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Governor Mike Rounds Presents
Commemorative Guitar to National Music Museum

Click on any image below to see an enlargement

Governor Mike Rounds holds commemorative guitar Photo by Chad Coppess, SD Office of Tourism

South Dakota Governor Mike Rounds presented a commemorative electric guitar to the NMM on Friday, March 19, 2010, at a short ceremony attended by representatives of USD, the NMM Board of Trustees, and the NMM staff. Brad Randall, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, accepted the instrument on behalf of the NMM.

The Ibanez electric guitar was autographed by performers at the South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial dedication concerts held in the State Capitol in September 2006. Celebrated rock stars who signed the instrument include Steve Miller; Mike Love and Bruce Johnston of the Beach Boys; and Stu Cook and Doug Clifford of Credence Clearwater Revisited (both original CCR members).


The Presentation:    March 19, 2010

Ted Muenster, representing the USD Foundation, welcomed the Governor to the National Music Museum and introduced him to those assembled for the presentation ceremony.

Ted Muenster greets the Governor
All photos at the NMM taken by Aaron Packard
Governor Mike Rounds talks about the guitar at the NMM

Governor Rounds related the history of the commemorative guitar prior to its presentation to the NMM. "The veterans of the Vietnam War era really enjoyed music, and there was a specific kind of music at that time that they identified with, and we’ve all heard it, and it was special. [When the 2006 event was being planned, they were asked] what kind of entertainment do you want? Do you want a dance? And they replied, Are you kidding? We want concerts. So we went to work, and we asked people in South Dakota if they would help us put together a plan where we would have a series of rock concerts."

Two concerts were held at Hollister Field in Pierre as part of the dedication events. The Beach Boys, with special guests Red Willow Band, performed on Friday, September 15, 2006. The Steve Miller Band, with special guests Credence Clearwater Revisited, performed on Saturday, September 16. Both concerts sold out 10,000 tickets.

The concert promoters decided to ask the performers to sign a commemorative guitar while they were in Pierre. "Not only did they sign it," Rounds said, "but they also decorated it. What we ended up with was a commitment that we would find some way to honor the veterans on a longer-term basis with a remembrance of that time in Pierre when we literally had the entire state participating and celebrating in this 'welcome home and thank you for your service' ceremony."

Stu Cook, of Creedence Clearwater Revisited, signs the guitar in 2006
Photo by Chad Coppess, SD Office of Tourism

Governor Mike Rounds relates story of the guitar signing

Rounds related a humorous story about what happened after Steve Miller and Mike Love had signed the guitar. Stu Cook and Doug Clifford of Creedence Clearwater Revisited prepared to add their signatures, the Governor recalled, but "when they started to do that, the first thing that happened was a big blob [of ink] dropped on it and they were so upset. They said, 'Oh no, look what happened!' It was kind of funny because here are two guys who are clearly well-known as musicians, and yet to them this was something special because these other guys—who they respected—had already signed this." Sensing the urgency of the moment, the Governor grabbed his handkerchief and wiped off the excess ink, leaving a bit of a smudge still visible on the guitar's pick guard. Rounds related that "those two said, 'We never could have talked to those guys again if we had ruined that guitar.’"

Stu Cook's autograph, with ink smudge

Note that a smudge of ink is clearly visible next to Stu Cook's autograph on the guitar's pick guard!

Governor Mike Rounds shows the guitar prior to its presentation at the NMM

Although the event planners at one time had thought of selling the guitar on eBay to help offset the costs of the celebration, the Governor noted, "as we looked at it, we realized this is too precious to ever have it leave our state." For the past three-and-a-half years, the guitar has been on display in the Governor's private office.

"Realizing that I only have eight months left in office, we knew that we needed to do something which would allow the guitar to not only be celebrated, but also would be available for people to see and to help people remember that this was a very special time," Rounds said.

The Governor presented the guitar to Brad Randall, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, who accepted it on behalf ot the NMM.

The NMM's Official Designation for the Guitar:

NMM 14454. Electric guitar by Ibanez made in China for Saein Musical Instrument Company, Incheon, South Korea, March 2005. CIO series. Gift of the State of South Dakota, 2010.

Gov. Rounds presents the guitar to Brad Randall, Chairman of the NMM Board of Trustees

Brad Randall accepts donation from the Governor

In accepting the donation, Randall commented, "Arian Sheets, our Curator of Stringed Instruments, will be taking this shortly, and it might be the last time that bare hands get to hold this. Most guitars have a few years of anonymous use and then go into closets and die. This guitar was blessed to be signed by these wonderful musicians, and now it comes here and gets to rub shoulders with world-famous musical instruments. From the guitar’s perspective, I don’t think you could do any better than this."

Governor Rounds poses with Arian Sheets, Curator of Stringed Instruments, and members of USD's ROTC, who also attended the presentation.

Governor Mike Rounds poses with members of USD's ROTC


Donation of Ephemeral Materials From the
South Dakota Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Ceremony
Held in Pierre, September 15-16, 2006

Vietnam War Memorial Dedication, Pierre, South Dakota, September 15-16, 2006
Photo Courtesy of South Dakota Tourism

Gov. Rounds also donated a collection of ephemeral materials related to the Vietnam War Memorial dedication, including a documentary DVD, a program, back-stage passes, original concert tickets, a Vietnam Veterans’ commemorative cap, posters, and color photographs.

The collection of materials document the two days of activities surrounding the memorial's dedication, including a visit by the traveling replica of the national Vietnam War Memorial Wall; the Fallen Sons & Daughters remembrance field; a muscle car show; Huey helicopter rides; the Quilt of Tears display; and, USO hospitality tents.

The state's memorial to honor the 28,000 South Dakotans who served in the Vietnam War was dedicated the weekend of Sept. 15-16, 2006. The memorial itself is a 7-foot tall bronze statue of a soldier holding his rifle in one hand and the dogtags of a fallen soldier in the other. The statue was created by South Dakota artists Lee Leuning and Sherri Treeby, and joins other statues honoring the state's WWII and Korean War soldiers next to Capitol Lake on the grounds of the State Capitol in Pierre.

The Vietnam War Memorial itself was officially dedicated on Saturday, September 16, with a heroes parade through Pierre and a dedication ceremony that included Adrian Cronauer (of "Good Morning Vietnam" fame) as Master of Ceremonies; a special performance by Big & Rich of their Song, "The 8th of November;" an address by Governor Rounds; the unveiling of the statue; a military flyover; fireworks; and, the release of 28,000 balloons. An estimated 40,000 people were on the Capitol grounds for the dedication ceremony.


Governor Rounds Tours the National Music Museum
March 19, 2010

Following the guitar presentation ceremony, Governor Rounds was given a personal tour of the NMM by Deborah Check Reeves, Curator of Education; Sarah Richardson, Curator of Musical Instruments; and Brad Randall, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.

Deborah Check Reeves points out the NMM's Thym piano Sarah Richardson talks with the Governor

Deborah Check Reeves points out the painting on the back of the 'King' cello Sarah Richardson demonstrates the orchestrion

Return to NMM Newsletter Index (March 2010)

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