The new ETS Banjo






December 20, 2005

Hello ETS family,

 Many thanks to all of you who came and made our Christmas Ball such a wonderful evening.   

It was with great surprise and a stunned sense of gratitude that I received a new Stelling Master’s Cross banjo from my students.  The banjo is the same model as the one that I got when I was 12 years old and was stolen from our house by “Bob the Bandit”.  However it sounds even better than my old banjo as the rim is made out of 100 year old wood pulled from the bottom of Lake Superior.  You can read more about these special “Old Wood” rims at  

 Mrs. Helland deserves much thanks for not only organizing the purchase but also finding the banjo at a great price from a seller who could deliver it so quickly- to get a new one from Stelling directly would have taken almost a year.  However, what makes the banjo so special to me is that it is such a kind expression of gratitude and affection from my students.  I was certainly prepared to replace the banjo eventually, but there were so many memories associated with my old one that even though a new one would be virtually identical, it would just not mean the same thing.  (Neither Theseus ship nor the replaceable nature of husbands and children will be discussed at this point).  And yet, having my new banjo be such a wonderful expression of kindness from so many people that I hold dear certainly helps it fill that banjo shaped hole in the corner of my heart.  I never won any trophies when I was young, except for the “fisherman of the month” trophy I won in third grade by falsifying the number of Bible verses I had memorized that month.  However, it is difficult to imagine any greater source of “tutor glory” than to be able to say of this banjo (until death or another Bob due us part) when asked its source, “My students gave it to me”.

 I should mention that our home owners insurance has said that they will provide a partial financial settlement on the old banjo.  It appears that this amount will be sufficient to have the metal portions of this banjo engraved, effectively making the banjo a “Master’s Cross Deluxe”.  The engraving is hand done and the possibility of a number of our ETS mottoes being included has been very enticing. OMNIS SPIRITUS LAUDET DOMINUM and DONA NOBIS PACEM are certainly front runners, but if you have any suggestions, I would love to receive them. 

 I would also like to thank the Blacklocks for kindly sending me their banjo that was not getting the attention it deserved in their basement.  Though this banjo will be overshadowed by his more glorious brother, he has a happy future ahead on many ETS Europe trips as well as someday in the lap of my sons as (hopefully) they learn banjo.

 With love and thanks,

Mr. Hinrichs



For those of you who would like to see the furnishings that get Mr. Hinrichs through many hours of teaching and paper grading each day....

Paper grading position- displays four pages at once!

Teaching position- very comfortable!

Though the computer stand was finished last year, the desk itself was a creation of my bachelor days back in 1994.  It is made of book matched Oregon black walnut.  The monitor and keyboard mounting fixtures are from but can be found at great discount through ebay. 

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