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Lester Koshiol: Bio

My humble beginnings began at St. Anthony's Catholic Grade School in St. Cloud, Minnesota. I began piano lessons at age 8, after convincing mom and dad to buy a piano after I heard a 78 rpm record of the Mendelssohn violin concerto. I took lessons from a nun, Sister Elvin, who was very strict, for a few years, followed by Sister Elizabeth, until the end of 8th grade. She discovered I had perfect pitch at one of my lessons. I had also started violin lessons at age 9 from Mr. Mueller, so when I started at Cathedral High School in 1970, I began at 4th chair 1st violin under the direction of Mr. James Strang, and became concertmaster by the beginning of my junior year.

I began playing in the Minnesota Youth Symphony then under the direction of Ralph Winkler, and in the summer before senior year in 1973, MYS went on a 3 week tour of Romania. Not taking piano lessons anymore, I kept up practicing the piano during my free time in high school, played the organ at church, and bought a Fender Rhodes piano and a Hammond M3 organ, plus a Harmony guitar, a Vox Royal Guardsman amp, a Voxton Les Paul copy electric guitar, and a Framus bass guitar.

I played in two bands during high school, Glass Condor (60's and 70's rock and country), and Wild Ivy (a seven piece horn band specializing in the music of Chicago, Blood, Sweat & Tears, Cold Blood, and Tower of Power, but also tributes to Jeff Beck, Van Morisson, Boz Scaggs, and Loggins & Messina). Glass Condor (3 piece guitar, bass, and drums--I played bass) played many gigs at area bars and schools beginning when I was about 15.  Members were Bob Will (drums) and David McAlister (guitar & vocals), and myself (bass & vocals).  Wild Ivy was a conceptual band, formed of 7 of the best musicians from all 3 high schools in town. We got together for practice every day after school. We had about a dozen or so gigs before our breakup 3 months after graduation, but we had a rare, highly energized sound that was truely ahead of its time. And there is a live recording that survived that was remastered to CD during the 1990s.  These guys are still my best friends, and they have all gone into a career in music in one form or another.  They are:  Bill Kloss (drums), Scott Wenner (guitar & vocals), Glen Johnson (bass & vocals), myself (keyboards & vocals), Al Asmus (saxophone & flute), Peter Schaubach (trombone), and Dan Rassier (trumpet).

After graduating from Cathedral High School in 1974, I moved to Minneapolis with Bill Bigley, a guitar player from Sauk Rapids. We started a progressive rock band called Ornge doing heavy rock classics such as Jethro Tull, Edgar Winter, Yes, ELP, Elton John, ELO, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steely Dan, and Joe Walsh. A year later, we revamped into a band called Glider, and continued the progressive rock tradition in the Minneapolis music scene for another year until I decided to move back to St. Cloud.  Band members in Ornge were Bill Bigley (guitar), Jay Graf (guitar), Chad Thompson (bass & flute), Dan Patch (drums), Jim Latourneau (vocals), and myself (keyboards).  Band members in Glider were Bill Bigley (guitar), Jay Graf (guitar), Reid Schilleman (vocals), Jack Lamonde (bass), and Dan Davis (drums), and myself (keyboards).

After getting settled in St. Cloud, I began my college career at St. Cloud State University in 1977. I soon became a music major at SCSU, taking piano lessons from Dr. Carmen Wilhite and Dr. Charles Echols, and violin lessons from Dr. James Johnson. I took music theory, music history, conducting, arranging, and played in the college orchestra and jazz band. I also studied pedagogy of winds and brass, and took lessons on cello and bass. I played in various bands such as Living Color, On Tap, Wichita, and The Sound Production with various musicians as Scott Shardin, Steve Burt, Mark Bragelman, Lisa Davis, Dan Ploof, Dan Preston, John Wayne, and Sandy Babick.  I played violin in the St. Cloud Civic Orchestra, and in 1981, I composed music for the theater production of "The Good Woman of Setzuan," a play by Bertold Brecht at SCSU.

The Sound Production became The Cloudy Towne Strutters in 1978, and we became probably the best band in the area. The band consisted of Walt Moorhouse and Becky Lentner on lead vocals, Scott Shardin on guitar, Bill Becker as bassist and engineer, Mike Smith on drums, and myself on keyboards.  A year later, Bill Becker was replaced by Steve Burt (BJ) on bass.  We practiced at Sound Production Studio in East St. Cloud, which later became Four Winds Music (Ev Zenzen).  We cut a 45 rpm record of "You can Make it if you Try" by Sly and the Family Stone, and "Put your Hands Together" by Cool and the Gang.  The studio became Reel People Studio (on Roosevelt Road) in St. Cloud, with Walt Moorhouse as president and Mick Mctee, engineer.  Mike left to play with Madgic, a band creation of Mick Mctee in 1980.  Steve Hilla and Joe Garbareck replaced BJ and Scott on bass and guitar, respectively.  Randy Venaff replaced Steve on bass, and Steve took over on guitar.  Then Becky left, and Walt and I added 3 horn players, making a 8 piece horn band that lasted 5 months doing great 70's music including J. Geils, Bruce Springstein, Stevie Winwood, and Chicago.  The lineup was Walt (lead vocals), Paul Diethelm, (guitar), Mike Zelany (bass), Mike Smith (drums), myself (keyboards), Charlie Schneweiss (trumpet),  Jeff Wood (trombone), and Randy Benson (saxophone).

