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Welcome to the East Bay Banjo Club site! We are a group of people dedicated to enjoying and promoting happy music on the banjo.  We have existed for over fifty years!

Starting Wednesday, August 13, 2014 our new meeting site will be at the Greenery Restaurant, 1551 Marchbanks Dr,  Walnut Creek, CA. The restaurant is five minutes from Downtown Walnut Creek by John Muir Medical Center.

We practice together weekly on Wednesdays, from 7 to 9 P.M. The public and all banjo players are welcome to join us for these play sessions. We perform at various events in the greater San Francisco Bay area.

View our latest events below!

 

The Commons at Dallas Ranch

October 4, 2014

By:  Karen Hefter
Photos By:  Diane Risner

We were scheduled to play outdoors at The Commons at Dallas Ranch’s Fall Country Faire, but, since the temperature was in the mid 90s, we were able to play inside.   We had a small but enthusiastic audience for our performance.   Betty David led us in a variety of songs that the audience knew and loved.  There was even marching and dancing in the aisles for “When the Saints Go Marching In.”  Don Granberg, Bud Pearce, and Sheila Welt were our singers for the day and the crowd was very appreciative of their vocal skills.  The staff was very kind and offered us snacks and drinks before our performance, which we appreciated.

Our players were: Guy Black, Jim Blankenship, Tom Brunetti, Kermit Collins, Betty David, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Garry Kerr, Phil Myers, Bud Pearce, Larry Risner, and Sheila Welt.

Posted in Gig

Club Picnic at Lander’s Landing

August 23, 2014

By:  Diane Malucelli
Photos by: Linda Myers

After a long drive winding through farms and ranches, we arrived at our annual club picnic at Landers Landing.  Most of us arrived before noon and Bobbie Landers gave us all a big welcome at her beautiful home on the water.  Don Granberg brought his keyboard and joined banjo players Betty David, Bob Malucelli, Phil and Linda Myers, Kit Nelson, Mike Stein, Sheila Welt, Ardie Jarrett, Guy Black, and Bud Pearce, as they played music for many hours.  Kit, Bud, Don, Bob, and Clyde sang many of the songs.  The neighbors on the island across from Bobbie’s home even came out on their deck to listen to the wonderful music!

Other attendees at the picnic were Mary Black and her son Randy, Bernadette Espejo, Diane Malucelli and her mom Irene, Clyde Dedmon, Dina Melamed, Jim and Angelina Blankenship, Bob Nelson, Gloria Pearce, and Jeannine Stein.  A young friend of Bobbie’s came to the picnic.  His name is Marek and he is from Tabor in the CzechRepublic.  He attended with three other young people who are  part of his host family.  They went out on the boat with Bobbie’s daughter, Holly Burke.  Holly also took a few of our banjo group out on the boat to tour the Delta.

We had a wonderful lunch of sausages, veggie burgers, corn on the cob, salads, chips, dips and great desserts.  Don brought a delicious homemade cheesecake that he made from his mom’s recipe.  It was a beautiful, relaxing, warm day on the Delta with fun music and great people.  We are so thankful to Bobbie and her family for this opportunity to visit her home and the Delta for our annual picnic.  Thank you so much!

Posted in Gig

Relay For Life Playout

July 12, 2014

By:  Kit Nelson
Photos by:  Bob Nelson and Edward Hefter

Todos De Santos park in Concord, CA was the scene of a “Relay For Life” walk to support the American Cancer Society.  It is a 24-hour walk-a-thon for a cure and all proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.  We were delighted to be a part of their day and we thank the American Cancer Society for the opportunity to play at this event.

We had a wonderful turnout of 23 performers from the East Bay Banjo Club. Our performers were:  Betty David, Guy Black, Tom Brunetti, Jesse De Torres, Marco and Brian Green, Harry and Red Higgins, Don Granberg, Terry Horner, Karen Hefter, Ardie Jarrett, Chris Lardge, Bob and Diane Malucelli, Dina Melamed, Phil and Linda Myers, Kit Nelson, Bud Pearce, Larry Risner, Sheila Welt, and Ken Williamson.  Other club members who attended were Jim Abele, Georgette De Torres, Clyde Dedmon, and Bob Nelson.

