Route 86 Music

2011 - Spirit Award

Gary Lambert, wife Linnea and infant son Carter moved from Minneapolis, MN to Okoboji in May 2004. Linnea joined her family’s business as Business Manager and Technical Director and Gary took the position as a special education associate, continuing the career he had begun in Minneapolis several years earlier.


Gary quickly got involved at his church playing drums and guitar, and played drums for a few gigs with area musicians John Senn, Clark Marshall, Greg Forney and several others. People began asking about lessons, and by spring of 2005 he had 14 students. Gary loves teaching drums, guitar and bass and felt there was a need in the area for instruction. So he and Linnea took a leap of faith and broke ground in June 2005 on an addition to their house at Treasure Village located on Hwy 86. Route 86 Music was born.

In addition to music lessons, Route 86 Music also boasts a Music Store, which expanded in 2009. The store carries drums, guitars and all related accessories. It also sells band instruments and has access to almost anything to do with music through their many distributors.

Route 86 Music also has a recording studio, utilizing Gary’s many years of experience as a studio musician in Minneapolis. Route 86 Records has recorded CD’s for Dallas Clark, Orphic Night, Ray Meyer, Potter’s Clay, Megan Skalbeck and Sarah Webb. One of its projects was “Christmas at Okoboji,” a compilation CD featuring 14 of the Lakes Area’s fantastic musical talents. The CD was released in November 2006 at a sold out benefit concert.

That first summer Route 86 Music also hosted its annual Rock & Roll Day Camp, which is now heading into its 7th year. More than 160 campers have attended the camp, which teaches youth how to play an instrument, form a band, and play as a band – all in 3 days. Route 86 hires professional musicians to lead the clinics. It is so much fun to see young musicians become “rock stars” in a short time. Route 86 Music has also participated in the ArtLIVE week-long camps for several years, with both Gary and fellow instructor Jesse Dagel teaching band and recording skills.

As for music lessons, Gary is the main instructor on drums, guitar and bass. He loves students of all ages - beginners to his oldest student at age 80.  Gary also teaches drum and guitar lessons at Iowa Lakes Community College. Jesse Dagel from Ocheyedan started as an electric guitar instructor in 2006.  Dave Graanstra of Harris teaches acoustic guitar. Route 86 Music also has two piano teachers: Mindy Schuette and Karina Van Wyhe, both of Milford. With all the talented instructors, more than 80 students are taking lessons at Route 86 Music each week.

Gary is thrilled to be able to inspire so many to learn to play music, and loves that there are kids as young as 6 and yet so many adult students too. No one is ever too old or too young to try an instrument. Gary loves watching his own children, 8-year-old Carter and 5 year old Maddie, play drums, strum on guitar, or dance to the beat as they watch him play drums. For more information on Route 86 Music, call 712-337-0105 or visit us online at

Route 86 Music is awarded the Iowa Rock ‘N Roll Music Association 2011 Spirit Award in recognition of its commitment to instilling in young and old alike the enthusiasm and spirit that music brings to everyone.

The Iowa Rock 'n Roll Music Association Hall of Fame & Museum exists to preserve the legacy of rock and roll music in Iowa by honoring achievements, educating youth and inspiring artists. Established in 1997, we are a501(c)(3) non-profit statewide organization with many areas of service.

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