Then Walt and I started over again with new musicians Joe, Ed, Marie, and Jeff, and went on the road playing full time (6 nights a week) across Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Montana for 6 months. We were recorded on various occasions, and played music by artists such as Billy Joel, Robert Palmer, Journey, Loverboy, Doobie Brothers, Pat Benatar, Heart, The Cars, Gary Newman, Cheap Trick, Phil Collins, Eddie Rabbit, and Bob Seger. We always brought the house down, and in those days, the clubs were always busy.

In May of 1983, I finally graduated with my B.A. in Music, Walt and I decided to go part time, and I became employed as a cab driver, which I would be for the next 10 years. In May of 1985, the Cloudy Towne Strutters broke up temporarily due to financial pressures, and I joined a country band named "Beat's Working" with Scott Maleska and Doug Dwinell.  After 3 months, Scott and I left the group and started an 80's rock group called NRG. In November 1985, NRG teamed up with Walt, and began the next phase of the Cloudy Towne Strutters with Walt (lead vocals), Scott Maleska (saxophone), John Kipka (drums), Mike Zablaski (bass), Kris Crandall (guitar), and myself (keyboards).

In the spring of 1985, I started college again taking pre-business courses, and in the fall, I took a music composition class, while working part time in a warehouse, cabbing, and gigging. In the fall of 1986, I took a full time night job in a food distribution warehouse, and stayed there a year, still gigging. In 1988, John, Mike, Kris, and I got married.  Then I went back to college full time, studying accounting, still gigging and cab driving. In February 1992, I graduated with a B.S. in Accounting from SCSU, and The Cloudy Towne Strutters broke up for better or worse that year.           

In the fall of 1992, I began playing piano and organ at the Church of St. Paul in St. Cloud, and in the fall of 1993, I met up with guitarist Larry Anderson and drummer Bud Danzl, and we started the three piece band One Nite Stand. For 16 years, Larry and I played an average of 100 nights a year in taverns and clubs around Minnesota. I paid for three professional studio demos in 1994 and 1995 of three songs that I wrote. In July 1997, I won 5th place in the national Follow That Dream Songwriting Contest (Nashville) for the song, "Blues and Fiddles."

Bud left the band in 1999 after 7 years.  Since then we have had several drummers, including Mike Ranck, Stu Johnson, Todd Karolus, Al Stumpf, Steve Short, Jim Voigt, Doug Geist, and Jerry Kasper.  We do classic rock of the 60's, 70's and 80's, blues, and a bit of country. I wrote and recorded the music for my first album "Shades of Blue" from 1993 to 1998 in my home studio, Diode Grande Studio, releasing it in 1998. To part of this project, I owe a debt of gratitude to Ron Thienes for playing bass on several tracks, for encouragement, moral support, and a lasting friendship.  One Nite Stand also released an original CD in 1998, with music that Larry and I composed and recorded live at our gigs.

I began work on a Masters degree in September 1998 and graduated in December 2003 from SCSU with a M.A. in Special Studies entitled "Business in Music." Since then, I have had employment as a substitute teacher, a tax professional and bookkeeper, and a maintenance clerk in a grocery store.  In 2009, Tim Chandler took over in the position of drums and vocals.

March 19, 2010

One Nite Stand played their last gig on December 17, 2011 at the Blue Line in Sartell.  My wife and I separated on January 15, 2010, and divorced on March 5, 2012.  On November 16, 2012, I got a call from Walter, the lead singer from the Cloudy Town Strutters, to say he found a band needing a keyboard player.  I packed up my keyboard and headed out for Eden Valley the following Sunday, November 18, 2012, for a practice/audition.  We all got along great and it sounded pretty good.  We started practicing every week, and did our first job on New Years Eve of 2012.  We started playing regularly after that.  If we're not playing, we're practicing every weekend.  We're called the Valley Garage Boyz, because most of the guys are from Eden Valley, and we practice in a garage.  We started as a 4 piece band plus a soundman to make it 5.  About a year ago, we enlisted the help of a new drummer, but the original drummer still contributes to the band on rhythm guitar, as well as lead vocals.  The guitarist and bass guitarist also sing lead vocals.  We consist of "Doc" on guitar and lead vocals, Dave on bass guitar and lead vocals, Scotty (Chico) on rhythm guitar and lead vocals, Chad on drums, myself on keyboards and background vocals, and Kenny on sound. 

May 29, 2016