I was just a 15 year-old kid when I played accordion for seven hours on New Year’s
Eve in a small-town Wisconsin tavern. My pay was $17 and all the beer I could drink.
A year later I started The Dale Mathis Group. We played weddings, clubs, and community
events for 30 years.
I majored in music and business at the University of Wisconsin. In addition to theory,
music history, and composition classes, I took voice, guitar, string bass, tuba,
baritone, trumpet, piano, pipe organ, and harpsichord. What I learned in those classes
is helpful when I record backing tracks for my live performances.
After college I sold organs and pianos at a store, taught students, and played with
my band. I bought the business in 1978 and named it Mathis Music. The store had hundreds
of students and sponsored community events where they could play for others. The
store, located in West Bend, WI, had franchises with most of the major brands, including
Yamaha, Fender, Hammond, Lowery, Wurlitzer, Mason & Hamlin, Chickering, and others.
I sold Mathis Music in 1995 and moved to Kauai. Eye doctors suggested a warm, moist
climate to deal with chalazions. The condition is similar to acne that forms inside
eye lids. It made my vision appear as if I was looking through waxed paper. My numbers
were 20/800 and I knew I could not pass my next driver’s license eye test.
After living on Kauai for only six weeks, the chalazions, which I had had for fourteen
years, cleared. I had been on eye steroids for years. The combination of Kauai’s
intense sunlight and the steroids caused cataracts to grow. I came out of surgery
with 20/15 vision!
I sold piano products and classical organs on all of the islands during the years
we lived there.
We have grandchildren in Arizona and want to be part of their life, so now we live
in Sun City. For several years I was Director of Music at a Sun City church in addition
to working at a piano store.