McNett Country Band Members

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Tim

Lead guitar, lead vocals, harmony, accordion, piano, clarinet, bass

Gear:  Fender Nashville Deluxe Telecaster - Fender Stratocaster - Fender Hod Rod Deluxe

Timothy played bass at age 15 in the Rita Rose Band when they fronted for Ricky Nelson near Allentown.

I started playing bass with McNett Country right after high school. I was extremely shy and very quiet on stage and there was NO WAY I was going to be singing! Dad gave me a few lessons such as the basic progression patterns and a few fret identities and I took it from there. Didn't really study the theory or commit myself to hard-time practicing any instrument but I did enough to learn the ropes.

Growing up around traditional country music was, and still is, a great value. Dad had an abundance of experience behind him that he effortlessly brought with him where ever we played. That is what makes a real stage show. I've gained so much respect for his lifestyle that it's virtually my own as well. The corny humor is REALLY where it's at. Delivery is also one of the biggest parts, which he has down to an art.

Uncle Bob (Bunkle) was still on the road with the Drifting Cowboys, Hank Williams Sr.'s band, and had played with Hank for a number of years up until his death. He was home more at this time and was able to teach me some standards on playing lead. Bar chords, chord position, fingering etc. I never got to learn as much from him as I would've liked but what I have is priceless. My biggest hump was trying to learn Fingers On Fire. Like learning to play lead was hard enough now dad is asking for this?! I'm still working on it, though have played it quite a lot on jobs and the response is overwhelming, due to the fact that Bob & Dean left a big mark in a lot of people's hearts around the world.

I wouldn't trade any of this history for the world and I plan to keep it alive in my family as well.

 

Dave Preston (The Fearless One)

Percussion

Gear

Dave - Former Vice President of Canton National Bank.

When John Ellis decided to retire at the end of 1996(?), Dave Preston decided to "unretire".  Dave stopped playing regularly in 1981 to spend time with his children.  When the opportunity to join the legendary Dean McNett appeared, the time was right, and Dave jumped at the chance.

When asked what changed his mind after the long layoff Dave said, "I've always loved to play along with good musicians, and Dean, Karen, Ray, Shawn and Tim are among the best.  My boys are pretty well grown, and the time was right.  I was honored to be asked to join McNett Country, and we have a ball playing!  I made the right decision."

Born in 1952, and raised in Canton, Pa, Dave learned his craft from George Lyon, the instrumental music teacher in the Canton Area School District. Dave says he started taking music lessons in the third grade "because they told anyone interested to go to the auditorium. Since I didn't have my math homework done, it seemed like a good time to leave the room!" When he was 12, an older brother of a family friend gave David his first drum set. "One cymbal, a snare, and a bass drum with a torn head. I used the set until I bought my first and only new set in 1967. I kept the snare though and still use it every job. I gave the bass drum and cymbal to a family friend to continue the tradition. When I'm done with the snare and the rest, I'll give them to some young
drummer too." said Dave.

Like most kids playing music in the 60's, the first groups he played with were trying to play Rock and Roll. Dave played for school dances starting at age 13, with groups such as "The Rock Riders" and "The Green Mist". After college (a psychology/sociology major) Dave started his career in Banking. Along the way he played with "Buck and the Country Wranglers" from 1975-1981. Sometime in the early 80's, Dean McNett showed up for a block dance in Canton. Dave tells the story.

"My father had talked about the McNett brothers for years, since he went to school with Bob. I wanted to meet Dean, and tell him Dad said Hi, so while they were setting up for the block dance, I introduced myself. Dean was his usual gracious self and asked about Dad. I didn't see anyone setting up any drums, so I asked who was playing. Dean said that the drummer couldn't make it. When I told him that my drums were in the car, and that I'd be glad to fill in, you could see the doubt in his face. Here was this kid he knew nothing about, telling him he needed a drummer! I said, how about if I set my stuff up, play the first song or two, and if it doesn't work, just say so; I'll pack up and go home! I guess I did okay, because I played the whole job, and he started to call me when he needed a substitute."

Dave still lives and works in Canton and is a proud Grandpa!

Carl and Opal Schlappi

At present, one half of the McNett Country Band is made up of husband and wife duo Carl and Opal Schlappi, on rhythm guitar and bass guitar respectively. Both can call upon 52 years experience together as entertainers, and many years before that playing in bands and other groups. Both came from musical families, and have been influenced by parents, uncles and other relatives to continue the tradition. Several of their eight children are also musically inclined as singers, songwriters, and instrument players, as are many of their fourteen grandchildren.  They both love traditional country music and playing and calling square dances, singing gospel and comedy songs. They can be found entertaining churches, senior groups, nursing homes and the like whenever the need arises, and will do so until the Creator says it's time to quit.

 

Shawn

Bass, lead vocals, harmony, piano, sax

Gear:  "Stinger" bass - Framus bass - Hartke 2500 bass head - Hartke 410 bass cabinet

Shawn sang with 8 of his fellow classmates at Carnegie Recital Hall in New York City as a senior in high school.

 

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