1990 Guild of American Luthiers
12th Convention/Exhibition

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

As Tim guaranteed, the weather was gorgeous for the 12th G.A.L. Convention/Exhibition held at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. Guild members from all over the U.S., Canada and countries overseas converged Wednesday to take advantage of every minute of a non-stop convention, crammed with as many lectures, workshops, exhibition time and special events as four short days could allow. 350 people showed up, making this our best attended convention.

Again PLU's facilities were more than adequate, and the campus itself is one of the nicest anywhere. This year we were more self contained in the University Center with lectures upstairs and exhibition downstairs in the beautiful new Scandinavian Center. Many members took advantage of the inexpensive cafeteria meals, giving everyone more time to discuss complex lutherie techniques in depth. As always the dorm lodging proved to be popular, with late-night gab
fests and jams a priority.

Thursday got off to a fast start with a new program of several workshops running simultaneously. This plan had its ups and downs, but valuable lutherie information was dispersed at an incredible rate.

This was the first day of three full afternoons of exhibition for which the newly constructed Scandinavian Center was perfectly suited. Plush carpets, good light and air conditioning made the exhibition a pleasant experience. Sixty-five members exhibited and the entire room was alive with the sounds of instruments and hundreds of conversations. Again this year we set records for the number of suppliers offering everything in lutherie products and woods. Suppliers reported doing a brisk business and members loved the chance to hand select their own materials. In the lobby the Guild Staff was almost as busy selling T- shirts, American Lutherie back issues, and the few available advance copies our new Lutherie Tools book.

At Thursday night's opening banquet, classical guitarist Jim Greeninger entertained while the conventioneers dined on fried chicken. More Ć workshops and panels followed, and the evening was topped off by the now-traditional cake reception, featuring our biggest cake yet and an exciting performance by the Seattle Mandolin Orchestra.

By Friday the convention was in full swing and the schedule settled down to lectures and panels in the morning and evening. This night was concluded with a concert by exceptional musicians in the cavernous Eastvold Auditorium. Bryan Johanson on lute and classic guitar, the duo of Tarik and Julia Banzi on Flamenco guitar and oud, and steel string guitarist Paul Chasman were enthusiastically received by members and general public alike.

More lectures were scheduled on Saturday, the last day of the exhibition. The Scandinavian Center was more hectic than ever with everyone making last-minute deals at supplier tables, talking to the public and getting one last good look at each others' instruments. The silent bid auction items were also sold off during this time in order to pare down the number of donations for the vocal auction that night.

By Sunday everyone appeared to feel the strain of three solid days of sensory overload combined with too few hours of sleep, but managed to attend one more lecture and the annual G.A.L. membership meeting. Tim Olsen reported that construction at the Smithsonian would make meeting there impossible for the next few years. It was felt that it is important to choose a site with a enthusiastic and dependable staff to assist in hosting a successful event. With this in mind he announced that the 1992 convention would again be held in Vermillion SD in conjunction with the Shrine to Music Museum. This plan met with the approval of the members in attendance.

There were lots of kids and wives (and husbands) of luthiers in tow this year. Several members told us they would have brought the family if they had known there would be so much for them to do in such a nice place with so many nice people. Bring the family next time to Vermillion! With all the other Guild families to hang out with, they won't be bored.

Members who weren't scheduled to leave trundled over to the Guild H.Q. for an Open House hosted by Tim & Deb Olsen. Luthiers relaxed in the yard, consumed watermelon and leftover Guild cake, took a tour of the Guild office, and said their goodbyes. A fitting end to a relaxed, enjoyable convention.

A convention is never a success without a great amount of behind-the-scenes work. As always Todd Brotherton put in many hours organizing the exhibition space and taking charge of the benefit auction. G.A.L. supporter “Go Dale” Korsmo spent four solid days photographing, video taping and helping out in any capacity that was needed. The energetic Joe Johnson helped keep lectures running smoothly and interviewed exhibitors on videotape. Patsy Gregory ably assisted in the exhibition taping. Staff photographers Tim, Jon, and Cyndy were joined by volunteers Dale Blindheim, Michael Darnton, Chilton Gregory, Mike Keller, and Frank Nakatsuma. Volunteer interviewers included Gila Eban, Joe Johnson, Jay Hargreaves, and Todd Brotherton. See page 41 for the names of volunteer auction musicians and auctioneers. Local collector Dick Fiscus loaned beautiful vintage instruments for display. Thanks everybody! See you in '92!

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