A “Try A Banjo” area was set up adjacent to the stage and staffed by Karen and Linda.  People could stop by and learn more about banjos, ukuleles, and the East Bay Banjo Club. Karen and Linda let people try the banjos and ukes we had on display and taught the visitors to play a 2-chord song (The Hokey Pokey).

Quite a variety of musical talents were displayed that day by our members.  The audience enjoyed the list of songs that Betty, our Music Director, chose to play.  The EBBC did a wonderful service to our community by volunteering to provide music to people who are “fighting for the cure.”  Everyone in the club can feel proud to have made their own personal contribution to the American Cancer Society.  We hope we are invited back next year.

 

EBBC at Relay For Life.

E TX BBC at Relay For Life.

Orinda 4th of July Parade

By Karen Hefter
Photos by:  Karen Hefter, Edward Hefter, Linda Myers, and Gloria Pearce
Video by:  Edward Hefter

We couldn’t have picked a nicer day for a parade!  Spirits were high as we rode down the streets of Orinda on our festive float.  We  decorated the flatbed truck with bales of straw, bunting, and plenty of American flags.  Betty David led us in our parade songs, which we played to the cheers of the audience.  Many people smiled at us and air strummed imaginary banjos as we went by.  We were told that it was much easier to hear us this year, as compared to last year, which is good!  The parade was really well attended this year and it is a real treat to be part of this slice of Americana.  Diane and Bob Malucelli coordinated this event for us and even brought coffee and doughnuts for us to enjoy as we decorated the float!

We would like to thank our wonderful sponsors, Alex and Alice Gailas of A.G. Realty (and their dog Apollo) for sponsoring our float again and for riding with us.  We would also like to thank club member Bobbie Landers for arranging the logistics of the straw bales for us this year.  Our performers were:  Guy Black, Betty David, Don Granberg, Brian Green, Marco Green, Karen Hefter, Harry Higgins, Red Higgins, Deb Hodson, Bob Malucelli, Diane Malucelli, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, and Bud Pearce.

EBBC at the 2014 Orinda 4th of July Parade from East Bay Banjo Club on Vimeo.

Stoneman Village Playout

July 3, 2014

By:  Diane Malucelli
Photos by:  Bob Nelson

We had an enjoyable playout at StonemanVillage in Pittsburg.  We were going to play in their outdoor patio, but we were moved into their recreation room because it was too warm outside.  We were very happy to be in the air conditioning!

The members who played were Betty David, Guy Black, Kit Nelson, Don Granberg, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Jim Blankenship, Bob Malucelli, and Diane Malucelli.  Since it was right before the 4th of July, Betty led us in a state themed program, including songs like “Missouri Waltz” and “Alabama Jubilee.”  We played all 5 of the military songs.  Betty acknowledged each branch of the military individually and asked the veterans to stand when their branch’s song was played. Kit Nelson sang and led the group in the military songs.  Don Granberg played several songs on the piano, which really added a special touch to our music.  We ended with “God Bless America.”

We had about forty people in the audience and I want to highlight two special residents who were present in the audience.  Mac Coates, the president of the Pittsburg Lions Club, was in the front of the room and he loved every song.  He really inspired us with his enthusiasm as he cheered us on.  The other person I would like to mention is Joe Morales, an Army veteran.  He was drafted in World War II,  reenlisted four times, and fought in the Battle of the Bulge.  He took a photo with Bob Nelson, our own Marine veteran.

