Small-town music man
by Randy Dary
I began guitar on an old Stella when I was 16. I played trombone in school so knew how to read music. I learned by myself that summer with a Nick Manoloff method book.
About that time, Peter, Paul and Mary were popular. I heard that one of them had training as a "classical guitarist", whatever that was! In college, at the U of Washington in Seattle, there was no guitar teacher, but in the business area there was a wonderful guitar shop.
I think it was called University Music center. The man who owned it scared me somewhat! He did not, as they say, suffer fools gladly. But I think he saw that I was genuinely curious and interested, as I would look through his music stacks and envy his guitars.
Eventually I did buy one from him. It was a decent guitar; not great but a classical guitar. I wish I had kept it!
After a lot of self-teaching, in 1972 I studied with Dr William Johnson at Pacific Lutheran U. Dr Johnson was a math prof there! But he had studied with 2 of The Romeros. I learned a great, great deal of technique from him, and some great basic literature also.
In the many years since then I have been a music teacher and play the guitar often with my classes. I played for a few years in a restaurant, and added some show tunes, jazz, pop and other "easy listening" repertoire to my classical.
The guitar began as just a personal interest for me. I had no intention at first of "performing" with it, but that is what I have done, and I am happy that people have enjoyed it.
I arranged several old hymns which my Lutheran mother enjoyed hearing during her last years. I have especially enjoyed, on 3 different all-too-short occasions in my life, playing duets with other guitarists. Sometimes I have also played with other instruments.
If I could change my life in one good way, I would get back to actually practicing more on the classical repertoire, even if just for my own enjoyment. For now, it is still there, still an important part of my life.