Three musicians from different backgrounds have come together to play and perform as Minuetto Music.
Flute player George S. Roberts, who didn’t start playing until he was 47 years old, was instrumental in forming the group after placing recent ads in the Pahrump Valley Times initially seeking musicians interested in playing classical and jazz music.
Longtime cellist Ruth Hogan and Patty Vinikow, who plays the flute, alto sax and clarinet, responded to the call and they make beautiful music together rehearsing every Thursday in Roberts’ home.
The trio now focuses mainly on playing chamber/classical music and Roberts said if someone wants to form a jazz group, that would be separate from their current group.
Roberts has been in Pahrump since 1996 and felt there was need for a classical group here.
“I think there’s a lot of people that like the music, in fact I’ve talked to several,” Roberts said. “In fact, I met a guy and his wife, 91-years-old, they can’t wait to listen to us, if we ever perform. So, I think people would appreciate it and enjoy it, and I like to play, so that’s the reason.”
He said world-renowned flutist James Galway has been the biggest influence for him in even picking up a flute.
“I like music and I loved the sound of it, and I listened to James Galway and that convinced me, this is the instrument,” Roberts said.
He played the saxophone for about a year while in the Air Force in the 1950s until someone stole it and Roberts did not have $300 to replace it, never playing again until he started the flute.
Ruth Hogan has been playing the cello since she was in fourth grade after the music teacher told her that she had nice big hands and should play the cello.
“I’m going, ‘what’s that’?” Hogan said. “I had no idea; so, I just got started on it and I liked it. So, I kept playing.”
She always liked music and her mother told her that she would sing even before she learned to talk.
Hogan studied music in college at first and then realized as a music major, you either became a teacher or a professional musician. She was not interested in either option and just started to play for fun.
“I just love to play,” Hogan stated.
She moved to Pahrump three years ago from Gresham, Oregon and has played the cello at different locations and events in various community orchestras and pit orchestras for several high school musicals, including “Brigadoon”, “South Pacific”, “Anything Goes” and “Kiss Me Kate”.
Most recently, she was part of a chamber music ensemble in Gresham called “The Broken Consort,” which played at the Portland Library, weddings, teas, and other events.
“Well, I’ve been wanting to play with someone. It’s just the cello is not really a solo instrument; you need to play with other people.” Hogan said that is the reason she called Roberts after seeing his ad.
“I thought, oh how exciting, you know, meet nice people, play the kind of music I love, maybe get some performances and share the joy of music,” Patty Vinikow stated on why she joined the group.
She moved to Pahrump from Reno several months ago, but was raised in the Portland, Seattle area. Her musical background dates back to grade school where girls were allowed to play either a flute, or clarinet. The boys could play whatever instrument they wanted, and she wanted to play the drums, but settled for the clarinet, later learning to play the alto sax and flute.
Vinikow was classically-trained in music beginning in fifth grade and earned a bachelor’s degree in music performance, specializing in the clarinet, from Lewis and Clark College in Portland.
After college, she joined the Oregon Symphony, decided to travel and performed in New York City and other places where she lived.
Later, she got into popular music and formed her own wedding/party band called “Serendipity”, which started in Portland and then Reno.
“A lot of classical musicians can’t make the transition from their classical training into popular jazz, rock, whatever. I could,” Vinikow said.
Her specialty music is called “klezmer,” a type of Jewish, Middle Eastern, world music. She has performed in several national bands and has been on National Public Radio, which broadcasts a music festival in Portland.
Vinikow comes from a musically-inclined family. Her late mother was a child radio star in the ‘30s who could tap dance, sing, play the violin and performed on the “Ed Sullivan Show” and on Broadway.
“I think it is genetic, I have 22 first cousins and all of them are either professional musicians, or could have been if they so chose; so, both sides of my family have music,” Vinikow said.
Her brother has a string group in Reno, called the “String Beings,” a string group started back in 1976, which has a cello, violin and viola, similar to what they hope to accomplish with Minuetto Music.
“If we can get a strong group together, George’s idea, we could contribute to the Pahrump art scene,” Vinikow added.
She said there is a good art foundation here, referring to the Pahrump Arts Council, and they would like to be a part of that, lots of support and talent for the arts.
That is George’s vision, according to Vinikow.
Roberts said some of his music is for the cello, flute, viola, violin and a guitar would work since the group can incorporate any instruments, and they don’t want to turn any musicians away.
Vinikow said they are in need of a French horn player.
Even if they don’t get any new musicians, they can still perform as a trio.
“We could, it would be great; actually it would be really great,” Roberts said.
They would like to perform at the Bob Ruud Community Center, the library, at one of the local casinos, the high school, churches, or even the wineries for weddings, receptions and other special events.
Roberts said, “I just like to play, I don’t care where we play.”
For more information on joining Minuetto Music, or booking them for an event, contact George S. Roberts at 775-910-1939.
Patty Vinikow is accepting students for music lessons and can be reached by email: firstname.lastname@example.org.