Gregory Lee Shultz
Greg Shultz, pianist, keyboardist, bassist and tuba player, has played professionally since he was sixteen. While initially a classically trained musician, he has participated in a number of groups, playing in a variety of musical genres, including gospel, jazz, rock, heavy metal, blue grass, and Christian contemporary. He presently operates a piano store in California.
Greg was born in Asheville, North Carolina, one of two sons born to Leroy and Rose Chaney Shultz. Music was an important activity in the home since his father was a music teacher who frequently played piano in the home. Beginning at age two, Greg began playing melodies by ear and it soon became apparent that he had perfect pitch.
Opal Miller, a piano teacher at Union College, was his first piano teacher. After studying with her for two years, beginning at age ten, he took lessons from Robert Murray, primary piano teacher at the college, for four years. He also studied string bass and in eighth grade played in the college orchestra under Ellis Olson.
In his freshman and sophomore years at Collegeview Academy in Lincoln, while studying with Murray, he won in two state piano classical music competitions, which included as many as 100 participants. As the winner, he received scholarships to attend summer music camps held at the University of Nebraska.
While still in academy, he joined the Heritage Singers. He recently explained how this happened and how it affected his high school years:
At the end of my sophomore year, the Heritage Singers came through Lincoln as part of a Revelation Seminar. The person playing the piano wanted to quit the group, so the director of Heritage New Creation, Buz Starrett, got several recommendations to call my dad. My dad said he was too busy, but that he had a son who would be willing to do it. I was 16 years old at the time.
They didn't know I was 16 until I showed up for the audition. My job was to learn two new songs each evening and perform them within the hour. After a few weeks of doing this, and after the Revelation Seminar had ended, Buz asked me to join them for the remainder of the tour, which would encompass the summer. I had to finish a few school courses on the road, but College View Academy agreed to let me finish up my curriculum on the road under Kathy Starrett's guidance. I toured for about three months during that summer. At the end of the tour, Buz told me to let him know after I'd graduated and he'd consider me again.
Greg attended Spring Valley Academy in Ohio, where he completed his senior year. He played tuba in the band and at the end of the year won the John Philip Sousa award. That summer, he then joined Starret's new group, Harvest Celebration, where he played for the next two years and did numerous recordings with them.
During his time with Harvest Celebration he met Cindy Fales, an alto from Maryland, who had also just joined the group. Cindy continued with HC for a year beyond Greg, moving back to Maryland at the end of her 3rd year.
He later talked about what happened at the end of his two years with Harvest Celebration:
After touring with Harvest Celebration, I went through a slump musically and couldn't find enough work to support me in the music business.
I went through unemployment for about a year before deciding to go to Piano Technology School, like my dad. Going through unemployment was the best thing that ever could have happened to me, and it pushed me into thinking seriously about getting a career I could fall back on if I was going to pursue music. I ended up attending a school in Sioux City, Iowa, for a year and got my full degree (CPT) in Piano Technology, which included rebuilding and refinishing, as well as tuning and regulating pianos.
Right after graduation I moved to California to pursue music. I hooked up with a rock band and by 1989 we were in Germany recording an album. It was a great learning experience and we were signed with a major manager when we returned. Unfortunately, the band broke up from infighting, and we never got to tour. The album, however, recouped 3/4 of a million dollars without us even touring - just from record sales in Europe. After that experience I saw how one person could ruin a deal for the rest of the group and decided to quit pursuing the music business altogether.
He recently wrote how the relationship between he and Cindy developed during their time together in Harvest Celebration and how it led to their marriage and more than twenty-one years together:
Cindy Fales and I had been corresponding for ten years at this point, and I decided it was time to get serious about life and get married! I asked her to marry me and she said "yes"! We've been married for 21 years as of this writing, and we have three children. All of our kids sing and play the piano.
From 1990 (after the band broke up) to 2000, I completed five solo CD's (actually, there was another recording I completed while on tour with Harvest Celebration called Reflections, but there are no CD's available of that recording). One of my CD's even sold through Wal-Mart, but again, no income was acquired. I ended up abandoning the recording business after my last solo effort and have since abandoned making music professionally altogether.
The focus is on our family now and music has taken a back seat. I occasionally play at various churches, but that's the extent of my music making at present. I can still play by ear, by note, or by chord charts. I've played on numerous projects from Christian to jazz, rock, heavy metal, and blue grass. I also recorded an album with Wedgwood Trio and toured with them, playing piano, Hammond Organ, synthesizers, and accordion. I'm currently playing keyboard and Hammond Organ (C3 with Leslie) at a local church.
In 2004 we decided to open a piano store, and so was born Oak Valley Piano,
Source: Information provided by Gregory Shultz, September/December 2011.