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A man and his banjo

Nuclear physicist discovers musical career after retirement

Don Stevison, a 1957 Ohio alumnus, has seen his share of experiments.

As a nuclear physicist at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base for 31 years, Stevison's work directly involved research and lab work, which he enjoyed. However, it also provided him the opportunity to conduct experiments of another kind — on a banjo.

At the encouragement of co-workers who played banjos together during their lunch break, Stevison bought a used banjo and joined the group practices. He retired in 1991, but his passion for playing the banjo continued to grow. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Okla.

Today, Stevison plays the four-string banjo with the Kettering Banjo Society, which performs popular music from the 19th and 20th centuries, such as ragtime.

His passion for this era is not only reflected in his playing, but also on his face: Stevison grew a handlebar mustache to better suit the style of music he was playing.

He even inspired several bandmates to do the same. "I wouldn't shave it off now for the world," says Stevison of his mustache, which garners many inquisitive looks and comments.

To read the full story, visit Ohio Today Online