Aegis Senior Living Playout

June 19, 2014

By:  Karen Hefter
Photos by:  Bob Nelson

The EBBC had an amazing turnout of 18 players and 2 supporting members at this playout!  We performed in a beautiful, shaded courtyard in front of a gurgling fountain while the audience members lounged in chairs around the perimeter of the courtyard.  They were served drinks and hors d’oeuvres by staff members during our performance.  The EBBC was invited to join the residents for a light buffet following the show.

We performed a number of singalong and dance favorites and audience members clapped as we played.  Towards the end, many of them rose to their feet and danced to “Five Foot Two” and our closing number, “When The Saints Go Marching In.”  Our youngest member, Danielle Torres, sang several songs, to the delight of the audience. Don Granberg, Kit Nelson, Red Higgins, Bud Pearce, and Chris Lardge also entertained the audience with their vocals.  Our performers were:  Guy Black, Tom Brunetti, Kermit Collins, Betty David, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Harry Higgins, Red Higgins, Ardie Jarrett, Chris Lardge, Bob Malucelli, Diane Malucelli, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Kit Nelson, Bud Pearce, Larry Risner, and Danielle Torres.  Club members Bob Nelson and Jim Abele were present in the audience, along with EBBC alumnus Jack Hicks.

EBBC at Aegis Senior Living.

EBBC at Aegis Senior Living.

Posted in Gig

Kensington Playout

May 26, 2014

By:  Bud Pearce
Photos by:  Bob Nelson

The East Bay banjo strummers helped the seniors at Kensington Senior Living Center celebrate Memorial Day 2014. The performance got off to a somewhat rocky start, due to a problem with the audio system. With only one speaker working and no way to increase  the volume, the audience could not hear Betty David’s opening remarks. The first songs were a salute to all branches of the Armed Forces (Marines, Navy, Army, Coast Guard, and Air Force), but we relied heavily on Kit being able to start each vocally. Again, the audio system caused less than desirable results. We must correct these problems if we expect our audiences to enjoy our performances.

Some excitement occurred during the performance when the EMT’s arrived along with an ambulance to take care of a medical emergency somewhere in the facility. Fortunately, most of the audience was unaware of the happenings, as their backs were turned to the facility entrance.

Despite the problems, the  East Bay performers did their best to provide a fine memorial day celebration. Performers included Betty David, leader, Kit Nelson, Bud Pearce, Karen Hefter, Chris  Lardge, Dina Melamed, Guy Black, Sheila Welt,  Don Granberg, Herb Moore, and Ardie Jarrett.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Gig

Arizona Banjo and Ukulele Blast

May 22-24, 2014

By:  Diane Malucelli
Photos by:  Diane Malucelli, Ardie Jarrett, Garry Kerr, Linda Myers, Larry Risner

This funded event took place over three days at the Omni Tucson National Resort on the outskirts of Tucson.  Each day was jam packed with ukulele and banjo workshops, poolside concerts, jam sessions, and an evening concert.  The resort was beautiful and included an outdoor swimming pool and a golf course.  Many of our rooms were near the pool, as well as the banjo and ukulele activities.  The weather was clear and around 90 degrees.

Our group of 12 banjo players practiced in Don Granberg’s room on Friday.  Our players were:  Jesse DeTorres, Don Granberg, Deb Hodson, Bob Hodson, Ardie Jarrett, Bob Malucelli, Diane Malucelli, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Dick Neuman, Larry Risner, and Sheila Welt.

We performed at 2pm on Saturday.  We looked great in our blue polos and brown khaki pants and everyone cheered for us as we performed our ten songs.  A Tucson tuba player, Daniel “Sly” Slipetsky joined us for our performance. We had about 100 people in the audience.  Jesse played and sang “Babyface,” “For Me and My Gal,” and “California Here I Come.”  Don played his washboard on “Coney Island Washboard.”  Sheila sang “Darkness on the Delta” and Don and Deb sang a duet on “Just Because.”

