Bob Batyko, was born in New Jersey, was raised primarily in Akron, Ohio, and is a graduate of Kent State. He’s also resided in Virginia and downstate Indiana (close to Bean Blossom where he had a chance to jam with Brother Birch Monroe). Early on he played the guitar and began working in church music, playing for some of the first guitar masses. He then “found” bluegrass music and worked at the songs of Doc Watson, Norman Blake and Bill Harrell. He also has an interest in Django Reinhart and gypsy jazz. Bob has a day job — he works in the communications industry.
Jim Robarts was born and raised in Southern California. His early musical influence was Spade Cooley, the “King of Western Swing.” He became interested in bluegrass in high school, but didn’t begin to pursue an instrument until after his return from Vietnam, where he spent two years as a uniformed representative of the United States government. He also worked at the Lava Lamp plant in Chicago, and knows the secret.
He moved to Chicago and took up the banjo. He then moved to Madison to gain Masters Degrees at the University of Wisconsin, and began playing in various bluegrass bands. His banjo is a 1999 Gibson Granada. He retired his 1926 Gibson TB-3 conversion.
Dale Ward brings a hard driving mandolin to the band as well as high lonesome vocals. After years of forays into country and rock, he’s embraced bluegrass. Another multi-instrumentalist (he’s been known to pick up a guitar and fiddle), Dale puts his high tenor to good use in harmonies or lead vocal work. A Dale Ward bobble-head is in the future…..
Lorie Docken rounds out the group on bass. She’s been subbing for several years with SpareTime and now steps into the full time slot. The Minnesota native plays an upright Kay bass.
A new fifth member of the group was added last year. Lisa Case-Doro is from downstate Indiana. She performs on fiddle and sings. She has played with groups in Nashville and Ann Arbor, Michigan, and brings to SpareTime a unique female lead and harmony voice.