By his senior year, Don had learned to play valve trombone, slide trombone, vibraphone and guitar.
In addition to his school music groups, Don played in local rock bands, and played for many of the
local clubs, and even a USO tour taking him to Hawaii and Midway Island in the early 70's.
Don served 6 years in the California Army National Guard band and was stationed in Alameda.
His primary instrument was baritone horn, and he also played glockenspiel, piano, and bass.
Don’s mother bought his first guitar at Bronstein Music in 1966. In 1968, Don started working
at the store, doing everything from sales to deliveries of pianos, organs, stereo systems, etc.
When Mr. Bronstein retired in 1981, he sold the business to Don and his business partner, Rich Welker.
Don completed his A.A. at Skyline College, continues to perform music professionally around the Bay Area,
with his church's worship team, and is active in local service organizations, including serving 33 years
in the South San Francisco Kiwanis Club.
While in high school, Rich started playing professional level engagements (or “casuals” as
musicians refer to them). This excellent training has served him throughout his music career,
which has included many performances with local bands, orchestras, big bands, brass quintets,
and musical theater productions. From 1974 to 1981, Rich led the “Rich Welker Big Band,” a
professional music group that included many of the top musicians in the area.
But, music is only part of the story. Rich entered college as an Engineering major
(he attended the Northrup Institute of Technology). His interest turned to science and he
transferred to the University of San Francisco, where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology
with an emphasis in Environmental Physiology.
Rich started working at Bronstein Music in 1968. He continued to work at the store while he was
in college, and eventually became the store manager. When Mr. Bronstein retired in 1981,
he sold the business to Rich and his business partner, Don Edwards. Today, Rich plays
trumpet in the College of San Mateo Jazz Ensemble and Symphonic Band, as well as other
local community and professional ensembles.
Raymond Bambao, a San Francisco native, has been performing professionally in the Bay Area since 1990. He started his music training on trumpet at El Dorado Elementary and started singing at Visitacion Valley Middle School. Raymond continued singing at El Camino High School (SSF) and started playing trombone in the Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, and sang with the choir. He also played and sang in two High Productions of Little Shop of Horrors (Audrey II-voice of plant), and Sweet Charity (Daddy Brubeck). He received a Classical Scholarship for Voice and went to San Jose State University.
He started early Hula and Tahitian dancing with Spirit of Polynesia in the eighties and then danced for Hula Halau O Ku’uleinani in the nineties. Here is a short list of Halau he has played for: Na Mele Hula Ohana, Academy of Hawaiian Arts, Te Pura O Te Rahura’a, Ke Ola Loa/Te Ora Roa, Na Hula O Moku’aina, and Tiare O Te Ao.
He received his B.A. in Improvised Music Studies from San Jose State University. Here is a short list of groups and ensembles he has performed with through is career: San Francisco Boys Chorus, San Jose State Concert Choir, SJSU Jazz Singers, George Cleve and the San Jose Symphony Choir, Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir, Bobby Mcferrin, Linda Ronstadt, Tramaine Hawkins, Joan Baez, Yolanda Adams; Ka Ehu Kai, Makaha Sons, The Brothers Cazimero, Keali’i Reichel, Ho’okena, Na Palapalai, Ledward Ka’apana, Kapena, Ho’onua, Ten Feet; Mark Ho’omalu, Hoku Zuttermeister, Aaron Sala, Mark Yamanaka, Kamakoa Lindsay-Asing, Kapono Nailiili, Chino Montero, Alika Young, Steven Espaniola, Faith Ako, Patrick Landeza, Vocal Sauce, Winston Raval and the Vanishing Tribe, LOPC Chamber Choir and Festival Choir, Full Circle, Forte, I-Hotel Jazztet. Raymond also played the principle Lead (King David Kalakaua) of the MKH production of “Kingdom Denied” which toured Japan in June 2012.
He also has a teaching background, and has taught voice, beginning piano, ukulele, and guitar. Playing music is a big part of his life and the love for music is apparent every time he performs.
Amanda moved north and attended San Francisco State University. She joined the pep band and wind ensemble.
Currently she plays with the symphonic band at the College of San Mateo. While her primary instrument
is still alto sax, Amanda plays all of the saxophones (soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone), clarinet, flute, and – surprisingly – trumpet.
However, music is not the entire story. Amanda is a Geology major at San Francisco State University.
Her particular interests are seismic hazards and tectonic geomorphology. Upon completion of her degree,
she sees herself working for an organization such as the United States Geological Survey (USGS) as someone
who investigates and helps to prevent hazards associated with seismic activity. Long-term, Amanda would enjoy
being a community college geology professor, where she could teach the “Introduction to Geology” course – her favorite class.
Guitar, Amp, Electronics, String Repair
Jeff has been repairing musical instruments for as long as he can remember, starting with his own guitars.
He started working at Bronstein Music in 2005 and is now responsible for string repairs, electronics repairs,
and keyboard repairs. To say that Jeff is versatile is understating the point. On any given day, you can find Jeff
restringing a guitar or bass, fixing a violin, viola, cello or string bass, or reading a schematic for an electronic
musical instrument – and that’s all before lunch!
Woodwind, Brass Repair
Ron matriculated to San Francisco State University where he earned a Bachelor of Music with an emphasis
in Saxophone Performance. By his early college years, he had started playing professional music engagements.
He led his own jazz quintet “Cornet Pocket” in venues in and around San Francisco. Performances credits include
the Monterey Jazz Festival, the San Francisco Opera Orchestra, and tours abroad with Merl Saunders (Grateful Dead)
and Don Carlos (Black Uhuru).
It turns out that Ron is a “triple threat” – not only does he play music, but he’s been a music teacher,
and is now a musical instrument repair technician. He began to work at Bronstein Music in 1991 as a woodwind teacher,
something he did for 15 years. In 2000, Ron began to repair instruments, and by 2005 that had become his full-time job.
Today Ron repairs all woodwind and brass instruments.
Woodwind, Brass Repair
Ray got interested in band instrument repair and got a diploma from Minnesota Technical College and an AAS in band instrument repair technology from the Renton Technical College in the Seattle area. He has worked as a repair technician in Bakersfield, San Diego, and the Bay Area. Ray has been a member of the National Association of Professional Band Instrument Repair Technicians since 2004.
Ray’s pursuits go far beyond music. He earned a diploma in economics and a Bachelor of Science degree in banking and finance from the London School of Economics, got investment banking training at the Investment Banking Institute in San Francisco, and a Master of Accounting and Finance, CPA emphasis, from the Keller Graduate School of Management (DeVry University). He even worked in the finance field in Malaysia.
At Bronstein Music, Ray repairs brass and woodwind instruments.