1988 Guild of American Luthiers
11th Convention/Exhibition

Overview | Presenters | Music | Exhibition | Auction | Miscellaneous | Open House | Staff & Helpers

It wasn't the biggest, but in many ways, it was our best convention ever. Those of you who were scared off by the remote location made a big mistake! As always, we enjoyed great lectures, good music, a chance to see and hear each other's beautiful and innovative work close up, and the special brand of camaraderie that prevails when a group of like minded people come together in an informal situation for their mutual joy and bene¬fit. And anyway, it wasn't that small. We had 200 people and 35 exhibits.

Even in this, our largest issue ever, I can only squeeze out one page to tell you how great it all was. Mostly, the pictures, letters, and lecture transcriptions will have to speak for themselves.

A couple things stand out about this year's convention. One was the especially high number of suppliers in attendance, creating wonderful opportunities for makers to hand pick the quality materials they need. Reports indicate that both buyers and sellers were happy with this arrangement.

Then there was the Shrine to Music Museum. The inestimable benefit of having access to this truly world class collection was summed up by Mike Keller's comment: “Will the Museum be open this afternoon? And will drool cups be provided?” The Museum was also a first class host to the Guild, encouraging us to bring as many of our events as possible to the museum itself, and remaining open special long hours for our benefit. Our heartfelt thanks and respect go to Museum Director Andre Larson for all the hard work and resources he allocated to making our visit the enjoyable, memorable, and informative one it was.

No resource could be more valuable than the tireless efforts of the ever-cheerful Joe Johnson, the Museum Educator, luthier, and Guild member whose bright idea it was to have the convention in Vermillion, who diligently solved problems and cleared away red tape, and who turned all our dreams to reality. What a great guy!

We also wish to extend our gratitude to the University of South Dakota, whose excellent facil¬ities, friendly staff, and relaxed small town attitude made our stay especially enjoyable.

We were happy to recognize a new contingent of ten year members at our opening banquet picnic, as well as introducing our lecturers, hosts, and Directors. A drawing of picnic ticket stubs awarded Guild t-shirts to Don Teeter and Brett Borton. The food was great, as Bon will attest on page 45. A good crowd of 166 persons attended.

As well as the lecturers described in the picture caption, several smaller discussion groups were held. I list them here, with their discussion leaders: Wood dealer Bruce Harvey – harvesting tone woods. R.E. Brune - classic guitar market. Gila Eban - guitar listening. John Snell - cases. Cabell Fearn - inlay techniques. Geary Baese - making fused amber varnish.

Every day during dinner time, the indefatig¬able Joe Johnson would take two separate groups of conventioneers on an hour long guided tour of the museum's entire display. Robert Lundberg also gave a special two hour tour of the Museum's Witten-Rawlins collection.

Todd Brotherton managed the Guild's benefit auction for the third time this year, with the able assistance of Jonathon Peterson. Adjustments to the auction scheme resulted in the smoothest running, fastest paced session ever.

The Annual Meeting of the corporation occur¬red Sunday morning in Larson Hall. The Board's Treasurer, Deb Olsen, opened the meeting by calling for a round of applause for the many volunteers behind the scenes of the convention as well as the more visible lecturers. (Special men¬tion must here be made of Todd Brotherton, who is the very personification of stalwart, dependable volunteerism, as well as Directors Bon Henderson and Gila Eban and staffer Jon Peterson. Our special thanks also to volunteer photograpers Tom Broneiki and Chilton Gregory.) She then gave a brief report of convention statistics, including the good news that the convention's income more than equalled its costs. Deb went over the 1897 balance sheet, and gave a very upbeat summary of the state of the Guild.

American Lutherie and how it differs from commercial magazines was the next subject of dis¬cussion. Deb encouraged all members to take along tape recorders when they visit other members and capture interviews to send in for publication. As always, it was stressed that the members control the balance of subjects that appear in AL by what
they submit for publication. The members affirmed that they wish to see a full range for instruments and periods covered in AL.

Some comments that came from the members at the meeting: We should purchase a wireless micro¬phone to improve the quality of PA at conventions. This is especially needed for shy, soft speakers and for those roaming to and from blackboards. A moderate dues increase would be completely accept¬able. Our current rate structure for conventions is considered cheap, and increases would be acceptable if they allowed additional benefits. Practical information is more important at conventions than organized musical events. Conventioneers wish to return to a situation of communal dining.

Our projected convention schedule for the next four years was then unveiled. according to our normal pattern of west coast, central, east coast, we would meet in 1990 on the east coast. However, we will break the pattern and meet in Tacoma, Washington, two years hence. Why? Because the groundwork has been laid for our most ambitious meeting ever, which will be held at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, in 1992! Oohs, aahs, and wows greeted this momentous announcement, and the members in attendance enthusiastically endorsed the plan.

On that very high note, the meeting (and the convention) were adjourned. Vermillion, SD, had gone from a backwater to a hotspot in our minds. Great buildings, great people, wonderful museum, and Joe Johnson. What more could you ask for in a convention site?

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