1995 G.A.L. Convention
Overview | Presenters | Music | Exhibition | Auction | Miscellaneous | Open House | Staff & Helpers

Tim Olsen successfully channeled the spirit of Henny Youngman as he got the auction party off to a running start.

There's Italian luthier Filo Avignonesi, flanked by some new buddies.
Ervin Somogyi auctions the “Play in Time” banjo, an NCAL creation. Roberto Gomes shows the two Portugese-language Brazilian wood identification books which he donated.
Valentina Filinskaya exults in her bidding victory for the guitar afghan, while George Gorodnitsky applaudes. Richard McClish (left) and Jim Greeninger set the mood with some energetic jazz, culminating in “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Harry Fleishman's soft-shoe routine helped raise the bid on a Widget Works Apprentice. Greg Canote is sure happy to have won an official Gibson guitar-shaped sliding gizmo of some sort.
Jeff Elliott points out the merits of some guitar sets on the auction preview table to an attentive Tim Griffin. Sweeties Gabor Schoffer and Anna Laura Robertson provided some sweet Andean melodies.
David Freeman holds The Little Man while John Jordan whips up the crowd. Swedish luthier and former barber salon owner Michael Sanden performs a beauty treatment on the fashion-concious Bruce Harvie.
Former GAL staffer Leo Bidne (1974-1978) belts out the stirring “Ode to Bruné” as (left to right) Fred Carlson, Tim Olsen, Jon Peterson, Dale Phillips, and Nick Von Robison process in homage. Ah, Brun‚, our hero! If only you had showed up!    

Auction Party

It’s Saturday night, everyone is totally exhausted, the convention is winding down, it must be time for the big GAL Auction Party! The items everyone had been eyeing all during the exhibition were now up for grabs to the highest bidder. Members streamed into Chris Knutzen hall where rows of chairs had replaced all the exhibition tables. Despite their exhaustion, everyone seemed to be in a party mood.

This year’s auction was bigger than ever, so Tim Olsen got right down to business with an uncharacteristic auction/stand-up comedy routine. Had he been practicing this for the last three years? As always it was up to different members to take a turn at playing the auctioneer role. Harry Fleishman sold tools, Roberto Gomes auctioned off woods, Ervin Somogyi was in charge of the hilarious NCAL items (along the lines of what you might observe on page 65 of this issue), and once again John Jordan auctioned off “The Little Man.”

As you may recall “The Little Man”, an 8" ceremic statue of a guy playing an electric guitar, was first donated by David Freeman in 1990. Before the statuette made it to that party, it accidently got dropped and lay in quite a few pieces. John Jordan auctioned him off anyway, urging members to take pity on “the Little Man.” Fred Campbell won him for about $5.93 worth of his buddies’ pocket change donations. Fred beautifully restored The Little Man to his former glory and even mounted him on a walnut plaque. In 1992 Fred brought The Little Man to Vermillion where he was again auctioned off by John Jordan. Bart Reiter won the bid that time and since he couldn’t make it to this year’s convention, The Little Man arrived by UPS complete with five fabulously mounted MOP stars on the plaque. The bidding this year was furious. David Freeman was intent on reclaiming his Little Man. John Jordan’s hand mysteriously and uncontrolably kept popping up against David in the heat of the auction. Then even John’s own two-year-old son bid against him! When the dust finally settled David Freeman had won the right to take The Little Man back to Canada for a whopping $75, earmarked for the Bob Mattingly Memorial Fund!

One other particularly exciting bidding war occured over the spectacular guitar afghan donated by The Bold Strummer Ltd. Both Larry Trumble from Klawock, Alaska and Valentina Filinskaya from Moscow, Russia decided they must posess this lutherie souvenir for their cold climates. Tim Olsen led the bidding battle, at one point shouting “there it goes back across the Bering Strait!” USA or Russia? Which luthier would stay warm this winter, cuddled in yarn images of Fenders? Valentina started hesitating as the price climbed higher. In a burst of international solidarity Geoff Brashaw from Australia threw in a few bucks to keep her going. Finally Larry gave up and Valentina happily claimed her beautiful new $90 blanket for its trip back to Russia.

Another auction highlight occured when a Michael Sanden haircut was auctioned off. Many members joined together to purchase a lovely new do for Bruce Harvie. The butch, mohawk, and soup bowl styles were discussed for his beauty makeover but in the end Bruce wound up with a very nicely done (and well overdue) trim by Michael.

As the final auction hour came upon us, the quick and forceful auctioneering style of Bruce was needed to wake everyone up. The auction assistants could barely keep up with him as he threw big hunks of wood around and actually went right out into the audience to make the sale face to face.

Entertainment is always fantastic at a GAL party. This time we were treated to wonderful music from Gabor Schoffer and Anna Laura Robertson, Jere and Greg Canote, and Jim Greeninger and Richard McClish. The most surprising entertainment of the evening was sort of performance piece written and staged by Fred Carlson to commorate the twentieth anniversary of the first “real” GAL convention, R.E. Bruné's 1975 meeting in Evanston Illinois.

Unfortunately “Broony” was nowhere to be found so Maurice Dupont was drafted to act as a surprised and somewhat confused stand-in. Fred had composed the song which was then worked up into a fantastic synthesized arrangement by Leo Bidne. The staff of Tim, Deb, Jon, Dale, Todd Brotherton, Nick Von Robison, and Fred himself paraded in wearing Fred’s handmade giant cardboard instrument masks and sang the amazing “Ode to Bruné.” The masks were then sold to the stunned crowd.

