Born November 5, 1919 at Webster, S. Dak. Lived on a farm until 1938. Attended Augustana College in Sioux Falls for two years. Taught accordion for Williams Piano Company and in own studios from 1939 until 1943. Then joined USO Camp Shows and toured with Hank Ladd and Don Rice in the European theater of operations.
Has played accordion since first grade by only on piano accordion since 1938. No formal training on the instrument. Music training consists of 10 lessons on piano from Walther. Pfitzner of Minneapolis where first encouragement was gained to follow music as a profession. Studied music in college and later arranging under Carl Hohengarten of St. Louis. This study is continuing now.
Started on KSOO in Sioux Falls in 1939 with two daily solo programs, on early morning and at noon. Both shows sponsored until he left for St. Louis in 1946 and except for a leave of absence to tour camp shows. Now appearing on the Ozark Valley folks show heard daily over the Mutual Broadcasting System on some 300 stations. On this show he plays solos and also with the Buckeye Four, long a popular folk music group on the Mutual Network.
Likes to compose original songs and arrangements of old songs. A terrific showman on the instrument. Can sell to any crowd. Plays both Novelty and Classical with accent on show numbers. Arrangements are made with the idea in mind of creating an immediate impression of something different to the audience. Lawrence Welk was very much impressed with the originality of a number of polkas written by him and is working at the present time on arrangements of the tunes to be used with the band.
Has been in radio ten years and likes it very much, but the biggest kick is playing for an audience whether large or small. Each audience is another most welcome job to be done and any audience can testify that he loves to entertain. Seeing an audience is 90% of the fun and watching their reactions of various members is an increasingly interesting pastime.
Ambition? No immediate goal in site, but just to play more and better for more and more people. The future will take care of itself. Hobby? Music I guess.
The Classical Free-Reed, Inc. staff gratefully acknowledges volunteer Benjamin Lang who assisted in the production of this article, as well as Stanley Darrow and the comprehensive American Accordion Musicological Society library.
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