There were many wonderful musicians at this event and one of the exciting groups that performed was the All Star Youth Banjo Band from Houston, Texas, led by Banjo Hall of Fame musician, Buddy Griffin.  There were about 20 young people from ages 8 to 18 playing banjos and ukuleles.  They knew all of their songs so well that they didn’t need any music in front of them! They were very inspirational and a great group of musicians.  Johnny Baier, Executive Director of the National Four-String Banjo Museum and Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, performed at the event.  Tyler Jackson and his lovely wife entertained us many times.  Another Hall of Fame banjo player, Dave Marty attended as well.  We all enjoyed several international banjo players:  Sean Moyses from England, Mikoyo Onishi and Mashu from Tokyo and Tom Stuip from the Netherlands.

Several of us brought our ukuleles with us and we attended some of the ukulele jam sessions and workshops. Bob and Diane Malucelli played their ukuleles.  Ardie Jarrett and Jesse DeTorres came to several ukulele workshops on Saturday to learn about Hawaiian style and other ukulele styles from Buddy Griffin and blues from Del Rey.

Garry EBBC Tucson_2216 The EBBC performs in Tuscon.

Bourbon Street Parade and Bill Bailey” from East Bay Banjo Club on Vimeo.

Just Because from East Bay Banjo Club on Vimeo.

Posted in Gig

S.I.R.S. Playout

May 8, 2014

By:  Karen Hefter
Photos by:  Bob Nelson

S.I.R.S. (Sons In Retirement) invited us to play for their bi-annual luncheon with their spouses.  The luncheon was held at the beautiful Boundary Oaks Country Club in Walnut Creek. The audience was very appreciative of our music.  Jack Convery led the playout and he introduced each member of the Club and invited them to select a song for us to play.  The performance ended when the S.I.R.S. Singers got up in front of the banjos and invited the crowd (and the EBBC) to perform “God Bless America” with them.  Their pianist started off the verse and the crowd and the banjos joined in on the chorus.  Our players were: Guy Black, Tom Brunetti, Kermit Collins, Jack Convery, Betty David, Karen Hefter, Ardie Jarrett, Garry Kerr, Chris Lardge, Bob Malucelli, Diane Malucelli, Herb Moore, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Kit Nelson, and Sheila Welt. Club member Bob Nelson took photographs.

EBBC at S.I.R.S.

EBBC at S.I.R.S.

Posted in Gig

Sacramento Banjo-Rama 2014

May 2-4, 2014

By: Karen Hefter
Photos by: Garry Kerr, Linda Myers, and Bob Nelson

The East Bay Banjo club would like to thank our hosts, the Sacramento Banjo Band, for a fun-filled, 3 day banjo extravaganza. The workshops were excellent and very informative and all of the featured performers were inspiring.  Jam sessions went on all day long (and well into the night).  The Slovenian group, Navihanke, was a high energy surprise that brought smiles to everyone’s faces. There was plenty to do all weekend long and, when there was a bit of down time, you could get your banjo worked on by Renee Karnes, a Hall of Fame luthier, or shop for a new addition to your banjo collection.

The EBBC had a great turnout for our performance, with 20 players present. Betty David led us in a solid performance of a variety of banjo favorites. Danielle Torres, Kit Nelson, Bud Pearce, and Sheila Welt were our singers for the day and 10 year old Danielle was especially popular with the crowd. The EBBC had the youngest band member present out of all of the clubs! We were fortunate to have Fredy Kinadeter play the tuba with us and we are grateful that he was able to join us. Our players were: Guy Black, Tom Brunetti, Jack Convery, Betty David, Barbara Findlay, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Harry Higgins, Bob Hodson, Deb Hodson, Chris Lardge, Kit Nelson, Fredy Kinadeter, Herb Moore, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Bud Pearce, Larry Risner, Danielle Torres, and Sheila Welt. Club members Bob Nelson, Garry Kerr, and Red Higgins supported us in the audience and Bob and Garry took pictures.

