When I grow up… Erny’s Story

Erny Papay, a former chemist, made a career change after working in a lab for 23 years. He turned an unfortunate circumstance into an opportunity to be a full-time, professional musician.  Here is his story…

Early on, I’ve always been interested in science and music.  I used to read books about chemistry, geology and physics while still in grade school.  Musically, piano lessons started at age 6, in a world of Mozart, Chopin and Lawrence Welk.  But the Beatles changed everything in 1964, and I got my first guitar that year.  I lived the changes in music in the 60s: from the Beatles to Hendrix to Zeppelin, and much more in between.  And I still spin my vinyl….

I studied chemistry (BS: Ashland College; MS: University of Kansas) and worked in a chemical lab (PGG Industries) for 23 years.  A job elimination at PPG shifted my focus entirely back to music.

I teach piano, guitar and bass to 60 students; I play and sing 20s/30s/40s tunes in the retirement/assisted living circuit.  Two weekly church gigs and a weekly preschool gig round out what’s left of my time.  I’ve recorded five CDs of original tunes.

Your parallel plan: latch on to a couple really different things and push on.  You never know which one will take over when…..

This post is part of the “When I grow up…  Series.” To contribute to this project, start here.

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