Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest
honors Frank Javorsek

Frank Javorsek

The Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest and Folk Festival, Inc. mourns the loss of Frank Javorsek and will be dedicating our Beginners Competition and the Pavilion Stage to his memory on Sunday, May 20th, 2012, at our 52nd annual event. The Pavilion stage will thereafter be known as the “Frank Javorsek Pavilion Stage” in recognition of Frank’s indelible lifetime contribution to acoustic music and music students.


In Memory of Frank Javorsek

FRANK JAVORSEK died March 22nd at age 70. He was truly a musician’s musician, perhaps more so than anyone we’ve ever known. He owned or was associated, in one way or another, with the late, great, Blue Ridge Pickin’ Parlor in the San Fernando Valley for years. That gave him the pick of the region’s best musicians as teachers, and he got them. But Frank himself always remained in demand by students of all ability levels.

In recent years, Frank had retired and worked with a loyal clientele of students on a vast variety of instruments. Among his star pupils in recent years were THE DARRINGTON FAMILY, a huge gaggle of beautiful kids who, collectively, must have won every award at the Topanga Banjo•Fiddle Contest at least once. Banjo, guitar, fiddle, mandolin, Frank had plenty to teach you on whichever instrument(s) you chose.

Frank died doing exactly what he loved most. He had a massive heart attack while giving a mandolin lesson. We knew him as quiet and soft spoken. Yet somehow he just commanded respect and rapt attention. He was an attentive listener in conversation, as well as to music and his students’ progress. When Frank led the weekly jam sessions at the Pickin’ Parlor, he took care that things were structured to allow players of all abilities to get some time, and to do it in a way that didn’t burden or hold back the advanced players or intimidate the beginners.

Indeed, the motto of the shop was “Teaching people to play together.” Some of those people went on to be in bands, make records, tour and play festival and concert hall stages. So that motto? You achieved it, Frank, most admirably and effectively, you achieved it, and we thank you.

Originally appearing in Acoustic Americana Music Guide, April 5, 2012, by Larry Wines and used with permission of the author.