Sacramento Banjo Band's Banjo-Rama April 8 - 11, 2010
April 8 - 11, 2010

4 days of Banjo Jams
3 days of Workshops
6 Public Shows:
Friday Afternoon 1p
Friday Evening 7p
Saturday Afternoon 1:30p
Saturday Evening 7p
Sunday Double

Red Lion Hotel
1401 Arden Way
Sacramento CA 95815

4-day event badge - $35
One day show badge - $20
Registration Form
Banjo-Rama 2010

Featured Musicians

Back In Time Back In Time.Listen to this talented band from the North Bay and forget about today! This banjo based string ensemble is tastefully blended with violin, ukulele, guitar, bass and vocals. Clay is a multi-talented musician: banjo, ukulele, guitar and vocals. David is a voice-over artist and radio host, adding rousting vocals along with his banjo and violin. Jeff & Linda hail from the notorious "Banjo Green's" gang, Jeff on his plectrum banjo & guitar lending vocals to the group and Linda on plectrum banjo, ukulele, vocals and back-up bass. Rick is the tall, quiet, handsome guy on the bass that helps keep them all bouncing along. Their tunes range from old sing-along standards and ballads from the Great American Song Book to dreamy tunes from the Hawaiian Islands. So set your clock to go back in time.

Johnny Baier Johnny Baier.Since he began his career as a professional banjo player in 1971 (just two weeks after he picked up the instrument), Johnny Baier has been developing an admirable reputation as one of the world’s most ardent performers on, and promoters of America’s only native musical instrument - the banjo. From the beginning, playing banjo for the sing along crowd at the Shakey’s Pizza Parlor in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Baier maintained a goal of keeping his performances both musical and entertaining. The varied musical influences he absorbed as a youngster (from jazz to polkas to classics), coupled with inspiration, guidance and instruction from many great banjo artists of the past, have resulted in a contemporary banjo artist with a unique sound and style. A Johnny Baier performance always demonstrates his eagerness to attempt to add new textures and colors to the banjo’s perceived repertoire and sound. Ragtime, Jazz, Bluegrass, Folk, Classics, Pop, and, of course, traditional banjo favorites are all given Baier’s unique touch. A certain highlight of his career came in 1983 when, after participating in a banjo competition held in Ontario, Canada that featured some of the finest banjoists in North America, Baier was named the North American Banjo Champion. Following this success, he was asked to represent a division of the Sara Lee Corporation as a musical goodwill ambassador. In this capacity, he had the opportunity to travel throughout the United States performing at trade shows, fairs, parades and special events. After three years of touring (accumulating over 150,000 land and air miles per year), Baier decided to settle down in Orlando, Florida where, in 1988, he began an incredible run at the world-famous Rosie O’Grady’s in Church Street Station. In the years that followed, combining masterful musicianship with crowd pleasing entertainment skills, Johnny performed over 15,000 solo shows. In 2000, Baier become the Entertainment Director and featured performer at Rock Crusher Canyon - an entertainment attraction located on Florida's Gulf Coast. In this position, he produced hundreds of shows including Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Three Dog Night, Credence Clearwater Revival, and many more. In addition to his own headline performances at RCC, Johnny opened shows for legendary show business notables such as The Kingston Trio, Pat Boone, Mickey Rooney and Roy Clark. Always ready to take his act “on the road”, Baier has been a headline performer in the showrooms aboard the luxury cruise ships of the Crystal, Silversea, Radisson, Princess and Holland America lines. His ease with an audience also makes him a favorite at community and corporate events as well as musical festivals and concert venues throughout the world. On the traditional jazz scene, in addition to leading his own popular "All Star" Dixieland jazz band, Johnny, playing both banjo and guitar, appears in clubs, festivals, concerts and on recordings with many notable classic jazz groups including “Bill Allred’s Classic Jazz Band”, “Allan Vache and the New Delta Steamers”, “Rosie O’Grady’s Goodtime Jazz Band”, “The Bob Crosby Bob Cats”, and “The Walt Disney World Rhythm Rascals”. Another recent highlight in Johnny's career came with his partnership with fellow banjo master Buddy Wachter. Their destined to be historic recording entitled Side By Side received rave reviews from both critics and banjo enthusiasts from around the world, being hailed as "quite possibly the best banjo recording ever!" In addition to performing, Baier is a serious journalist and banjo historian as well. He is internationally known as the editor of All Frets magazine - the official publication of the Fretted Instrument Guild of America - an international nonprofit musical organization. In addition to existing artist endorsement relationships in place with both RICHELIEU BANJOS and GHS STRINGS, Johnny has recently contracted with MEL BAY PUBLICATIONS to write, publish and distribute two instructional publications for the tenor banjo to a world-wide market. As a further testimonial to his commitment to the music and heritage of the banjo, in 2004 Baier was offered (and accepted) the position of Executive Director of the American Banjo Museum. Recently relocated to a 21,000 square foot state of the art facility in Oklahoma City, the Museum is home to the largest collection of banjos on public display anywhere in the world. The highest compliment a musical artist can hope to receive usually comes from fellow musicians. When banjo players gather, they often refer to Johnny Baier as “the best”. While such high praise is certainly a matter of personal opinion, it is clear that his love for the banjo and the music it is capable of creating has allowed Johnny Baier to evolve into exactly what he'd hoped to become...THE BANJO MAN.

