows of great restaurants serving the finest steaks in the world. Dining in Buenos Aries is one of the best attractions of that city.  

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This is Alla and myself at the Chiang Kai-Shek Memorial Hall in Taipei, Taiwan in April of 2006. (It was a serious rainstorm.)

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This is us in front of the Chinese war memorial in Taipei, Taiwan in April of 2006.

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This is us at the Formosa Hotel in the mountains of the Taroko Gorge National Park in Taiwan in April of 2006.

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This is me in front of the tallest building in the world, Taipei 101 (101 stories high) in Taipei, Taiwan, April, 2006.

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This is me hiking in the Swiss Alps in June 2006.

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This is Alla in the Swiss Alps. The Eiger mountain is in the background.

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Is is the view from the hotel balcony looking over the lake at Bonagon, Switzerland.

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This is me in Frankfurt, Germany in July 2006.

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This is Alla at lunch in Munich, Germany.

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This is the Square in Munich, Germany. The people are celebrating the day after the German team won the game against Argentina, June 2006.

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This is me in front of Motzart in Salzburg, Austria, July, 2006.

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Me in front of St. Basil's church in Moscow's Red Square, June, 2006. That may be the most impressive church I have ever seen.

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This is Alla on the street of Montreal's St. Denis area of town. This was taken on our May, 2007 trip to Canada.

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This was in front of Notre Dame in Montreal during the dame trip.

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This is me in front of some old classic buildings in the Old Montreal section of town.

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This is Alla in the Old Montreal section of town.

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July 2010 - We are in Amsterdam. This is me on the canal where 15 bridges can be seen in different directions from just one position.

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July 2010 - This is me in front of an old windmill in Amsterdam.

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July 2010 - This is a picture of the Mosel river in Germany. I took this photo from our hotel room balcony. There is a beautiful castle on the hill. I hiked there one afternoon. There is a vineyard on the hillside below the castle.

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July 2010 - This is me in front of the fountain in Cochen, Germany. The town is noted for Reisling wine. Everyone for miles around owns a vineyard and the town is dotted with wine bars, wine shops, cafes and narrow streets with great shops everywhere.   

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July 2010 - This is me on the walking and biking path along the Mosel River. Bike riders ride from town to town along the river. The paved path goes for many miles through town after town and past beautiful vineyards. 

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July 2010 - This is my wife, Alla on one of the pedestrian streets of Cochen.

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July 2010 - This is me overlooking the little German town of Oberweisel on the Rhine River.

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July 2010 - I took this picture as we were cruising down the Rhine. The castle where we stayed can be seen on the hilltop. It is the Schoenburg Castle.

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July 2010 - My wife, Alla in the park. The Schoenburg Castle can be seen on the distant hill.

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July 2010 - This is the view from the terrace of our room in the Schoenburg Castle.  

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July 2010 - Schoenburg Castle. I took this picture while we shared our breakfast with several hungry hornets. The view of the gorgeous Rhine and the wonderful food more than made up for the hornets.

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July 2010 - My wife is leaning against the street light having a snack while I take in this pretty scene in La Petit France. It is a section of Strasbourg, France. It is a very pretty city.

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July 2010 - While my wife shopped, I took a quiet stroll alone and walked along the canal in Strasbourg, France. It was peaceful and beautiful. (Much more so than the touristy boat tour I took down the canal.)

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July 2010 - My wife, Alla strolling through the market in Strasbourg, France.

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July 2010 - Alla sitting at a small cafe on a hill just above Bellagio, Italy.

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I took this photo while on a long hike to the top of the mountain above Bellagio, Itlay. That is Lake Como below. Too beautiful for words!

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July - 2010This is on the walkway along Lake Como in the small town of Menaggio, Italy. It is a pretty town and much fewer tourists than Bellagio.

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July 2010 - This is a photo I took from the walk along Lake Como in Menaggio.

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July 2010 - This is me sitting on a park bench by Lake Lugano in Switzerland. We rode there on the edge of our seats in a bus ride that took several years off my life. I decided that bus driver should be the highest paid man in that country and should be allowed to retire to the funny farm by age 35.

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This may be the most picture-perfect city I have ever seen. It is a small former fishing village turned tourist resort. It is called Varenna. It is on Lake Come only a 15 minute boat ride from Bellagio or Menaggio. It was my favorite place in Northern Italy. I took a wonderful private watercolor panting lesson from a renowned Italian painter. She didn't speak a word of English, but she managed to get me through a nice watercolor of a Varenna scene. This picture has Alla wandering along the lakefront.

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July 2010 - Here I am following Alla along the walk in Varenna, Italy.

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July 2010 - Me enjoying a glass of wine in a lake side cafe in Varenna, Italy.  

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July 2010 - In the shadow in the front of the picture is my wife, Alla. We are having lunch at a Como Lake side cafe in Varenna, Italy

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July 2010 - I took this picture from the terrace of our room in Varenna, Italy. The moon is just getting ready to go behind the mountains over beautiful Lake Como. The picture does not do justice to the beauty. You need to see it in person.

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July 2010 - This is Alla at breakfast in our Hotel restaurant in Varenna, Italy.  

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July 2010 - This is an all-day Italian cooking class in Esino, Italy. It is a small town of 105 people (most are related to the chef) located at the top of the mountain above Varenna. Alla is stirring the pot. She did that in more ways than one that day. She suggested to the teacher that he would save time if he microwaved the potatoes. I think microwave is a word that is never spoken amoung Italian chefs. He teased and tormented her for the rest of the day. We learned to make Risota, Pasta, Tortiloni, Pasta Sauce, Pizza crust and Tiramisu. We cooked, ate, drank, laughed and had a wonderful time. It was the only day that it rained along Lake Como, so it was a perfect time to be in cooking class.

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July 2010 - This is a photo I took from the terrace of our room in Varenna, Italy.

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July - This is me on the promenade along Lake Como in Varenna, Italy.

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