Monthly Archives: April 2015

“Pete” Dwight Martens

Born in 1952, Pete never liked his real first name – Dwight, named after Dwight Eisenhower’s election. As a toddler, his family would call him Dwight, and he would not respond. One day his grandfather called him “Petey” (the dog in Our Gang) and it stuck. “Petey” , like the dog, enjoyed people, and developed a sense of humor, which was required for having “Petey” as a first name.

Due to his size and girth during his “wonder bread with road kill years”, he was also taught to be kind to “the little people”, because he enjoyed “rough housing with his brothers, and friends, and laughing after a good brawl.

Pete always enjoyed singing, and always had music playing by parents who enjoyed all kinds of music. Encouraged to play an accordion at the age of eight by his German father, he began his quest to read music and failed. Traumatized by the black spots on the lines that blurred together, he sang what he heard, and fooled his teachers in music with memory and repetition….the method he uses today. After attempts at learning trumpet, guitar, piano, and banjo, he maintains the distinction of ..jack of all trades, master of none.

Pete was fortunate to meet Emily at Pomona College, and more fortunate when he married her 38 years ago. He got a job in sales with Nalco Chemical, and he and Emily traveled the country as he built a very successful career there. Two sons (Steven and David) and 7 houses later, they came to Reno, where he continued his success with Nalco, working mainly with the mining industry. Pete is now retired, and devoting much of his energy to promoting our chorus.

His son David sang barbershop with Corey Hunt while in high school, and their quartet won the Western Division High School Contest. And that is how Pete became interested in barbershop. He has been a member of the chorus for four years, still maintains his sense of humor, and believes he can improve as a singer without learning how to read music. His forward thinking, ability to or-ganize and willingness to put forth the effort needed to accomplish things have, and continue to be, a tremendous asset to our group. May Pete be with us for many years to come!