A special treat followed the EBBC’s performance. First, our own Jack Convery performed with Dave Marty. Then, Harry Higgins and his granddaughter Danielle Torres were invited on stage to play with Jack and Dave. Danielle sang several songs and even played the banjo and sang at the same time. To top off this wonderful performance, Harry’s wife, Red Higgins, came on stage and sang with Danielle while Harry, Jack, and Dave played their banjos. The crowd really enjoyed the entire performance.

The EBBC at Banjo-Rama 2014

The EBBC at Banjo-Rama 2014

Harry, Danielle, Jack, and Dave

Harry, Danielle, Jack, and Dave

Danielle wows the crowd.

Danielle wows the crowd.

Chris poses with Navihanke.

Chris poses with Navihanke.

 

 

 

Posted in Gig

Sheep Shearing Day Playout

April 26, 2014

By:  Karen Hefter
Photos by:  Bob Nelson, Linda Myers, Garry Kerr

Over the years, the East Bay Banjo Club has played for a wide variety of audiences and events, but, to my knowledge, this was the first time that we have played for a Sheep Shearing Day!  The City of San Ramon holds an annual festival at Forest Hill Farms, a former walnut orchard and processing plant where families watch sheep being herded and sheared, watch wool spinning and carding, take tractor rides, and tour the historic home and farm buildings.  The EBBC played outside, in a courtyard next to an open barn filled with a variety of woodworking demonstrations.  The play out was 3 ½ hours long, including a few breaks.  Betty and Larry took turns leading the sets.  We played a wide variety of songs and the crowd seemed to really enjoy us.  Our players were: Guy Black, Tom Brunetti, Kermit Collins, Betty David, Barbara Findlay, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Deb Hodson, Ardie Jarrett, Garry Kerr, Fredy KinadeterChris Lardge, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Kit Nelson, Larry Risner, and Sheila WeltBob Nelson took pictures.

We also tried something new.  In order to reach out to the public, particularly children and their parents, we set up a “Try A Banjo” area next to the band.  Two players at a time manned this area and we  had 2 banjos available for the public to try.  When people came, we would teach them “C” and “G7” chords and play “Camptown Races” with them.  This was a huge success – we had children of all ages, from toddlers to adults, come and try playing the banjo.  One little girl enjoyed it so much that she came over and sat in the middle of the band for about 20 minutes and just took everything in!  (You can see her in the video of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”)  We gave her a sparkling blue pick to take home as a souvenir…  There was a line most of the day with people waiting their turn.  The festival organizers seemed very pleased with the Club’s performance, as well as with the “Try A Banjo.”  We hope we will be invited back next year.

 

“Take Me Out To The Ball Game” from East Bay Banjo Club on Vimeo.

Oh Susanna from East Bay Banjo Club on Vimeo.

“Marching To Pretoria” from East Bay Banjo Club on Vimeo.

Posted in Gig

Walnut Creek Senior Center Playout

April 18, 2014

By:  Karen Hefter
Photos by:  Bob Nelson

What a wonderful playout!  We thoroughly enjoyed playing for a crowd of 60 or 70 seniors in a big, bright room for their April luncheon.  This was first time that the new microphones and mixer were used for a playout.  The setup was easy and the sound quality was excellent.  Overall, the equipment situation has improved tremendously.

We were led by Betty David in a selection of spirited banjo classics that really got the crowd involved.  At one point, a lady with a walker came up right in front of the band and did a solo dance, walker and all!   Our players were:  Guy Black, Betty David, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Terry Horner, Ardie Jarrett, Chris Lardge, Dina Melamed, Herb Moore, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Kit Nelson, Bud Pearce, Larry Risner, and Sheila Welt.  Club member Jim Abele was in the audience and Bob Nelson took pictures.

