Wives Of Military Officers

June 27, 2017

By John Greitzer
Photos by Georgette DeTorres

The East Bay Banjo Club entertained a gathering of the Wives of Military Officers at Zio Fraedo’s Restaurant in Pleasant Hill on Tuesday afternoon, June 27. Due to the limited space, a smaller-than-usual contingent of 14 EBBC members participated. The group of military wives particularly enjoyed the salute to all branches of the Armed Services. There was a representative of each branch of service in the audience. Perhaps the highlight of our performance was Jesse DeTorres’s version of Satchmo Armstrong’s “Hello Dolly”

EBBC singers and musicians who participated were Jesse DeTorres, Bob Ehrhorn, Don Granberg, Bud Pearce, Karen Hefter, Betty David, Garry Kerr, Bob Malucelli, Rich Combs, Clyde Dedmon, Ardie Jarrett, Red Higgins, Dina Malumed, and Guy Black.

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Stoneman Village

May 30, 2017

By John Greitzer
Photos by Bob Nelson

The East Bay Banjo Club entertained a small but enthusiastic audience at Stoneman Village, a seniors’ residence in Pittsburg, with a Memorial Day program on May 30 at 2 p.m. The program started with a song recognizing each branch of the military – “The Caissons Go Rolling Along” (for the Army), “The Air Force Song,” “The Marines’ Hymn,” “Anchors Aweigh” (for the Navy), and “Semper Paratus” (for the Coast Guard).

These were followed by standards such as “Five Foot Two,” “Bourbon Street,” and “Bill Bailey,” to name a few. Bud Pearce handled the announcing duties and Bob Malucelli set up and worked the sound system. Some 22 club musicians and singers participated, including Guy Black, Rich Combs, Betty David, Clyde Dedmon, Alex Dongallo, Bob Ehrhorn, John Greitzer, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Red Higgins, Ardie Jarrett, Doug Johnson, Garry Kerr, Chris Lardge, Bob Malucelli, Dina Melamed, Kit Nelson, Bud Pearce, Larry Risner, Jan Ruzicka, Slava Ruzicka, and Sheila Welt. Other club members attending were Bob Nelson, Diane Risner and Cathy Dongallo. The audience was smaller than anticipated, possibly due to the cloudy weather, but they had fun, clapping and singing on familiar songs. EBBC thanks Stoneman Village for inviting us back for another Memorial Day performance.

Banjo-Rama 2017

April 23, 2017

By John Greitzer and Karen Hefter

The East Bay Banjo Club played two sets at Banjo-Rama on Sunday, April 23. We played in the morning and afternoon programs. Our two sets were to include geographically titled songs such as “California Here I Come,” “Georgia On My Mind,” “Carolina In The Morning”, and “Alabamy Bound,” and a wide variety of other songs including the “Battle Hymn Of The Republic,” This Land Is Your Land,” “Beer Barrell Polka”, “Heart Of My Heart”, “Take Me Out To The Ballgame,” and the “youngster” of all the songs in our list, the 1960s hit “In The Summertime” by Mungo Jerry. Due to some logistical issues our sets were shortened a bit, but the show nonetheless provided an opportunity for EBBC to “show our stuff” to the crowd.

Twenty-five of our members participated, including Tom Brunetti, Rich Combs, Jack Convery, Betty David, Clyde Dedmon, Jesse DeTorres, Alex Dongallo, Bob Ehrhorn, Barbara Findlay, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Deb Hodson, Terry Horner, Ardie Jarrett, Garry Kerr, Bob Malucelli, Dina Melamed, Linda Myers, Phil Myers, Bud Pearce, Jan Ruzicka, Slavka Ruzicka, Diana Starr, Jack Starr, and Pat Warnick.

Group gathers after performance

Alamo Easter Egg Hunt

April 15, 2017

By Karen Hefter
Photos courtesy of Skip Kuebel, Cyber Island Graphics / skiptown@comcast.net

Music Director Karen Hefter extends a big “thank you” to everyone who attended the playout at the Alamo Rotary Club’s Easter Egg Hunt at Livorna Park on April 15. Karen says it “was a really fun event and we got really favorable comments both from the client and from audience members. It’s neat that they want us back next year!”

