It is true, this is my very first Blog Article as the title suggests. Perhaps I should start by telling you about myself, this will help clarify why the banjoreserve.com was created. Buckle-up, this is going to be a long one!
I am a husband, father of three, former Graphic Designer, and currently a Realtor, and an IT Business Analyst at a large graphic communications company. Raised in Rochester, NY, we relocated to Bedford, NH in 2003 where we lived for nine years. This area of New England was an incredible place to raise our family and a stunningly beautiful area of the United States.
After spending the better part of 50 years in the North, we decided to give the South a try. Spring of 2012 we moved to Apex, NC, a western suburb of Raleigh. We are no strangers to settling in a new area and in a sense starting over. Family, friends and acquaintances in the area were welcoming and very generous. Our relocation to North Carolina resulted in many positive experiences and opportunities. My wife Traci worked for a non-profit company that helps families of severely disabled children and decided to go back to college to become a Registered Nurse. Our middle daughter attended Meredith college, and our son Tanner graduated high school.
I've always loved listening to all types of music. As avid music lovers themselves, my older brother and my closest friend have both exposed me to a wide variety of music over the years. I owe my love of Bluegrass to my brother Glenn. So big brother, you could say you are responsible for any Banjo sounds...good or bad...that come from all of this.
October 2013, Raleigh, NC hosted the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Wide Open Bluegrass weekend event. I had no idea who the IBMA was, or any expectations of the event itself, it was a music festival and a nice weekend...let's check it out. There were stages setup everywhere on and around Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh, bands playing one after the other. Informal jams started up along the streets, in hotel lobby's and lounge areas. I was completely amazed at the comaraderie among the musicians and the enthusiasm of the crowds. You couldn't help but become consumed and inspired by the entire atmosphere of this event.
I have always wanted to learn an instrument. That's right the secret is out, I am not a musician. I decided at the IBMA WOB event I was going to learn how to play the Banjo. There was no hesitation, no excuses; no doubt, I am going forward with this. I immediately bought some books, watched videos and started learning whatever I could about the Banjo. With some minimal guidance, my wife bought me a Recording King RK-R20 for Christmas 2013. Unlike some past interests, this one has not faded and I have only become more passionate.
My Internet searches were turning up a lot of great information, but what I really desired was to learn more about the Banjo Players themselves. I wanted a connection, access to musicians that could provide some direction, encouragement, and knowledge. Sure, I could surf different Band web pages, forums, Facebook, Twitter, Wikipedia, and the growing number digital outlets...but that was the problem...it was a lot of work! Given my professional background, I decided to create my own website, organize the information I was learning and share it with anyone that was interested. My thoughts quickly expanded to the possibility that this website could help Banjo Players promote their events, talents, music and more. I created my brand The Banjo Reserve to tie it all together and provide what I hope is a visually attractive website that I can build on. As you may have guessed by now, I am a one-man-show. Fortunately, I have a day job.
My vision for banjoreserve.com is simple, to provide an informative digital resource, promotional tool and more for Banjo Players. The Banjo Reserve brand is about encouraging others, creating a positive and supportive community for Banjo Players at all skill levels. There is no room at The Banjo Reserve for negativity. However, suggestions and constructive feedback are always welcome!
And so my journey continued...I began Banjo instruction from Hank Smith, an incredibly talented and diverse professional musician and equally as patient. Hank was also the first Featured Artist on banjoreserve.com. I regularly attend the annual IBMA Wide Open Bluegrass event and I am now a member of IBMA.
Jim Van Zile