Sidenotes: Music in the Mailroom
It didn’t take long before the entire office was serenaded by this talented family.
Karyn and Trippy Teno — along with their four children, Leah, Will, Sam and Andy — play bluegrass together and have done so for six years. Karyn and Trippy both have a strong background in music. Both majored in it in college — Karyn’s degree focused on vocals, piano and musical theatre, while Trippy played professional bass trombone.
But neither had ever played bluegrass.
That all changed when their son Andy received a banjo for Christmas. He started taking lessons with John Alvis at Sleepy Eyed John’s.
“He kind of jump started our band,” Andy said. “We played with him a lot and it was fun. That’s where we played the most, and then we finally made our band.”
Karyn decided to pick up a guitar to accompany him. Sam then started playing mandolin after a friend of his showed off his skills, and then Will picked up banjo as well.
They convinced Leah to learn fiddle, which she quickly fell in love with, and Trippy picked up bass.
“I was 55 years old when I picked up the bass,” Trippy said. “I had never picked up a string instrument in my life.”
He is now 62 and having the time of his life, he said. He encourages anyone who has never played an instrument but wants to, to just pick it up and take a few lessons.
“You’re never too old to do it. And if your child shows an interest in something, let them explore it,” he added.
When you’re 90 years old and sitting on your front porch playing an instrument, you’ll never regret learning, according to Trippy.
“It’s something you can do the rest of your life,” he said.
Bluegrass is something that is seeing a revival among younger people, but also in other parts of the world, according to Trippy. Bluegrass bands are starting to tour in places like Japan and the Czech Republic.
“Because it’s real,” he said. “It’s not written down; it has to be passed through generations. It’s why the older ones want the younger ones to play. It’s carried on through hearing it and performing it.”