Nope, not just another "Harp" group; this is SLIDEMEISTER!
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Featured SlideMeister Member - September 2014
SlideMeister Members, P.M. aj fedor to submit your choice for featured member
Tom "Grizzly" Baehr
Tom Baehr Has been part of the SlideMeister family for a long time. Not sure of the exact date, but I know for a fact that we've been putting up with each other for at least ten years years. ;o) "Grizz" actually lived here in Ohio about twenty minutes down the road from me in the quaint, picturesque little town of Chagrin Falls, when he was a younger (cough!) man. I like to tease him about his old age, since he's got a few months on me. Tom is a prolific poster; second only to myself in the number of posts, BUT unlike mine, Tom's stuff is always pretty good! :o)
Tom Baehr started playing harmonica in grade school, and even appeared in a couple of talent shows. He didn't play again for several years, then he couldn't figure out the chromatic his dad bought him; it was Richter tuned. A few years more passed, and he got a solo tuned one, a Chrometta 12. He didn't take to it, either.
By then, he'd gotten very involved in school band, and dropped any interest in harmonica. His interest in music, though, strengthened, and led to his majoring in music in college.
Tom taught music in public schools in Michigan and Vermont, working very briefly for a music publisher in New York City in between. All told, he only taught for five years.
But while he had jobs in janitorial maintenance, auto sales, and factory work, music remained an important part of his life. He played autoharp, fretted dulcimer, ran a dulcimer and autoharp festival for 23 years, sang in a succession of choral groups, performed some and conducted others. He landed a job, which became a career, making flutes for a company in Boston, which he currently holds.
When it appeared that arthritis would start affecting his flute playing, he went back to chromatic harmonica about 10 years ago. His first new harmonica this time was a Hohner Super 64; great range for anything he contemplated playing. He has since acquired several others: several CX 12s, a couple of SCX's, some used ones that seem to mysteriously come and go in and out of his possession.
Tom got good enough to play a recital, which was well received. He went to several harmonica conventions, including two SPAHs, enjoying the camaraderie of many fellow players.
And, of course, he discovered SlideMeister Forum, on which he's made a few posts now and then - more than 10,000. Some silly, some a little more informative and worthwhile. He says SlideMeister has been a very rewarding community to participate in, and count some of them as friends and good acquaintances.
He has gone forward in his musical pursuits with penny whistle, as well as his choral singing, conducting, composing and arranging a cappella music. Actually, Tom's been composing for many years. He still finds time to play chromatic harmonica, mostly in church. Tom's repertoire is primarily classical music, but he's also played selections from the Great American Songbook and folk music when it's called for.
While Tom Baehr has gone through many changes in his life - jobs (several), marriages (two), abodes (many), parenting (four) - music has remained central to his existence. Music has taken him down many avenues. In a significant way, he says it saved his life and he's especially grateful that chromatic harmonica has been a part of it.