Karen noted that the club overcame numerous obstacles to make it work. “We pulled off a great performance even though over half of our singers cancelled within 24 hours of the gig due to illness, plus we were unable to use the monitors, mixer and my banjo mike because the mixer wouldn’t turn on. In addition, we ended up charging the mics before (and even during) the show because they were not charged when we got to the gig. I appreciate the flexibility of the singers who did extra duty and of everyone else who just went with the flow. A big thank-you goes to Garry Kerr for hauling the equipment. I’m also very proud of Ardie Jarrett and Tom Brunetti who did a great job starting songs for the first time at a public performance. It was a great team effort.”

EBBC also thanks photographer Skip Kuebel of Cyber Island Graphics for permission to use his images.

In addition to the aforementioned, participants included Don Granberg, Jack and Diana Starr, Bud Pearce, Betty David, Jan and Slavka Ruzicka, Terry Horner, Barbara Findlay, Pat Warnick, and Phil and Linda Myers.

Orinda Masonic Lodge

February 24, 2017

By Sheila Welt

The East Bay Banjo Club played for an enthusiastic audience at the Orinda Masonic Lodge Crab Feed on February 24. A 20-strong group of musicians and singers represented the club. Club musicians included Guy Black, Tom Brunetti, Rich Combs, Betty David, Bob Ehrhorn, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Red Higgins, Terry Horner, Ardie Jarrett, Doug Johnson, Garry Kerr, Bob Malucelli, Bud Pearce, Larry Risner, Jan Ruzicka, Slavka Ruzicka, Diana Starr, and Sheila Welt. Doug Johnson’s wife Mimi attended as a guest.

EBBC started off with Master of Ceremonies Bud Pearce giving introductions and information to introduce each song. Some in the audience sang along and several got up to dance. The club played a good mix of songs including instrumentals and vocals.

The club’s traditional closing number, “When The Saints Go Marching In,” included a parade line led by Sheila Welt followed by audience members and Terry Horner with his washboard. The club thanks the audience as they made it a wonderful experience for those of us who performed. A great time was had by all.

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Veterans Day at the Kensington

By John Greitzer
Photos by Bob Nelson

The East Bay Banjo Club provided Veterans’ Day musical entertainment at the Kensington senior community in Walnut Creek on Friday, November 11. Some 19 EBBC members participated in the event, receiving warm applause from appreciative audience members who sang along on several numbers.

The program began with five military songs, one for each branch of the Armed Forces. We started with “Marines’ Hymn,” then “Caissons Go Rolling Along” for the Army vets, “Anchors Away” for the Navy vets, “Semper Paratus” for the Coast Guard vets, and the “Air Force Song.” Following those numbers, the club played songs highlighting each geographical area of the country, from “Give My Regards To Broadway” to “California Here I Come” to “St. Louis Blues” to “Alabama Jubilee” to “San Francisco Bay Blues” and many places in between. “This Land Is Your Land” and “God Bless America” also were performed.

Participating musicians and singers included Guy Black, Rich Combs, Betty David, Don Granberg, John Greitzer, Karen Hefter, Red Higgins, Ardie Jarrett, Garry Kerr, Chris Lardge, Kit Nelson, Bud Pearce, Larry Risner, Jan and Slavka Ruzicka, Jack and Diana Starr, and Sheila Welt. Bob Nelson took photographs of the event.

The club has performed at the Kensington several times now, and we hope to make plenty of return appearances.

Annual Picnic In The Delta

By Diane Malucelli
Photographs by Bob Nelson

On Saturday, August 20, we had our East Bay Banjo Club picnic at Landers Landing in Tracy. It was a cool morning on the Delta with a nice breeze off of the water as we all arrived to enjoy the day. Phil and Linda Myers and Karen Hefter started playing banjo songs on the deck. When they took a break, Bob Ehrhorn, Diane and Bob Malucelli played ukuleles and sang songs.

Don Granberg played his piano keyboard and Larry Risner, Bud Pearce, Richard Combs, Phil, Linda and Karen and Bob Malucelli played banjos. Slavka Ruzicka played her autoharp and Jan Ruzicka played his guitar. Kit Nelson sang many of the songs. Jim and Angelina Blankenship, Dianne Risner, Sandy Ehrhorn, Lito and Darlene Calimlim, Bernadette (Don’s wife), Mary and Guy Black, Bob Nelson, Gloria Pearce and Michael Stein and his wife were all there. The lunch featured sausages, corn on the cob, lettuce, fruit and pasta salads and lots of desserts.

