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Family was instrumental to guitarist's love of song

Staff writer

Bob Delk, 1302 Mustang Road, Marion, was introduced to music at an early age by his parents, John and Lydia.

“My dad played guitar and violin to some degree,” he said.

When he was about 10 years old, Delk asked his father to teach him some chords on a ukulele.

Music has been his passion ever since.

Growing up, his family played together as a band, with his dad on violin, mom on resonator guitar, sister Betty Hanneman on piano, and Delk playing banjo and guitar. He always enjoyed playing at churches. The family was often asked to play at dances, but the family always declined.

“My folks and I had a great time playing,” he said.

He went on to play with the Peabody Plainsmen for about 50 years. Their first gig was at the Marion County Fair. Over the years, the 87-year-old has played with more groups than he could count. He still plays with three ensembles: Men-O-Brass, Bob and the Boys, and Country Jamboree.

His favored styles of music are country western, gospel, and big band. He knows how to play ukulele, mandolin, and violin, but his favorite instrument is electric guitar.

One particular experience that sticks out in his mind was when he couldn’t resist an invitation to play at a music festival in Iowa.

“The day I got there, I sat on a bar stool for six hours playing with different musicians and singers without a break,” Delk said. “I did get a little tired that time.”

He doubts he would have become so involved in music without the introduction from his family. For that, Delk is grateful.

“It’s been real special,” he said. “I love music. Any kind.”

When he and his wife, Dorothy, travel each winter to south Texas, Delk uses the opportunity to play with some of the other travelers.

“What’s kept me playing is playing with other musicians,” because of the camaraderie, he said.

Last modified April 1, 2010

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