Back in 1995, Andy Plymale got a call from Seattle musician Eric Tingstad about holding a concert with his partner Nancy Rumbel at the Battelle Auditorium.
At the time, Tingstad and music partner Nancy Rumbel weren't that well known. That changed 10 years later when they won a Grammy Award for their eclectic mix of New Age music.
"Being kind of a jazz purist at the time and not familiar with Eric and Nancy's instrumental sound, I asked Eric whether he and Nancy improvised," Plymale said. "When he said 'No!' very sharply, I think we were both mutually turned off and I didn't think of them again and he probably didn't likewise."
Fortunately, that's not how it turned out.
"About a year later, a friend and (Battelle) co-worker mentioned he and his wife had seen a finger-style guitarist and oboe player in Leavenworth and they had thoroughly enjoyed the music, conversation and humor of the concert," Plymale said.
"I figured there could only be one guitar/oboe duo, which I confirmed with my friend. Then I called Eric back and booked Tingstad and Rumbel's first Tri-Cities concert in 1996 or 1997. The response was so great it was a no-brainer to have them back again and again."
Tingstad and Rumbel return March 11 for another evening of soothing, yet energetic guitar/oboe music at Shalom United Church of Christ, 505 McMurray Ave., Richland.
Showtime is 8 p.m. Admission is $15 in advance or $20 at the door. Tickets are available at Tri-City Bookworm stores or the Octopus' Garden in the Uptown Shopping Center in Richland.
Proceeds will benefit the Ice Age Floods Institute.
Tingstad and Rumbel, who have played together since 1985, won a Grammy for best New Age Album in 2003 for their album American Acoustic. They performed at Carnegie Hall in 2000.
Tingstad is the guitarist, Rumbel the oboist, though she also plays the English horn and double ocarina.
Plymale believes the duo's annual concerts in the Tri-Cities have continued to be popular not only because of dedicated fan base but also because of new converts each year.
"Eric and Nancy are a lot of fun and perhaps the most easy-going musicians I've ever worked with," he said.
*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514; firstname.lastname@example.org