Kit Nelson sang several songs, such as “St. Louis Blues,” “You Are My Sunshine” and “Take Me Out To The Ballgame, ” many in singalong style.  Bud Pearce sang “Yes Sir, That’s My Baby” to thunderous applause.  Herb Moore, who has been absent from the group for awhile was back playing his banjo and sang “Bye, Bye Blackbird.”  Larry Risner took a solo on “Bye, Bye Blues,” which the crowd really enjoyed.  Chris Lardge sang “Margie” with style and Sheila Welt sang a lovely version of  ”Darkness on the Delta.”  We closed with “When the Saints Go Marching In” and about a third of the crowd got up out of their seats and started marching around the tables.  When the song ended (after 4 times through), there were cries of, “Darn, you ended!”  It was a fun performance and we left the crowd wanting more.

Posted in Gig

Orinda Masonic Center Playout

February 28, 2014

By:  Karen Hefter
Photos by:  Bob Nelson

We played for a full house of around 150 happy and well fed people at the Orinda Masonic Center Crab Feed.  The place was packed!  Our fifteen players performed on a raised stage and had a great view of the festivities.  We had a little trouble setting up the sound equipment, but everyone pitched in and we figured it out.  For this performance, we were led by Betty David in a variety of crowd pleasing favorites.  Our singers were Jesse De Torres, Kit Nelson, and Sheila Welt.   We ended the performance with When The Saints Go Marching In and people got up and started marching in the aisles!  Deb Hodson got out of her seat, brought her banjo down into the audience area, and joined the parade.  The audience seemed very appreciative of our performance.  Our players were:  Guy Black, Tom Brunetti, Kermit Collins, Betty David, Jesse De Torres, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Deb Hodson, Ardie Jarrett, Dina Melamed, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Kit Nelson, Larry Risner, and Sheila Welt.  Club members Jim Abele, Georgette De Torres (and her grandson), and Bob Nelson supported the players from the audience.

 

 

Posted in Gig

Snow Train 2014

February 6, 2014

By: Bud Pearce

Photos By: Phil & Linda Myers

All aboard for the Snow Train 2014! Several East Bay strummers boarded the train early Tuesday morning, February 4, bound for Reno, Nevada. The train made several stops along its journey from Oakland to Reno. Most passengers boarded in Martinez, but players also boarded in Emeryville and Sacramento, including Dick Martin, who rode a train from Oregon to Sacramento to join Jack Convery as a banjo “headliner”.

Fetze Pijlman playing tenor banjo

Fetze Pijlman playing tenor banjo

The event took on an international flair this year with the addition of Mr. Fetze Pijlman from Hilversum, Holland. Mr. Piljman, who organizes the Holland Jazz Banjo Festival (www.Jazzbanjo.nl), enjoyed playing traditional jazz on his tenor banjo while seeing the sights the High Sierra Mountains offer in the winter. There were some preliminary discussions about some American banjo players journeying to Holland to participate in the Holland Jazz Banjo Festival in the future. Jack was very excited about that possibility, which reminded us of our trip to the Czech Republic in 2005. Don’t be surprised if some East Bay strummers are performing in Europe in 2015!

As is customary, we played many traditional jazz tunes while riding the train to Reno. Kit Nelson sang using the sound system provided by Jack, and many of those riding in the car sang along using song books provided by Jack. We were also accompanied by a keyboard player, who managed to set up his keyboard between the seats and allowed just enough room for people to pass by in the aisle. The conductor, trying to avoid being a killjoy, held back his admonishments and looked the other way during his strolls through the train car. We arrived on schedule in Reno. After checking into our rooms, we were on our own to eat, gamble, or see a show. Some even jammed a little in their rooms!

The next day, everyone gathered in the Hobby Horse Room to practice some tunes that we were going to play that night in the Sapphire Lounge in Harrah’s. During the practice session, every player was given the opportunity to select a song to be played on stage. It was a huge thrill to play with talented people outside the EBBC.

