1992 Guild of American Luthiers
13th Convention/Exhibition

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

When it came time to decide on the location for this year's convention, we remembered that members who attended the 11th National Convention had rated the U. of South Dakota and the Shrine to Music Museum as one of the best convention experiences they could remember. By 1992 everyone who attended our convention there in 1988 was ready for another visit and the rest wanted to find out what the raving was about. With our largest attendance ever, it appears Vermillion was the right choice for our 13th National Convention!

This year the GAL was honored to be holding its convention in conjunction with the Catgut Acoustical Society. This is the first time in the GAL's history that another organization has been involved in this capacity and it was a smashing success.

Our first order of business Wednesday was to be promptly awakened at 8:00AM by a bomb scare on campus. This didn't dampen the spirits of conventioneers as they packed the hall for the Catgut lectures when we were allowed to re-enter the buildings that afternoon. Papers were presented by Carleen Hutchins. Thomas McLoughlin, Oliver Rodgers, Edward Wall, and Edward Kottick. Joan Miller presented the paper by Norman Pickering, who was unfortunately unable to attend due to illness.

Thursday marked the official beginning of the GAL opening session, Tim Olsen welcomed the multitude, Al Carruth rose to pay tribute to Catgut Acoustical Society cofounder Carleen Hutchins for her tireless, groundbreaking, and influential work in violin acoustics research, Gila Eban announced the Bob Mattingly Memorial Fund, and Todd Brotherton offered some thoughts on the significance of the Guild's twentieth anniversary. Three concurrent workshop sessions followed, led by Robert Ruck, Alan Carruth, and Nicholas Von Robison. The afternoon marked the beginning of the exhibition and the spacious Commons Room filled up quickly with instruments supplies and enthusiastic luthiers. Evening workshops featured presentations by Dan Erlewine, Michael Darnton, and part two by Ruck. Later we regrouped to eat cake (expertly decorated with the convention logo), and enjoy Marc Silber's authentic blues guitar renditions.

Friday brought our first GAL full group lecture, with Ervin Somogyi providing a very strong start for the info packed day. (Ervin graciously filled in at the last minute for Jimmy D'Aquisto who was unable to attend due to illness.) Workshops by John Koster, Don MacRostie, and Dana Bourgeois followed. The exhibition was in full swing by Friday with luthiers showing off their latest masterpieces and dealers selling their hottest lutherie products and woods. As always, when luthiers get together impromptu jam sessions soon follow and musicians were found in many dorm rooms and lounges, with overflow spilling onto the grounds outside. Friday evening was packed with two workshop sessions presented by Jim Williams, Ervin Somogyi, and John Curtis; and Dana Bourgeois, Geary Baese, and R.E. Brune.

Saturdays are always intense at Guild conventions, and this Saturday was no exception. Both Ed Campbell and Marc Silber delivered excellent lectures, in the morning and evening respectively, while the afternoon was crammed with more in-depth workshops by Tom Ribbecke, Marc Silber and Ed Campbell. The last exhibition of the convention was even more hectic than the previous days, with luthiers madly rushing to get that last look at instruments and purchase a few more tools, books or wood sets. To add to the general pandemonium, the silent auction was held during the last half hour, with everyone scribbling bids hotly for small items in this section of the auction. The even more exciting and boisterous regular auction/party was held later that evening at the Washington Street Arts Center into the wee hours of Sunday morning.

It was truly amazing that anyone could get out of bed, let alone attend lectures, on Sunday morning. Everyone did, though probably a few with well-earned headaches. The fact that Jim Williams, Dan Erlewine and Bryan Galloup were delivering informative lectures was no doubt the incentive for such stamina. The GAL business meeting was the last event of the most info-packed convention in the Guild's history.

We must first give a hearty thanks to Director Andre Larson and the staff of the Shrine to Music Museum, especially the indefatigable Joe Johnson. Joe and his staff of work-study students from the college were invaluable in making the convention run as smoothly as possible, in spite of overflow crowds, campus work slow-downs and a bomb threat. If ever anyone could be in two places at once, Joe is the guy that can pull it off. Members were once again enthralled by the beautiful instruments housed in the Shrine to Music Museum and took advantage of the opportunity to view them for long periods of time. Ours was the largest meeting ever hosted by the SMM!

The entire Guild office staff of Tim and Deb Olsen, Bon Henderson, Dale Phillips, and Jon Peterson were all in high gear to put it mildly. Remote staffers Cyndy Burton and Nicholas Von Robison also slaved behind the scenes. Family friend and pro photographer Dale Blindheim came all the way from Seattle to help us out. Special thanks goes to Bob Desmond (an actual Disney World Staff Photographer!) who generously donated his services during the event and made the often-excruciating group photo session as painless as it has ever been. Thanks to Dennis Fasset for lending his video camera, and to Flood music for providing PA equipment. Lots of people pitched in moving chairs, cleaning up after the exhibition, and ferrying people and cargo to and from the auction. As always, no one works as hard as Todd Brotherton during the convention. We really depend on his tireless and unselfish efforts.

So thanks, everybody, for the greatest convention ever. Generations yet unborn will benefit!

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