Born and raised on a farm in Central Wisconsin, Hal is known in his home town as Harold. At his favorite music store (big plug here for Jerry's Music in Wausau), which he probably could have purchased with cash by now if he hadn't spent all his moola on equipment, they know him as Harry. Most of the rest of us call him Hal. He'll answer to pretty much anything, though.
Hal started playing bass because his buddies were putting a band together and they needed a bass player. Luckily, the two were meant for each other. He wasn't a stand-out in high school - did what he had to do to get by - but he found his niche when he strapped on that bass.
For the most part, music has been Hal's avocation, although he has dabbled in "real jobs". He went to work at a machine shop near his home when he was fresh out of high school - thought he might have an aptitude for it - and soon learned that it wasn't the life for him. He called in sick 3 weeks in a row, "but they never did fire me."
Hal spent many, many years as part of the Happyness band, traveling all across the country - and internationally. The band did two USO tours, covering three continents. After returning to the states and playing many, many more years, he landed in Eau Claire (some of you may remember him from the days of Wagner's Down Under bar) and decided to stay.
Thanks to his rural Midwestern upbringing, Hal has a vast store of woodsy folklore to share to anyone who'd care to hear it. He's also known by many for his "Hal-isms", observations that often start with, "It's hotter'n a...", "He's wound tighter'n a...", "More nervous than a...", or "She's meaner'n a ..." You get the picture.
Hal now lives in Hallie (coincidence? I think not) Wisconsin, where you can usually find him out in his screened room playing along to the oldies station - or out toolin' around in his convertible.
Chances are good that you grew up across the street, down the block, or on the street behind Dave. How that's even possible, we don't know, but it seems most people who knew Dave back when all lived within a block of him.
Dave is an Eau Claire native, growing up on the north side and graduating from North High School. His high school sweetheart (now his wife) was a Memorial High student, which meant Dave spent a lot of his free time at MHS. So much time, in fact, that the graduation picture you see here was published in both North's and Memorial's yearbooks.
Dave was a long-time member of the Eau Claire Sundowner's Drum and Bugle Corp, and has worked plenty of 9-to-5 jobs while honing his musical craft. Chances are very good that you or someone you know had photography work done by Dave, as he has had his photography business for most of his adult life. He has also played in bands his whole adult life around the Eau Claire area.
If the band had an ambassador, it would be Dave. He can get along with anybody, and he's the best hatchet burier (pretty sure that's a word) you'll meet.
We often marvel at Dave's ability to back a trailer, and we fully intend to enter him into a trailer-backing contest if there ever is one nearby. He has backed the trailer into places that you'd be hard pressed to park a car ... going forward.
Add to all that Dave's handyman capabilities, drumming wizardry, and wicked falsetto and you have The Guy Who Can Do It All... with a smile on his face.
Born in Chicago-land, Laura moved to Eau Claire at the tender age of 4 when her dad was hired to design the brand new high school on the north side of town – aptly named North High School. With no real recollection of life near the big city, Laura considers herself a Sconnie like the others.
Earliest memories for Laura involved playing outside, singing along to the AM station on the transistor radio to Leslie Gore, The Beatles, Shelley Fabares, and Ray Charles. As she got older, the singing along often took place in front of the full length mirror as she imagined herself debuting on the Johnny Carson show and being an overnight smash hit (a humble smash hit, of course).
Laura hails from a long line of musicians, and piano lessons were a given in elementary school, as was choosing an instrument when junior high rolled around. She had a 6-year love affair with her horn and did alright for herself, even studied music in college for a semester, but, thankfully for all the young students out there, quickly decided teaching music was not in her future.
An act of sheer laziness proved to be what was probably the best musical move she made. “I needed some credits in my junior year of high school, I was getting tired of academics, and I was already playing in 2 concert bands and the jazz band, so I decided to give choir a try.” Singing and mingling voices with others was life-altering, the repertoire was challenging and uplifting, and choir came to be the best hour of the day.
A week after graduation from Memorial High School, when Laura’s UW-EC music major sister married a fellow UW-EC music major, they needed someone to sing at the ceremony, so Laura was asked to sing a couple Barbra songs. This would be her first ever public singing experience, surrounded by music faculty and students from the university. It was exhilarating and terrifying, and she never looked back (of course, making music never pays the bills, so she whiles away the hours doing her other favorite thing - Writing and Editing).
Laura is particularly adept at keeping the other 30 Fingers in line and focused. Having raised her own boys, she finds the tasks of herding, reminding, and eye rolling at juvenile jokes to be second nature.
The youngest member of the group (and that’s not really saying much), Mark is another born-and-bred Eau Claire-ian. In fact, it turns out he grew up only houses away from Dave, like the hundreds of other people on the north side.
Mark showed great potential in high school, though not necessarily for book-learnin’. He could often be found in outdoors at school – doing what, we won’t say. He did eventually discover a talent and passion for electrical engineering and is downright productive these days.
Mark is an idea man, which is a nice complement to the whole engineering thing. If we come up against a problem or conundrum, the wheels in Mark's head start to spinning. That's why we call him "Mark-Gyver". Give him a bobby pin, some duct tape, and a Bic pen and our problems are solved.