Banjo Busters Banjo Busters.The Banjo Busters is a group of musicians who enjoy playing music from orchestrated arrangements. Now a pick-up group, it was started in 1957 in the Chicago area by a group of local banjo players, who kept it at a local level until the mid 1990’s when it expanded to include members from ten states and three countries. The group now consists of about twelve to fourteen members. The majority of the arrangements we use come from the early 1900’s salon type orchestra. These arrangements would be orchestrated for a whole array of instruments from oboe to cello and from bassoon to French horn. We tend to use the first violin, clarinet or cornet, cello or oboe, second violin and bass. Each member plays a different part of the orchestral arrangement. The lead banjo plays from a first violin part while the third banjo is playing a cello or oboe part. Supportive harmony can be found in the clarinet and cornet parts. Our second banjo plays from these parts. Great harmony, obbligato and counterpoint is found in the cello and oboe (as well as the trombone) parts. This is what forms the base for our third banjo. In these arrangements and orchestras from that era the guitar was not used. Rhythm is created by the piano and the second violin playing all double stops as partial chords. Our fourth banjo plays from the second violin part playing full chords but maintaining the original moving harmony lines. For our bottom line we use either a string bass or tuba playing from the original bass parts. These are not just simple lines, but add much to the rhythm, harmony and composition. When available we use a member to play the flute part. With the minimal instrument voicing available in a group of banjos the high note music of the flute or piccolo adds to the range of sound. Also, the flute tends to have nice passages that fill in or lead to musical themes within the composition. In the original Banjo Busters a piano was used. The piano part duplicates much of the bass and chord rhythm already present, but it does offer a different voice which adds to the full sound. The players at this time are Glenn Peisker, Buddy Wachter, John Baier, Joan Dickerson, Larry Rutan and Bob Alexius. Photo is of The original BANJO BUSTERS circa, 1970's.

Jack Convery Jack Convery. Born in 1954 in Wichita, Kansas, Jack spent his childhood in Fresno, California. He learned how to play the banjo at the age of 12 and he paid his dues by attending festivals and performing at pizza parlors. He was for many years the musical director for the San Francisco 49ers. He won the 1973 award fo the United Artist "Best Banjoist of Northern California." His success as an entertainer has brought him into the entertainment booking business. Jack has volunteered to help the Capital Kids, and Paul Doerner especially, in their quest to master the banjo. Jack has just released his latest CD, "Beatles on the Banjo."

Vicki Cox & Meg Graf Vicki Cox & Meg Graf.Vicki Cox leads the Calamity Jazz Band, plays with Oregon Jazz Band, and is a soughtafter performer on the West Coast, frequently appearing as a featured artist with big bands, gospel choirs, and other ensembles. Meg Graf plays with the Calamity Jazz Band and several other ensembles. She is a member of the Sacramento Banjo Band.

