Life can be confusing for most of us at times, with the path difficult to see. For Greg Bueltmann, that path is clear: it’s always been about the music, even when he worked as an educator.
“My early career was in education. I was a band director and music major in college and wound up becoming a school administrator,” Bueltmann said. “But I’ve always been a musician.”
Bueltmann says that the real change for him came when he moved to northwest Indiana in 2010.
“I got into contact with some friends who are really connected to the local music scene here,” Bueltmann said. “Charlotte Friedland runs a Facebook page called ‘Rock N Rollers,’ and she knows all the guys who are in these local bands. She recommended me to a band called Echoes of Pompeii, who had also been playing as Mr. Funnyman for the last 25 years. Their keyboard player had shifted priorities and couldn’t do it anymore, so they were looking for a new keyboardist. I was new to the area and a relative unknown, but it turned out to be a perfect fit for all of us.”
Greg has a tremendous appreciation for music from the 1960s and 70s.
“If you look at the 1960s, you had the Beatles, the Stones. That was great music, but the 1970s was when the recording technology really got to where they could control how the final product would sound for the listener, and there was so much going on. You had jazz, fusion, R&B, Motown… it was a really great era.”
“Then you even had the beginning of the disco era. Some of those groups, like the Bee Gees, for example, were fantastic. There’s really something for everyone.”
Bueltmann is especially impressed by the support he sees for the local music scene here in northwest Indiana.
“Whether I’m playing with Mr. Funnyman or Echoes of Pompeii, the crowds have just been remarkable,” Bueltmann said. “I think it’s really a testament to the area, how people come out to support the music and to support their local communities. We often play in community festivals, and the festivals here are just packed. It’s really great to see.”
According to Bueltmann, Echoes of Pompeii focuses on the music of Pink Floyd, while Mr. Funnyman features the music of ABBA, Jefferson Airplane, Steely Dan and others.
“You play some of those songs, and it just takes people back to a particular time in their lives. We’re even finding a lot of younger people at our shows, because that music is really timeless.”
Originally from Libertyville, IL, Bueltmann has found a home in Gary’s Miller neighborhood.
“Miller is a diverse community by almost every measure. It’s a beautiful area surrounded by parks. You have affordable housing for people from all walks of life. There are professors here, mill workers and blue-collar trade workers too. We have diverse religious beliefs here, and everybody just gets along. There’s very little conflict.”
“It’s a small community, and it has a neighborhood feel to it. It’s very peaceful. There may be challenges, but there are also organizations who work together to pitch in and work towards making it an even better community in which to work and live.”
When he’s not making music on stage, Bueltmann holds the position of Senior Director of Business Operations and Enablement for The Burwood Group, a technology integration and consulting firm that grew out of the dot-com boom of the 90s and continues to thrive today. He says that technology continues to evolve.
“It’s become more cloud-based now, so now we work more closely with Google, Cisco systems, Citrix Systems, Palo Alto networks and others like those to help companies deal with issues such as network security, in-house computing, etc.”
“Previously, companies would own and maintain their own equipment. Now we’re seeing that companies are moving more toward having companies like Burwood own and operate the equipment and maintain service levels to the end user, so that’s kind of where we’re at now, transitioning to that model and we’re seeing a lot of success doing that.”
When he’s not behind the keyboard or helping customers solve their tech-related needs, Bueltmann is an avid model railroader, and keeps a set in his basement.
“That’s something that I use to occupy my time in the winter months,” Bueltmann laughs.
Bueltmann’s dedication to education and passion for music were things that he happily passed on to his children. His son, Ben is a Chicago musician who does custom app development for smartphones, while daughter Kate teaches middle school in Indianapolis.