Our host Bobbie Landers’ daughter, Holly, and friend David, took several people out on boat rides. One of our younger banjo players, Connor Calimlim, went on a ride with his brothers, Aaron and Sean and their friend, Madison. Bud and Gloria Pearce’s grandchildren, Aiden and Maya went boating. All the young people went out later on a paddle boat and kayaks.

It was a fun day at Bobbie’s home on the Delta and we thank her and her family so much for inviting us and for organizing the picnic and the food.

Concord Senior Center

By Sheila Welt
Photographs by Bob Nelson

The EBBC had a great play out at the Concord Senior Center on August 16. The dinner tables were arranged so there was a large space in the middle of the room for dancing.

We were well received by those present, with a lot of applause, singing, laughing and dancing by audience members. Some of the women in attendance got up and danced the Charleston (and did it very well!). About a fourth of the group danced with us for our closing song of “When The Saints Go Marching In.”

We enjoyed seeing former EBBC member Flo Hall in attendance. Participating EBBC musicians were Betty David, Bob Ehrhorn, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Ardie Jarrett, Garry Kerr, Chris Lardge, Bob Malucelli, Larry Risner, Sheila Welt, Guy Black on bass, Jan Ruzicka on autoharp and Slavka Ruzicka on guitar.

Vocals were handled by Bob Ehrhorn, Don Granberg, Red Higgins, Chris Lardge, Kit Nelson and Sheila Welt. Bob Nelson took photographs.

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Rossmoor Luncheon

By John Greitzer
Photos by Bob Nelson

The spacious Fireside Room at Rossmoor’s Gateway Center was completely filled for the club’s noontime play out on July 27. The air conditioning managed to stave off the 105-degree heat from outside, but the ambiance in the room was warm nonetheless.  The large crowd clapped and sang along to many of our songs and gave us rousing applause, particularly for the up-tempo numbers.

With 23 club members participating, it was our most successful playout in recent memory. The musicians and singers in attendance were Jack Starr, Diana Starr, Betty David, Larry Risner, Diane Malucelli, Bob Malucelli, Don Granberg, Bud Pearce, Ardie Jarrett, Bob Ehrhorn, John Greitzer, Kit Nelson, Red Higgins, Guy Black, Sheila Welt, Tom Brunetti, Rich Combs, Phil Myers, Linda Myers, Clyde Dedmon, Jack Convery, and Jack’s young student Trent Jones, who took a solo on “When the Saints Go Marching In” which closed the show.  Bob Nelson attended and took photographs of the event.

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Reutlinger Jewish Community Center

By John Greitzer
Photos by Bob Nelson

The mercury hit 105 degrees outside but the only heat inside was the EBBC old-time music playout at the Reutlinger Jewish Community Center in Danville on July 14. The audience of Reutlinger residents, guests and staff clapped, danced and sang along as EBBC ran through many familiar standards and favorites.

Eighteen EBBC members participated, one of our best playout turnouts in recent memory. Participants included Guy Black, Rich Combs, Tom Brunetti, Betty David, Bob Ehrhorn, Don Granberg, John Greitzer, Ardie Jarrett, Garry Kerr, Bob Malucelli, Diane Malucelli, Kit Nelson, Bob Nelson, Bud Pearce, Larry Risner, Jack Starr, Diana Starr, and Sheila Welt.

Reutlinger is a wonderful place to play. The dining room where we play is light, airy and spacious, and the staff are friendly, welcoming and helpful. Residents and staff told us they want us back again soon.

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Orinda July 4th Parade

By Diane Malucelli
Photos by Darlene Calimlim

East Bay Banjo Club members enjoyed a special Fourth of July by playing in the Orinda parade. Bobbie Landers did a great job for us in getting a sponsor (the law firm of Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis and Larsen) and a flatbed truck with hay bales to sit on. At 9 a.m. we were decorating the truck with flags and other red, white and blue decorations. We all got up on the truck, sat on the hay bales and rode out into the parade at about 10 a.m.

Music Director Betty David led us in the songs and Bob Ehrhorn played his bass guitar. Other participating club members included Connor Calimlim, Don Granberg, Karen Hefter, Deb Hodson, Bob Malucelli, Diane Malucelli, Bud Pearce, Jan Ruzicka (guitar) and Slavka Ruzicka (autoharp). Connor Calimlim’s parents, Darlene and Lito, also rode with us.

