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KEPHART, Russell "Rusty"

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KEPHART, Russell "Rusty." (Decorah, IA-- ) Kephart, a proficient performer on the guitar, piano, harmonica, trumpet, flute, baritone, flugelhorn, and didgeridoo, performed with Redstone Trio (1967-1970); Greenfield Rejuvenation (1967-1968), Decorah; Greenfield Rhythm and Blues Band (1968-1970) Decorah; Rubber Band (1970-1971)West Union; Manhassett (1971-1975) Decorah; Fourth Estate (1975-1977) Minneapolis; Friends (1978-1980) Decorah; American Breeze (1980-1982) Decorah; Easy Street (1982-1983) Decorah; Country Cousins (1983-1985, 1990-2010) Decorah; Lifter (1986-1988) Decorah; Midnight Express (Carl Thompson) (1990-1995) Decorah; and Hamilton Blues Band (2002-2004) Rochester.

He also performed with "The Association" in 1974, Wade Kimes, Neil Breinhold Band (Utah), Larry Betcher Band (DBQ), Sounds of Nashville, Johnny Rockers, and the Gordon Linn Band.

According to John Matter, Kephart's band, Manhassett owns the most attendance record at a dance at Matters Ballroom surpassing Lawrence Welk and Buddy Holly racking up the numbers in 1972. He won the Minnesota Battle of the Bands honors in 1976.

A leading clinician, Kephart has held workshops as a licensed in-service public school clinician for the Iowa Band Masters Association, Iowa All State Musicians Association, and School Superintendents Association. Beginning in 1989 he served as President and Entertainment Chairman of Nordic Fest.

Kephart has been President and CEO of KEPHART'S MUSIC CENTER INC. since 1989. The firm, begun by his father Russell Kephart, Sr., has grown to have three retail outlets in Decorah, Dubuque, and Mason City.

"Rusty" taught guitar for fourteen years at Kepharts Music Center and has many former students performing professionally in Nashville, Colorado, and California. Interested in further promoting music education, Kephart initiated a scholarship program. Between 1989 and 2012, 149 high school and college students received Kepharts Music Center Scholarships through Luther College, Wartburg College, St. Olaf College, Waldorf College, and the University of Northern Iowa.

Kephart was awarded the Grand Master Award of Nordic Fest for his work with entertainment. He received the prestigious Distinguished Service Award for lifetime Music Support from Luther College in Decorah and the Lifetime Friend of the Iowa Band Masters Association for Iowa Music Education Support. Kephart was inducted into the Iowa Rock 'N' Roll Music Association Hall of Fame in 2012.