 

Jack, Kit, Bud, Dick, and Ana on stage

Jack, Kit, Bud, Dick, and Ana on stage

Our appearance on the stage at the Sapphire Lounge was fun, even though a little cramped. The audience, comprised mostly of folks from our train car ride up to Reno, enthusiastically sang and danced to the music we created in the lounge. Frankly, the crowds in the casino were extremely sparse, so we could have easily attracted more people into the lounge, had business been better in Reno. While on stage, we were all informed that the train would arrive late the next morning. We were all advised to dial Amtrak directly to avoid missing its arrival. Some thought it was actually good news, since it meant we could sleep late the next day, and Harrah’s was willing to extend us all a late checkout.

Jack Convery event organizer

Jack Convery leads practice session

The next morning, Jack awoke each of us with a phone call that informed us of a bus that would leave in lieu of the 8:30 departure of the train. Apparently, the train was going to be close to five hours late due to a problem with a freight train blocking the tracks. Most people opted for the bus, which took us to Sacramento. From there, we were able to catch a train back to the Bay Area, stopping at all stops covered on the original trip to Reno. All is well that ends well! The train from Sacramento arrived at the East Bay stops before our original train schedule dictated we were to arrive.

Oakland Masonic Center Playout

January 25, 2014

By:  Karen Hefter
Photos by:  Georgette De Torres and Linda Myers

A crowd of about 120 people was gathered for the annual Crab Feed at the Oakland Masonic Center last Saturday night.  The East Bay Banjo Club was slated to perform background music as the patrons served themselves from the buffet line, waited for their crabs to be served at the tables, and then enjoyed their dinners.

Even though we had a nice turnout of 13 performers, it was a tough playout.   Due to the high level of ambient noise in the room and issues with the sound system, Betty was unable to hear the rest of the performers for much of the performance.  To compound the issue, many of the performers were unable to hear Betty.  However, everyone tried their best and, by the second half, things came together. Our wonderful singers, Jesse De Torres, Sheila Welt, and Chris Lardge, saved the day and provided great entertainment. The patrons seemed to appreciate our performance and, after the event was over, one of the organizers came on stage and thanked each performer individually and shook his/her hand.

Our performers were: Guy Black, Tom Brunetti, Betty David, Jesse De Torres, Karen Hefter, Terry Horner, Ardie Jarrett, Chris Lardge, Bob Malucelli, Diane Malucelli, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, and Sheila Welt. Club member Georgette De Torres was in the audience and was one of our photographers for the evening.

Posted in Gig

Mickie McDonald in Memoriam

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Members of the East Bay Banjo Club were very saddened to learn of the loss of Mickie McDonald on January 5, 2014. Mickie was one of the stalwart members who rarely missed our weekly practices or Club performances. She was always thrilled to sing or harmonize with others the songs that the club performed, and she knew the words to more songs than probably anyone else in the club. She took great pride in never needing music to play a song. Her jovial nature and her desire to decorate for parties made her a natural candidate to organize the annual Club end of the year party. Her relentless search for old original sheet music yielded the foundation for many arrangements in our music book today.

She had deep and genuine concern for anyone in the club.  It wasn’t uncommon for her to call and inquire about a member’s well-being when they missed a number of practices or were known to be experiencing troubled times. On several occasions, she would visit members in the hospital or their homes to cheer them up and let them know they were not forgotten. For years, she presented members with their birthday card that she had signed by all members she could locate. Mickie had a particular fondness for our youngest members, and would sometimes present them with stuffed animals.
She will be remembered for her passion for the music our club keeps alive, her jovial nature, and for her genuine concern for the well-being of members of the club.

Salem Lutheran Home Playout

December 17, 2013

By: Karen Hefter
Photos by: Bob Nelson

As we arrived to the Salem Lutheran Home an hour early to set up, several residents had already staked out their spots for our performance and were waiting with eager anticipation for us to start playing. In fact, one woman counted down the time for our performance to begin! The residents here really enjoy our music – this is the third time we have played for them in four months. There were around 30 audience members, which filled the room.

