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Multi-Talented Musician Brings Show To Pasadena

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February 6, 2013

Juggling two things at once has never been a problem for Bips Egnor, who recently moved his one-man band to Pasadena and is working on performing his musical talents at more and more local venues. Egnor, 66, plays 11 different musical instruments and typically plays songs using three or four instruments simultaneously.

“You have to see it to believe it,” chuckled Egnor, who sets a beat using a double-foot bass drum while playing his other instruments at the same time. His repertoire includes drums, synthesizers, guitars, banjos, harmonicas and ukuleles.

Growing up, Egnor didn’t foresee his musical talents would blossom the way they did. His father was a professional athlete and encouraged Egnor to play sports rather than music. “Every time I wanted to take some music lessons, my dad would give me some athletic equipment,” recalled Egnor. Finally the spark that lit Egnor’s musical career was during eighth grade when his mother “snuck” him a ukulele without his father knowing. “I just picked it up from there, going from one instrument to another.”

Ironically, despite his musical talents, Egnor went to college on a football scholarship. He played two years of college ball before suffering a serious knee injury that sidelined his football career. He then started performing musical shows in the 1960s at bars and nightclubs, and soon discovered he was better off financially playing music on Friday and Saturday nights making about $150 a week, which he says was good money back then.

Today, Egnor swaps instruments in and out, oftentimes playing with two baby harmonicas in his mouth and a banjo in his hands, all while stomping his feet on the bass drum pedals.

Egnor said he has memorized probably over 3,000 songs. He mainly plays hits from various eras, from the big band sounds of the 1920s, which are his favorite, to the rock-‘n-roll hits of the 1980s. “A lot of my job is playing tunes from the ‘50s through ‘70s,” he added. He even maintains a selection of ethnic music including Hebrew and Yiddish tunes.

Egnor’s expansive song selection enables him to conduct his four-hour performances without having to repeat any songs from the previous week. He continues to book shows for senior living centers and other venues in Easton and Delaware a few times a year.

Egnor grew up in Newark, Delaware, and moved from Newark to Pasadena a couple of months ago with his wife who lived in Pasadena in the early 1980s. While in Delaware, Egnor performed for many notable groups including the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame, the Delaware Sports Banquet and the girls softball world series. He had also served as the musical director for various state beauty pageants during the 1980s.

Being relatively new to town, Egnor is trying to build his local performance schedule slowly, aiming to do one or two shows a week. Unlike during his youth, he’s no longer under pressure to make a living playing music and can now relax a bit more while trying to improve each and every show. “I want to make a production out of each piece and aim to play each job like it’s the last one of my life,” he smiled.

For now until February 8, Egnor will be showcasing his skills and performing at 9:30pm Friday evenings at Victory Lounge on Mountain Road.

By Darrell Mak

Juggling two things at once has never been a problem for Bips Egnor, who recently moved his one-man band to Pasadena and is working on performing his musical talents at more and more local venues. Egnor, 66, plays 11 different musical instruments and typically plays songs using three or four instruments simultaneously.

“You have to see it to believe it,” chuckled Egnor, who sets a beat using a double-foot bass drum while playing his other instruments at the same time. His repertoire includes drums, synthesizers, guitars, banjos, harmonicas and ukuleles.

Growing up, Egnor didn’t foresee his musical talents would blossom the way they did. His father was a professional athlete and encouraged Egnor to play sports rather than music. “Every time I wanted to take some music lessons, my dad would give me some athletic equipment,” recalled Egnor. Finally the spark that lit Egnor’s musical career was during eighth grade when his mother “snuck” him a ukulele without his father knowing. “I just picked it up from there, going from one instrument to another.”

Ironically, despite his musical talents, Egnor went to college on a football scholarship. He played two years of college ball before suffering a serious knee injury that sidelined his football career. He then started performing musical shows in the 1960s at bars and nightclubs, and soon discovered he was better off financially playing music on Friday and Saturday nights making about $150 a week, which he says was good money back then.

Today, Egnor swaps instruments in and out, oftentimes playing with two baby harmonicas in his mouth and a banjo in his hands, all while stomping his feet on the bass drum pedals.

Egnor said he has memorized probably over 3,000 songs. He mainly plays hits from various eras, from the big band sounds of the 1920s, which are his favorite, to the rock-‘n-roll hits of the 1980s. “A lot of my job is playing tunes from the ‘50s through ‘70s,” he added. He even maintains a selection of ethnic music including Hebrew and Yiddish tunes.

Egnor’s expansive song selection enables him to conduct his four-hour performances without having to repeat any songs from the previous week. He continues to book shows for senior living centers and other venues in Easton and Delaware a few times a year.

Egnor grew up in Newark, Delaware, and moved from Newark to Pasadena a couple of months ago with his wife who lived in Pasadena in the early 1980s. While in Delaware, Egnor performed for many notable groups including the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame, the Delaware Sports Banquet and the girls softball world series. He had also served as the musical director for various state beauty pageants during the 1980s.

Being relatively new to town, Egnor is trying to build his local performance schedule slowly, aiming to do one or two shows a week. Unlike during his youth, he’s no longer under pressure to make a living playing music and can now relax a bit more while trying to improve each and every show. “I want to make a production out of each piece and aim to play each job like it’s the last one of my life,” he smiled.

For now until February 8, Egnor will be showcasing his skills and performing at 9:30pm Friday evenings at Victory Lounge on Mountain Road.

By Darrell Mak


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