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The brief, annotated history of ShoreGrass goes like this:

First there was a band called "The Professors of Bluegrass"

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Peter Salovey, Kelly & Mary Jo Brownell, Barbara & Frank Shaw


This group made their debut at the famous TOAD's in New Haven on February 11, 1993, virtually minutes after Barbara took up the guitar and Frank took up the banjo!  

It all started when Frank began playing guitar with his cub scout den in the Shaws' basement.  One of the cubs was their son and another was the son of Kelly Brownell.  When Kelly came to pick up Matt (his son) one evening and noticed Frank playing guitar, he suggested that we get together sometime to play some bluegrass, since he was a guitar player and also learning mandolin and since Barbara was learning to play guitar and Frank was learning banjo.  Kelly also invited Peter Salovey to join us to play bass, and Kelly's wife Mary Jo (who was learning autoharp) sat in with the group to sing harmony.

The name of the band came from Mike Spoerndle, former owner of Toad's Nightclub in New Haven, who was a friend of Kelly's.  Mike was a fellow at one of the Yale undergraduate colleges and wanted to put on a party for his students with musical entertainment.  He suggested that we call ourselves "Professors of Bluegrass" since Kelly and Peter were professors at Yale, and asked us to perform at his party at Toad's.  

From a group of friends sitting around the living room picking a few songs, to the rare limelight that has shone on the likes of Bob Dylan and Mick Jagger and just about everyone else famous who has ever held a guitar, we became a real band on the stage at Toad's.  This group played primarily at Yale events and performed at the inauguration of Yale president Richard Levin, among other events during 1993-1995.  The personnel changed over the years, and the Shaws went on to form ShoreGrass, but Peter kept the Professors of Bluegrass going as new students and members of the Yale community expressed interest in bluegrass.

The tradition continues, and new musicians are occasionally recruited as they arrive at Yale.  This year's edition of the Professors of Bluegrass includes friends of ours, led by Peter (the only original member left), who is now President of Yale!  

 

Then came "The Shaws"

Frank & Barbara at Home                           At the Dudley Farm         At the Yale Reunion Hoot

It's really handy living with your favorite pickin' partner... We jumped at the chance to play at any jam, any benefit, any free evening at home.

 

Then "Shore Grass I"

SGearly

Dave Dietrick, Frank, Barbara, Dick Hall


Beginning in January of 1996 at the "Soup for All," Dave Dietrick and Dick Hall were prevailed upon to help us out with a few benefits that needed entertainment.  When Dick moved to Colorado in 1998, we thought the band had disbanded, but others were drafted each year for several years to play at these benefits, including Louis Audette and Jim Lehner.

 

 

Then "Shore Grass II"

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Louis Audette, Frank & Barbara


A chance meeting at a "reunion hoot" of friends who had played music at the old coffeehouses around the Yale campus --of which we had never been a part, but to which we were invited-- brought us our new bass player, Louis Audette.  He first played with us at the "SuLu Dinner" in January, 1999 and through much of 2003.

 

 

 

Then Shore Grass III
SG_Frank SG_Louis__Barbara SG_Paul
Frank                  Louis, Barbara                       Paul Pozzi


Now that we had a bass, we looked around to recruit a mandolin player.  Remembering past jams at the Dudley Farm, we thought of the mando player with the incredibly high tenor voice --Paul-- and asked him if he wanted to join us.  We had lots of fun and numerous benefits to offer ("benefit" being a code word for non-paying gigs), so how could he refuse!  Paul joined the "band" in December, 1999.

 

 

And then . . .  ShoreGrass
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Louis, Barbara, Frank, Paul, Larry Rothermel

Frank, Barbara, Louis, Paul, Larry


Now all we needed was a fiddler to call ourselves a bluegrass band. (Ha! say the purists, what about...) Remembering the school music teacher who had recruited our son to the strings program in 3rd grade, we gave him a call.  Fresh from the Broadway scores and classical repertoire of his training, he agreed  in 1999 to give bluegrass a try, wondering if he could play by ear.  Can he ever!

ShoreGrass at Branford River Festival 2004.jpg (321551 bytes)

And then the sunniest bunch. . .

We actually met Bob Csugie, our next bass player, at 2:30 a.m. in a field in upstate New York at the 2003 Winterhawk (now called Grey Fox) festival.  He walked into our jam, picked up the idle bass and has been our friend ever since.



And then another variation. . .

Vic Gallagher took over fiddle duties in 2005, and this configuration allowed us to switch around on instruments occasionally.  When Vic did lead guitar, Barbara played fiddle.  When Bob did lead guitar, Barbara did bass.  When Frank did bass, Bob did banjo.  Paul can play guitar and bass, but no one else wanted to try mando, so he couldn't move around!

ShoreGrass 2005.JPG (399502 bytes)

And the history goes on and on, to be written another day. To see all the latest configurations of ShoreGrass, check out the link above for our photo album...
 

This page last updated 09/18/2015