Many EBBC members sported festive hats, which helped set the holiday mood. Our Music Director, Betty David, led us in a performance of many standard banjo songs, as well as holiday favorites. Don Granberg hung up his banjo for the day and played the piano with all of the banjos. We were also fortunate to have Terry Horner join us with his gutbucket. Kit Nelson, Mickie McDonald, and Sheila Welt were our singers and they encouraged the crowd to sing along to the holiday songs. The crowd obliged…with enthusiasm! Two staff members put their dancing shoes on and danced with each other to “Five Foot Two.” Our performers today were: Tom Brunetti, Betty David, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Terry Horner, Ardie Jarrett, Diane Malucelli, Bob Malucelli, Mickie McDonald, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Kit Nelson, Sheila Welt, and Ken Williamson. Club member, Treasurer, and Photographer Bob Nelson and loyal supporter Bernadette Espejo were in the audience.

East Bay Banjo Club Holiday Party

December 10, 2013

By:  Karen Hefter
Photos by:  Karen Hefter, Linda Myers, Bill Sullivan
Video by:  Karen Hefter

On a cold winter evening, the members of the East Bay Banjo Club were joined by family and friends for a holiday party at Luigi’s Deli in Martinez.  Many members were dressed in extremely festive holiday attire, which can be seen in the photos from this event.  After some social time, everyone thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful meal made by Luigi and his family.  He served salad, mixed vegetables, potatoes, chicken, and bread.  The food was fabulous, fresh, and very tasty.  For dessert, there were chocolate and vanilla cakes decorated to commemorate the EBBC’s 50th anniversary.

The annual meeting was held and the new board was voted in.  Our new board will consist of:  President -  Larry RisnerVice President – Bob MalucelliSecretary – Ardie JarrettTreasurer – Linda Myers, and Music Director – Betty David. A big thanks goes to our outgoing board, who succeeded in keeping the club together after the death of our longtime Music Director, Bill Cooper and in pulling us out of our financial situation and putting us back on a good footing.  Our outgoing board is:  President – Sheila WeltVice President – Bob MalucelliSecretary – Ardie JarrettTreasurer – Bob Nelson, and Music Director – Betty David. A special thanks goes to our Booking Agent, Phil Myers, who booked an extraordinary number of gigs for us this year, so that we could correct our financial situation.

After the meeting, our Music Director, Betty David, was presented with a gift and a raffle was held.  Raffle winners won either hand towels embroidered with the EBBC or banjo straps. Next, everyone got out their banjos and we played “Black and Blue” and “Just A Closer Walk With Thee” to honor our late Music Director, Bill Cooper.  We concluded with holiday favorites like “Walking in a Winter Wonderland” and “Silent Night.”

 

Just A Closer Walk With Thee from East Bay Banjo Club on Vimeo.

Erich Bansner’s 95th Birthday Playout at Bayside Park

November 3, 2013

By:  Kit Nelson
Photos by:  Bob Nelson and Linda Myers

It was a bright, sunny Sunday afternoon  - a perfect day to celebrate a birthday.  Erich Bansner celebrated his 95th birthday, along with his family and friends, in the Bayside Park adult community in Emeryville.  Our banjo club was delighted to be asked to play at his birthday party.

The dancing began immediately and the guest of honor hardly left the dance floor during the entire hour we performed. The huge smile crossing Erich Bansner’s face as he danced was priceless.  Betty David, our director, did a wonderful job of selecting music with just the right tempo for dancing.  The dance floor (lobby) was quite full and the joy and laughter the banjos brought to the residents of this senior home could be felt by everyone.  Good job, East Banjo Club!

Banjo and gut bucket players who attended and made this a special day were:  Tom Brunetti, Kermit Collins,  Betty David, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Deb Hodson, Terry Horner, Bob Malucelli, Kit Nelson, Bud Pearce, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, and Sheila Welt.  Hopefully, we will all be asked to play next year at Erich’s 96th birthday party!