Born during World War II, we both experienced the sadness of family separation
as our fathers served our country.
However, we were raised in extended families with many aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
Anne has four siblings, and I (Gary) have one brother.
Creativity in the form
of music and the written word was greatly valued in our homes. The wonder of stories read
to us in front of the fireplace with cider and popcorn still hold a special warmth in the
memories of our early years. Music in all forms (opera, big band, hymns, etc.) was always
played in our homes.
Our parents also introduced us to the fun of a variety of arts and craft experiences, and
mechanical construction projects were always under way. But possibly more important, a
problem was seen as a challenge, using creative approaches to discover its resolution.
Church activities were a important with participation in choirs, Sunday School,
youth groups and community projects. Anne's family was active in volunteer work at
hospitals and schools.
During the school years, I (Gary) studied clarinet, and
Anne practiced her piano. Later, she had the opportunity to work with her childhood
fantasy, the harp. We also played in school bands, orchestras, and choirs.
During our teen years, we failed to excel at sports and academics, and music became our
major tool for feeling our worth. However, when we started college and chose our
professions, we moved in other directions. Since Anne was attracted to teaching, she
studied elementary education. I explored my creativity in radio and television production.
I also played in the Michigan State Marching, Concert, and Lab Bands along with earning my
spending money by maintaining an 18 piece dance band.
After college, Anne began teaching, and I went to work as Supervisor of Recording at the
Interlochen Center for the Arts at Interlochen, MI. We discovered each other in the
Traverse City Symphony where I was playing clarinet and she was a percussionist.
After our marriage, we wanted new directions for our occupational venturing, and we
returned for master's degrees. Anne received her's in Special Education for the Learning
Disabled and Emotionally Impaired and mine was in Guidance and Personal Services.
Anne resumed her teaching, and I worked as the Rehabilitation Therapist at our mental
health center. We also started our family. Of course, we carried on the tradition given to
us by our parents and grandparents and exposed our children to the universal language of
the arts and various church, scouting, sports and community volunteering (hospitals,
Our life style continued to change when we studied with Neil Lamper, a gestalt
psychologist. He opened our eyes, and ears to the world around us, and we subsequently
found ourselves investing in 30 beautiful isolated acres of water, woods and meadow. We
built our own home, went back to the land and explored our self-sufficiency. (pictures
and story of our homestead)
We also began a private counseling practice which was our profession for 18 years.
The same concepts we were sharing with our clients caused growth for us as we
continually worked the edge of our own creative risks and discovered more of our own
Then, in 1985, a musical experience caused a major change in our directions. Dr.
my college band director, asked me to join him and other alums in a concert tour of his
homeland, Italy. Percussionists were also needed, so Anne joined the ensemble. Dr. Falcone
died two months before we left, and the tour continued in his name, giving it perhaps even
more purpose. I am not sure what had more impact, the response of the Italian people to
our music or the sharing that occurred with our fellow musicians, but we came home with
new awarenesses of beauty, culture, heritage, and a developing warmth within ourselves. We
knew we had to do something more with our music.
About that time, we were attracted to the resurgence of folk music. I wanted a hammer
dulcimer. So we went to the Wheatland Music Festival to buy the dulcimer, and the
lutherist also made folk harps. So Anne was reunited with her childhood fantasy of the
harp, and we both went home that day, much poorer in pocket book, but richer in our lives.
Two months later, we made our first public appearance in church Christmas Eve. The rest is
history. Soon, the phone began ringing for weddings, festivals and other events and we now
refer to ourselves as "professional musicians."
People asked if we had a cassette to sell. Not being one to pass up an opportunity, I
utilized my Interlochen experience and we produced our first recording. Now, a dozen years
later, we have released 16 recordings and travel the Mid-West doing concerts, appearances
and workshops. Last year, our high point was the sale of our 250,000th recording.
We have now reached a point in our lives where we qualify for senior citizen discounts,
and we feel like we are just getting started. The contacts we have with our patrons
culminate in many wonderful and warm feelings. Communing with our fellow artists and
musicians always reminds us of the potential to be found in sharing the creative process.
Recently, we completed the requirements for certification as Music
Practitioners. We now offer a free ministry of music at the bedside
for the purpose of healing and transition to all residents of our community. We have always been attracted to the
healing qualities of music for our own growth and maintenance. Therefore this
progression for sharing our talents with others seems to be quite logical and meaningful
at this point in our lives.
In 1998 Anne had the opportunity to return to her teaching and has spent five
years integrating special education students into the regular classroom.
She will be joining the School of Education faculty at Central Michigan
University this fall and will be supervising their student teachers.
Now, we are ready to move in some new directions.
We hope to take our music and stories south to work with the retirement
communities. We will also continue our volunteer efforts offering our
creativity and music to hospice patients, nursing homes, jails and prisons,
schools, and programs serving those with disabilities
(click here for information on these services).
Our Kids and Grandkids
For those of you who have followed our family through the years. This
will bring you up to date.
We feel especially lucky to have both our
children living an hour from us to enjoy and act as our support in our lives.
Jenn (our daughter) gave birth to premature twins who have
now reached the wonderful age of 15. It is a gift to be the recipient of their joy from the
distance of grand parenting rather than parenting.
The tradition of music is being established in
another generation. Alyshia has followed her grandfather's passion and
is studying clarinet. Jessup inherited his Uncle Michael's baritone and
loves explore and learn new music.
They also have a 11 year old
brother (Kaleb - has just started baritone) that enjoys hiding very important things from his grandfather and being
"helper" for his grandmother.
Jenn remarried, and with her husband, Cliff, gave us Weston, who is
5. The last addition is 2 year old Annie Jane, named after her
grandmother and great grandmother.
Michael (our son) completed his training at the Michigan Career and Technical Institute
and moved into his own apartment. He just passed his 28th year and is now the proud
owner of a 1985 Chevy pickup and a boat for fishing. He works for a
local landscaper, mowing grass, planting trees, installing drip irrigation
systems, etc. and during the winter, he plows snow.
He enjoys fishing, hunting, helping
others, and driving his truck. He brings home his 6' 7", 340# frame once
in a while to take care of all the never - ending maintenance work around the
place. He is proof that a non reading, severely learning disabled person
can be independent with a "little" help from his sister and parents. The
journey to that point was often frustrating and heartbreaking, but well worth