—Starting with piano lessons when he was seven years old, Rich has enjoyed a life-long passion for music. Adding saxophone at 11 and guitar at 14 with recorder and ukulele mixed in there somewhere, Rich was a musician all through school including a year at college but stopped playing during his 20's and 30's. When he hit 40, his mid-life crisis kicked in and he built his first mandolin. This began him on the path of bluegrass, folk, old-time, and Celtic music where he added Irish whistle, mandola and 5-string banjo to his arsenal. At last count, there were at least 40 musical instruments in the Schwartz household.
A long time fan of old-time, and bluegrass music, Rich started a monthly bluegrass jam that met in various music stores in Waukesha County. He also is a board member of the Badgerland Bluegrass Music Association and Make Our Own Music Gathering. When not playing folk music with Ruth, Rich can be found performing with the Genesee Ridge Bluegrass Band.
Rich works as an engineer at an automated machine company in Brookfield. He lives in the Lake Country area.
— Ruth remembers taking piano lessons from her Aunt Alma when she was 7 years old. All four of her siblings did too. That was probably because her mother was an organist for church and loved to play the piano. When she was in 8th grade she purchased her first guitar and accompanied, all through high school, a performing group called Christian Minstrels from Milwaukee Lutheran High School. She sang mostly alto and tenor voice since they always had enough sopranos. Ruth has always been actively involved with music in the various churches she grew up in and attends now. In her late 30’s she listened to a performance that included an instrument new to her called the hammered dulcimer.
Enthralled with the beautiful sound this instrument can make, she pursued purchasing and learning how to play it. At the same time she researched the hammered dulcimer she came across the mountain dulcimer and on a trip to Manitou Springs, CO she purchased her Cripple Creek Mountain Dulcimer.
Even though music has been a part of Ruth’s life all along, she is by trade a graphic artist and Communication Director. When she isn't working she is playing rhythm guitar and singing with the Genesee Ridge Bluegrass Band.
“The mandolin and dulcimer sounds can’t be matched when paired together. They have such a beautiful harmonic tone together,” says Ruth.