Ardie Strutzenberg in Iowa Blues Hall of Fame

Ardie Strutzenberg, 1973 graduate of Humboldt High School, shared his musical talents with Humboldt students last week. He was in Iowa to be inducted into the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame. Ardie is pictured with Humboldt Middle School sixth grade percussionists Alana Malo, Cami Skow, Saige Jeanette and Henry Bormann. Not pictured was Lillian Holm. He worked with all the percussionists in grades 6-12 on the drumset. He worked with each student teaching them the different styles from the rock beat to jazz. He also talked about his life as a professional drummer. Photo by Jared Knapp.

By Mark Brandsgard
He bought his first drum kit for $15 at a Fort Dodge pawn shop with money he saved mowing yards. He was 11 years old. Now, after more than 50 years as a drummer with some of the biggest names in music, Ardie Strutzenberg is the newest member of the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame.
The charismatic Humboldt native has played all over the world, Europe, Australia, South America, even Carnegie Hall in New York, but his love for his hometown roots remains as true as his drumbeat.
“I really feel like Humboldt is unique in the universe,” he said. “If you know the history of the town’s settlement, it was designed as a kind of intellectual Utopia, a place for learning and a free exchange of ideas. One of the first things they did was to build a college on the hill north of town. I think that ideal is in Humboldt’s DNA."
The way he tells it, Ardie didn’t choose to be a drummer; drumming chose him.
“I really feel like I was born to be a drummer,” he said. “It’s in the genes, in the blood. When I was a kid I would sometimes hear my mom banging out a boogie-woogie on the piano, the only song she knew. I wasn’t attracted to the music, but the percussion, the vibration really got to me.”
For the induction ceremonies, Strutzenberg picked former Humboldt band mates John Brandsgard, Randy Berka and Jon Porter to play with him in Des Moines. Read more about his story and see photos from the event in this week's Humboldt Independent newspaper. Subscribe by clicking on the link at the top of this page.

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