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Pete Showman's Page

I'm an electrical engineer, programmer and system and software architect; I worked for 33 years at Hewlett Packard, from 1967 to 2000. Since retiring I've spent much of my spare time in fiddling-related activities and various family activities.

Fiddling Around

My main hobby these days is music, particularly playing fiddle tunes of various kinds. I mostly play on the fiddle, but also am learning the mandolin, which is tuned the same. I also play "folk-style" piano a bit (useful for arranging) and dabble on a handful of other instruments. I used to play folk guitar, but long ago lost my calluses — and probably most of what little skill I had. I also used to play Scruggs-style banjo, but then I found the fiddle, and never went back. It's been a long time now.... Regarding types of music, I like playing American old-time, Irish, swing and many other kinds of music.

I also arrange and “typeset” fiddle tunes, using Finale or ABC notation, and have composed several tunes.

I've been a member of the international folk-dance band Večernica since 1994, where I play fiddle and some mandolin, and sing a bit. I like the odd rhythms of many of these dance tunes. I haven't tried the actual dancing yet, though.

I'm a long-time member of the Santa Clara Valley Fiddlers Association, and served as President (along with many other "acting" positions) from June 2001 to February 2007, and have continued on as Membership Secretary, Webmaster, Contest Chairman and in other positions. My wife Dinah served as Editor of the monthly SCVFA newsletter, the Fiddler's Rag, during most of the time I was president — a good team! She is now the group's Secretary and helps keep the association going in many other ways.

I also enjoy jamming with friends at homes, in parking lots, and at several other Bay-Area venues.

As it's good to stretch your abilities, I also tried playing fiddle—oops, violin—in the Hewlett Packard Symphony Orchestra, now known as the South Bay Philharmonic, for several years. The orchastra puts several concerts every year, and get this — the musicians are actually supposed to read music and (mostly) follow a conductor. Strange!

This page is maintained by Pete Showman.