After all that and too many snacks everyone felt a bit numb by 2:00AM when the party finally ended. It had been another unbelievable event, with some very generous donations, including full tuition to a guitar making course by Tom Ribbecke, donated by Tom himself. This last item was the single most valuable donation the benefit auction has ever received. All together, the auction netted the GAL over $10,000, our highest auction take ever. Now that’s a party!

1995 GAL Benefit Auction Donors

Steve Andersen maple off-cut, bigleaf maple mandolin backs and sidesBrady Anderson: banjo uke, violin with case Peter Barton: English Land Deed (from 1852) Bob Benedetto: back and top wood for archtop guitar Ted and Barry Berringer: Surform tools Leo Bidne: two pianos, mando-dobroJack Bledsoe: myrtle wood, quilted maple, misc. woodDavid Boehnker: vintage Dremel toolDon Bradley: Guitar Maker's ManualRobert Brook: Dobro neckJimmy Brown: Kay guitarR.E. Bruné: two spruce tops, guitar top, violin or viola top, two spruce top sets, rosewood shim stock, seven unmatched Japanese spruce tops, mandolin purflingsChris Burt: four Microsoft Musical Instruments CD-ROMsCyndy Burton: “Alf” guitarJohn Calkin: guitar body, maple guitar, kabosyJan Callister: hand-split spruceFred Carlson: guitar, 12-string guitar, 7 handmade musical instrument masksNicholas Clarke (Bold Strummer): guitar afghanBill Clements (Rosewood Guitar): seven guitar strapsYuri Dmitriefsky: Russian language lutherie booksJohn Decker: seven koa backsGreg Descoteaux: handmade radius blocksJeff Elliott: banjo case, violin case, violin clamps, guitar mold, guitar case with Yamaha classic guitar (converted to fretless), drapery steamerChuck Erikson: misc. pearl, bag-o-pearl, pearl shortsHarry Fleishman: ten Brazilian rosewood fingerboards, binding router jigGAL: Art of Inlay, misc. publications, computer stuff, vintage guitar books, 400 pairs ear protectors, software, old GAL convention lecture tapesGabriele’s Wood: Koa set (back and sides, head veneer)Myles Gilmer (Gilmer Wood Company): three sets of wood (koa, padauk, Indian rosewood) Bob Gleason (Pegasus Guitars): Shadow bass pickup, Badass bass bridgeRoberto Gomes: misc. wood, one set nonrosewood, two rare wood indentification booksGulab Gidwani (Exotic Woods Company): woodsJoseph Hanson: violin partsJay Hargreaves: steel string guitar with vinyl casePaul Hostetter: Django Reinhart videos, two-volume Madagascar CD Lewis Judy (Northwest Timber): Bridge City Tools scratch awl, three sets walnut curl, sliding T-bevel, Wheat Hook micro-brewery beerBob Kennedy: quilted maple Yasu Kobayashi: two wooden hummingbirds, two wooden clampsRoger LeBlanc: GAL and misc. publications, fret files, cabinet scrapersRobert Lundberg: violin neck and accessories, two violins, violin bow, 1/2-size violin Luthier’s Mercantile International: Guitar blueprints, truss-rods, assorted wood, ebony back and side set, fret system, ebony bass boards, radius form, madrona back and side set, Schneider circle cutter, rosewood tops, classic bridge clamp, fretboard arching plane, Schneider/Kasha planDave Maize: truss rods and pickupMartin Company: Martin brochures, assorted guitar parts Eric Meyer: maple pieces, guitar bodyNCAL: luthier trophy, Luthier fine vintages, “play in time” banjo clockJim Norris: cattle prod printing block (NY Times), three piece wood chisel, wood, misc. guitar pieces Ralph Novak: three fretboards, rosewood fretboard, fretboard and bridgeOvation Guitars: 1 dozen spruce topsTom Peterson: bass wood kerfed liningsPosey: guitar brace stock, harp soundboards Tom Prisloe: misc. woodBill Rankin: recycled rosinTom Ribbecke: archtop guitar construction course Bart Rieter: The Little Man, fretboard with cut pearlNick Von Robison: desert ironwood logJos‚ Romanillos: three books, two postersNeil Russell: spruce top and T-shirt, cedar topBill Schmidt (Widget Works): Widget Works ApprenticeMarc Silber: three guitars, hammer dulcimer with plans, tenor banjoGeorge A. Smith: glue potPat Smith: spruce top wood Trevel Sofge: two classical fretboards, classical guitar neck, pickguards, misc. guitar partsErvin Somogyi: Rolodex file system, vernier caliper, ear protectors, set of six Buck Bros. carving tools, medium and fine record sharpening stone, Japanese carving blade, 1200-grit waterstone, speedfile, travel dial gauge, set of three Handee Fredders, brace testing jig gismo, set of three Japanese chisels, Ryobi Random orbital sander Robert Steinegger: two sets Everly brand guitar strings, Martin neck and fingerboard, four maple back sets, Martin binding, guitar, Kay neck and body Stewart-MacDonald Company: classical guitar tuners, tuner knobs, acoustic pickup system, saddle transducer (steel), Fender vibrato replacement bridge, six rosettes, assorted woods, Guitar Player Repair Guide, fret bender, The Fretwork Book, Trade Secrets, Volume I, classical peghead drill jig, Stew-Mac buffing outfit, 8" fret beveling file, saddle slotting jig, radius blocks, guitar kit, Waverly precision straight-edge set, two diamond fret files, Understanding Wood Finishing, Making an Archtop Guitar • Henry Strobel: violin making bookLarry Trumble: Sitka cello setsHolly Wolstein (Highlander): two acoustic pickups and preampsMichael Yeats: Siminoff book in binder Charles Yost: 1200 grams mixed ivory, whalebone.

Top of Page