· Marv Menzel (owner) ·
Nearly half of my life has been spent as one of the prime movers of The Homestead Pickin’ Parlor® which makes nearly everything that came before obsolete, if not irrelevant, with the noted exception of my marriage to Dawn whose tolerance and patience made the last half possible and most enjoyable. We also share three adult children whose development as they carry on lives of their own has been most rewarding to us.
For the record, I am a ‘Ranger’ having been born in Hibbing, MN, not realizing at the time that I would grow up to be two years younger than Hibbing’s most noted resident, Bob Zimmerman (or Kevin McHale to you basketball fans). My first musical interest in life was the piano accordion, which I began playing at the age of six. It continued to keep me busy through junior high school (Lincoln Junior High for you other Rangers).
As is often the case, academic pursuits at Hibbing High School, Hibbing Junior College and the University of MN. relegated music to a lower priority for several years. It wasn’t until one of my employees at a small manufacturing business that I co-owned got me interested in guitar, that music came back to me. The guitar led me to the banjo and it was at that point that rational thinking was overcome and the Homestead Pickin’ Parlor® became a reality. The year was 1979. I was fortunate to have friends who were actively interested in bluegrass and folk music. By listening to them expound on what they felt was needed in the acoustic music community as well as experiencing those things for myself as I once again got involved in the music, a vision of what was to become Pickin’ Parlor began to take shape.
The guitar and the banjo are now only occasionally companions. The day-to-day demands of keeping the rent paid and the lights on are priority 1. I have no regrets as I am surrounded by the music a good part of every day. I have gotten a great deal of satisfaction from watching some outstanding musicians develop as a result of their involvement with the Pickin’ Parlor. The friendships I’ve developed with musicians and acoustic music lovers are among the most important to me.
These days when a rare idle hour comes my way, you will most likely find me with a book in my hands. I love to read about history, politics, economics, sociology and am endlessly fascinated with homo sapiens sapiens’ many faceted involvement with religion. I find a lively, rational, dialogue on any of these topics most satisfying.
The most enjoyable part about the Pickin’ Parlor has been our customers. They are like extended family. With the mobile society we live in, occasionally one or more will move away, but they always check in from time to time and stop by when visiting this area. And we like to stay in contact via e-mail and facebook as well. All-in-all, the last 33 years have been a solid delight. While there are things I would probably do differently, were my life mine to re-live, establishing the Pickin’ Parlor and maintaining it for these last several decades is not among them.