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Guitar man

Dick Ward finally gets to focus on first love

The 'thank you' on Dick Ward's CD "Strings Attached," begins with a little history:

"To whomever left the ukulele that I found in my grandmother's closet in 1954."

This tiny guitar-like-instrument started a lifelong love affair with the guitar, not necessarily one he could constantly indulge in, but it was always there nevertheless.

Ward will be the featured performer at Creekside Books and Coffee at 7 p.m. Oct. 28. This is Ward's first time back since his CD release party for "Strings Attached."

He said he learned so much from the process of making the CD that he can't wait to make a second one. He already has a title "Everyone needs a little wiggle room."

Ward is the grandson of H.O. Clark who had a camp on Skaneateles Lake for many years and a car dealership in Elbridge. Ward is an Elbridge resident, retired from a 31-year stint as an English teacher from the Jordan Elbridge Middle School. He and Paul McCartney are 64 years old.

"This is our year," he said referencing the Beatles, "When I'm 64."

Ward's focus since retirement has been music and he hangs with a particular brand of guitarists. He said Chet Atkins is the man from whom all of this flows.

"We play the guitar more like a piano, we put a bass line in with our thumb, the melody is put on top with another finger that shall remain nameless," Ward said.

Ever heard of the Guitar League?

Ward helped start the Guitar League a year and a half ago. It's a Central New York organization for guitarists, and the meetings are based on continued learning. Ward said Jim Horseman of Center Stage Events had the idea to start a get together of guitar players. He contacted Ward and Loren Barrigar (another Elbridge born guitarist from the same school of playing) and got the word out, 18 showed up including Billy Delaney, Don Meixner and Larry Hoyt. Now the membership is 150 strong.

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