Hi, I’m Dave!
I’m very glad to meet you here. I feel like the luckiest guy in the world to be able to make my full time living as a performer and teaching artist. As the great Mick Moloney once said to me (I’m paraphrasing), “to entertain and educate….I don’t think there could be a higher calling.” That has stayed with me for a long time.
I didn’t set out to do this as my life’s work, of course. In fact, I left college with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and Business! Music was strictly a hobby for me at that point (a hobby that “Stairway to Heaven” had a lot to do with, by the way, but that’s another story.)
Circumstances have a funny way of altering our courses though, don’t they? My discomfort in the corporate world led to my fledgling beginnings as a full-time musician in 1992, and a devastating case of tendinitis in 1994 took me out of the world of four-hour-long performances in clubs and into the world of educational entertainment. I’m really glad it all happened that way!
Now, I help groups of adults, kids, school students and others connect with history and culture through music while having as much fun as possible. I work in schools. I do educational concerts for adults. I research “heritage” music and regional culture. I record. I play in a band or two. I run a whole series of distance learning programs. I coach other artists. I teach people to play the spoons.
Along the way, I’ve had the privilege of being involved in some pretty remarkable projects and efforts, including an Emmy-winning PBS documentary called “Songs to Keep,” an award-winning website called “W is for the Woods,” a ten-year run as a “Speaker in the Humanities” for the New York Council for the Humanities (NYCH), a new appointment as a Public Scholar for NYCH, a concert tour in the U.K., articles for The Huffington Post, a slate of well over 2,000 school performances, a global online singalong for 27,000 students . . . even a listing on Wikipedia!
But really, it’s the everyday work I get to do in schools, museums, libraries, music festivals and community events that keeps me going. It’s always about connecting with people – – drawing them in to the important stories and themes, presenting the history and culture behind the music, giving them opportunities to participate in the experience, and sharing my excitement for the songs and the people who made them.
Smiles and laughter are always my barometers to let me know how I’m doing. Leaving people happy; helping them take pleasure in their learning . . . that’s what it’s really all about for me.
A lucky guy indeed.
When I’m not working, I’m usually with my family. I might be driving my younger son to basketball or baseball (or high school! how did that happen?), or handing my newly-licensed older son the car keys, or trying to get out with my wife for dinner, or just spending time all together in the evening.
I love to bike, hike, take walks, read (mostly non-fiction), travel, and learn new things. We live in an old (1901) Victorian home in the city of Buffalo, which, despite what you may have heard, is a fantastic place to live. We can walk to restaurants, shops and grocery stores right from our front door, and we love the change of seasons. (Yes, we do have seasons here – – all four of them.)
Oh, and I really like to cook. I don’t get to do it nearly as often as my wife does (and she’s way better at it!), but when I do, it’s often something spicy, ethnic, smoky, local, or all of the above.
What do you like to cook?
I’d love to hear from you. I can be reached directly by email (“dave” at “daveruch.com”) or phone 716-884-6855.