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Oakland Tribune
Trumpeting the joy of toys
August 7, 2008

"Only on the clearest of days from the panoramic deck of his Oakland hills home can Phil Shoptaugh make out five bridges – the Dumbarton, San Mateo, Bay, Golden Gate and the Richmond-San Rafael. But that's not where his vision ends. Shoptaugh is a classical musician as well as the inventor of parlor games and construction toys. It's "Toy Story" meets Beethoven.

Shoptaugh, 70, was trained on the trumpet and played with the San Francisco Symphony and various theater orchestras. He now plays with Brazzissimo, a 10-piece brass ensemble he founded and directs. And he's lead coronet in the Oakland Park Band.

He wasn't trained as an inventor of games and toys. That just sort of happened as an adult, and he's made a living doing it since - and doing it tastefully. He has received two prestigious national honors: the Parents Choice Award and Creative Child Award..."

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