Bob Yonker

Santa Fe, NM, UNITED STATES

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Bob was born in rural northwestern Pennsylvania in May of 1958. He lived there most of his life with brief relocations to Upstate New York, and the central shore area of New Jersey. He was living in northeastern PA with his wife Karen when they decided a change was in order, so they moved to Santa Fe, New Mexico in 2005 where they currently reside.

Bob’s earliest musical memory is of his mother singing and playing the piano in his childhood home. He can remember watching her play and was always fascinated by the sounds created by the piano and how it worked.

Because of that fascination, at the age of 4, he decided to show his family a ‘trick’. He covered the keys of the piano with a blanket, closed his eyes and played Yankee Doodle. That was the start of it all and his parents decided that he should have lessons.

Bob plays by ear and took those lessons for an entire year before his teacher, a kindly older nun, realized he did not know how to read the notes. He always had his older sister play the lesson he was supposed to know, and that was all it took. It was during his first piano recital, he was ‘found out’. He played his piece perfectly, but it was in the wrong key. After that, Bob did learn to read music and continued to take lessons from the nuns, but always preferred to play his own style and compositions best.

Bob enjoyed music so much that it was his first choice in deciding on a career for after high school. He was very excited to be invited to Mansfield University to audition for their music program. Unfortunately, he was subsequently told that his style of music was not what the college promoted or was looking for and perhaps he could audition again after taking some ‘classical’ training. Bob was heartbroken but because of that, he went on to attend Penn State University and graduate with a degree in agricultural science and worked for many years helping the environment. Bob also worked second jobs at group homes for mentally challenged adults. He found this very rewarding and enjoyed it immensely. In the early 90’s, while still working his environmental job full time, Bob returned to college and graduated summa cum laude with a triple degree in Special Education, Elementary Education, and Early Childhood Education. With this degree, he switched career paths and became a special needs teacher. Bob has been teaching now for 20 years and has enjoyed every moment of working with these amazing students.

For the longest time, Bob would only play for family, and even then tended to play only when he thought no one else was listening. He thought that making up music was something that anyone who could play an instrument was able to do easily. When Bob and his wife, Karen got together, he had an electronic piano set up in the basement of their home. He was able to play with no one listening, or so he thought. Every time he started playing, their two dogs, Gypsy and Elliott, would make their way to the basement and lie down by the piano and stay there until the music stopped. Besides the dogs, Karen was also listening upstairs and she helped him realize the talent he had and that creating beautiful original music was not something that ‘everyone’ could do. Once when she heard a beautiful song, she asked Bob if he could play it again. He told her no because it was just something he was making up in the moment. She immediately called a friend and borrowed a cassette recorder and convinced him to start recording everything so that he could remember what he was creating, play them again, and share them with the world. One December, Karen and the pastor from Bob’s church at the time teamed up and coerced Bob into playing one of his original pieces at a service showcasing musical talent within the congregation. It was magical, and Bob realized that he did not have to play in secret anymore. He has since played at various school functions where he has taught, and has also played for local nursing homes in the Santa Fe area.

Bob has recently composed and performed original solo piano music for a large meditation event and for local meditation groups. He has composed music for a local DOM to overdub with guided meditations. Many of his co-workers at his school use his music in their classrooms and he has been told that the students actually request it now when they are doing their independent work. The teachers say they see some of the best work from their students when they are listening to his compositions.

Bob has also found that many of his pieces have prompted or promoted a ‘healing’ or comfort of sorts to some of his listeners. Because of this, he has been commissioned on occasion to compose original pieces specifically for the physical and/or spiritual benefit of the person requesting the song. He has since named this “Spirit Songs” and he is currently working on a Facebook page and website for this venture so that those who would like their own personal ‘healing’ or ‘spirit’ song can reach out to him.

The piano is Bob’s primary instrument, but he also taught himself to play the diatonic and piano accordions, and the pipe organ at his church. He was a part-time organist for his boyhood church and his neighboring town’s mission church where when serving as Scoutmaster of the local troop, was able to get the boys in the troop to sing in the choir. While living in northeastern PA, Bob played for multiple churches in the area. He even worked off and on part time for an organ building company out of Pittsburgh and built his own rudimentary pipe organ in his parent’s home.

Bob has recently been blessed by receiving airplay on Enlightened Piano Radio and is proud to be a part of that wonderful community of artists.

Bob’s label is Shared Dreams Music and it is always his intention with his compositions that they ‘calm the mind and soothe the soul’ of whoever listens to them.

Bob’s journey will continue with his upcoming retirement from teaching special needs students in the classroom. He has received a number of testimonials from listeners that his music healed something in their lives and it is Bob’s full intention to continue sharing his gifts with the world to bring relaxation, peace, calm, and healing to all those who listen.

Albums


Shared Dreams - Revisited
2019, Original Solo Piano; Solo Piano; Peaceful Piano
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Peace In This Land
2019, Solo Piano; Original Solo Piano; Peaceful
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Love Still Grows - Revisited
2019, Original Solo Piano; Solo Piano; Peaceful Piano
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Heartsong
2019, Solo-Piano; New Age; Romantic Piano; Relaxing Pian
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