Gary Panton grew up in Niagara, New York, and played the drums and vibes in high school. It was there that he started his first band, a jazz trio. In 1970 he was hired by Dick Crino in Dunkirk, New York, to work in his small music store. While Gary started on the sales floor, he soon followed Dick’s lead to serve the local school band directors as a school road rep. He even gave drum lessons in the store before going to college at Fredonia School of Music. The somewhat unique focus of the school was teaching musicians how to teach music rather than concentrating on performance degrees.
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