The parade route took us to downtown Orinda and then through the Highway 24 underpass to Orinda Village in the newer part of town. There were thousands of people lining the streets, by far the most people we have ever seen in town. Many different cultures and ages were represented and everyone smiled and waved and shouted “Happy Fourth.” It was a wonderful experience, with people clapping for us and waving their flags. We could hear people saying “There are the banjos” and children were dancing to the beat of our music. We had so much fun we really didn’t want it to end so soon.

EBBC extends a big thank-you to our sponsor, the law firm of Gillin, Jacobson, Ellis and Larsen. Based in Orinda, the firm also has offices through the Bay Area.

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Aegis of Pleasant Hill

June 16, 2016
By Diane Malucelli
Photos by Bob Nelson

EBBC had a playout on Thursday, June 16 from 6:15 to 7:15pm at Aegis of Pleasant Hill on Oak Park Boulevard. Aegis is a very nice assisted living facility. We performed in their garden area in front of a fountain and flowers.

Betty David led us and Guy Black played bass. The other banjo players were Tom Brunetti, Bob Ehrhorn, Don Granberg, Chris Lardge, Diane Malucelli, Kit Nelson, Diana Starr and Jack Starr. Our singers were Don, Chris, Bob and Kit. The staff requested that we play more banjo music and less singing. We did about 60 percent singing and 40 percent instrumental.

We had around 70 people listening to us and singing along. Some of the people are residents of Aegis and others were family members, friends and caregivers. One of the residents, Jack (Gwin) Hicks has been a long-time EBBC member and he was in the audience. Betty acknowledged him and several of us went over to talk to him. Jim Abele was there and he usually comes every Wednesday to our practices. Bob Nelson was also there to help. Since it was later in the day, it got a little chilly from a colder wind so many of the people moved inside and we didn’t have part of our audience. It is a very nice place to play music.

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Montecito Oakmont Senior Living

June 10, 2016
By John Greitzer
Photos by Bob Nelson

An audience at Montecito Oakmont Senior Living in Concord enjoyed an EBBC performance June 10 until a fire alarm in the building stopped the show about forty minutes into our planned one-hour set.   By the time the Fire Department arrived, checked the premises and turned off the alarm, our hour-long slot had ended.  We played one final song, a rousing version of “When The Saints Go Marching In” with Kit Nelson singing, to end the afternoon playout.  It remains unclear whether there was a small fire in the building or if it was a false alarm.

EBBC musicians included Betty David, Kit Nelson, Diane and Bob Malucelli, Ken Williamson, Tom Brunetti, Chris Lardge, Bob Ehrhorn, Deb Hodson, John Greitzer, and Guy Black.  Bob Nelson took photos of the event.  Kit, Chris and Bob Ehrhorn handled the vocal chores.

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Stoneman Village

June 1, 2016
By John Greitzer
Photos by Bob Nelson

A small EBBC contingent entertained seniors at Stoneman Village in Pittsburg on June 1, after the planned Memorial Day event was changed at the last minute from May 31 to June 1. The last-minute schedule change left several EBBC members unable to make the new date. Nonetheless, the club played on, to the delight of Stoneman Village residents.

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Live Oak Lodge Crab Feed Playout

January 16, 2016

By:  John Greitzer
Photos by:  Bob Nelson

The East Bay Banjo Club gave a two-hour performance January 16 to about 100 people at the annual Live Oak Lodge crab feed at the Oakland Masonic Auditorium.

The audience dined and chatted while EBBC played many of its most popular numbers. Banjo players were Garry Kerr, Phil Myers, Linda Myers, Tom Brunetti, Chris Lardge, Ardie Jarrett, Kit Nelson, Betty David, Karen Hefter, Sheila Welt, Don Granberg, Bob Ehrhorn and John Greitzer. Bassists were Guy Black on electric and Terry Horner on gutbucket. Vocals were handled admirably by Kit Nelson, Sheila Welt, Don Granberg, Chris Lardge and Bob Ehrhorn. Karen Hefter and Phil Myers took solos on some of the songs. Bob Nelson served as photographer for the event.

The club closed the show with its usual rousing version of “When The Saints Go Marching In”. Attendees at the crab feed said they enjoyed the music.