Bill Dendle and Eddie Erickson Bill Dendle and Eddie Erickson with Shelley Burns Bill Dendle and Eddie "Fast Eddie" Erikson began their entertainment careers at Capone's Warehouse in Monterey , and went from there to Disneyland and DisneyWorld, where they opened the Empress Lilly Showboat. Over the years, separately and together, they have appeared at: Mickie Finn's, on USO tours, Dixieland and Jazz Festivals all over the U.S., in Japan, France and Germany, at banjo shows, conventions, private parties, jazz concerts and as guest artists with bands and noted jazz performers such as Bob Crosby, Bob Haggart, Dave Frishberg, Dick Cary, Abe Most and others.

Shelley BurnsShelley Burns—Shelley performs with a number of Sacramento musical groups, the Shelley Burns Trio (or Quartet), and with her band Shelley Burns and Avalon Swing at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee and at other jazz festivals around the world. Shelley has an extensive knowledge of standard jazz repertoire, having over thirty-five years of experience as a professional jazz vocalist, working with world-class musicians.

Stephen Di Bonaventura Stephen Di Bonaventura. Born and raised in Philadelphia, PA, land of Mummers and string bands featuring the banjo, Steve was drawn to the instrument at the tender age of 13. In the early days, Steve honed his skills playing with a variety of local groups and bands, especially with the string bands that march down Broad Street in the world-famous Mummers Parade every New Year’s Day. He strummed and marched with the Overbrook and South Philadelphia units, and then began to search far afield for other venues. He began to attend the many rallies and conventions around the country, became a regular performer at the annual Fretted Instrument Guild of America conventions, a number of Mid-America Banjo Enthusiasts rallies and has headlined at the Peninsula Banjo Festival held in Palo Alto, CA and the international banjo festival held in Düsseldorf Germany. Among those who travel the banjo circuits, Steve may also be remembered as one of Frank Palumbo’s “world-famous” Greasers. This ensemble has entertained literally thousands over the years at various regional rallies. As a result of their growing popularity, Steve and Frank, along with tubist Gil Corella, were singled out for special honors by the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, TN. They were assigned to play for the Peabody’s ducks, escorting them from their penthouse, down the elevator and into the lobby. While in Washington, D.C., Steve teamed up with tubist Gil Corella in forming the tuba/banjo duo known as Crazy Rhythm. Together they played a number of private and public engagements, including the Capitol. Steve was also honored as special guest banjoist when the U.S. Air Force Dixieland Band appeared at the White House. Since returning to his hometown, Steve has been engaged to play with several Dixieland bands and has performed at the Sands Casino, Trop World and the Showboat in Atlantic City. He released a recording entitled “Unnatural Ax” with Gil Corella, which features jazz, Latin and classical arrangements. The editor of Jazz Banjo says, “There is one banjo player that I have enjoyed listening to whose music really lives up to the name ‘Jazz Banjo,’ and that is Stephen DiBonaventura. He has taken the tenor banjo and created an exciting sound that is comparable to the music of some of the best jazz guitarists today.” He is currently working on a new recording project with Steven Giordano, an internationally renowned jazz guitarist. The recording is due for release in the Spring 2010.

Paul DoernerPaul Doerner Paul first strummed a Plectrum Banjo March 10, 2002. His teacher is Peggy Lewis of Sacramento, CA. He has also studied with Dave Marty & Kurt Abell of CA, Ralph & Dick Martin of Oregon and many other helpful Banjo players.
Paul has been a soloist at various Banjo conventions. He has performed at FIGA 04 Sacramento & 05 Providence RI, GLIBC 05, 06, 07, & 08 Dearborn MI, Guthrie Jazz Banjo Festival 05 Guthrie OK, Spring Fling 06, 07, & 08 Mansfield MA, Arizona Banjo Blast 06 Tucson, Peninsula Banjo Jubilee 05 San Jose, and the Sacramento Banjo Rama since 05.
Paul also attended Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society’s Jazz Camp for Young Musicians for 5 summers. He was a camp staff member & attended the Adult Jazz Camp in 2008.
Paul was the cover & feature story for Fretted Instrument Guild of America’s Jan/Feb 06 ALL FRETS international magazine. In April 2003, Paul was featured on CBS Radio on “The Osgood Files”.
Paul was a featured performer in the Banjo Concert at the 2007 Sacramento Jazz Jubilee. He also played in the closing ceremonies as part of a trio with Howard Alden & Eddie Erickson.
In 2006/2007, Paul played with the Sacramento Traditional Jazz Society’s Youth Jazz High School Band “TNT”. He was their first Banjo Player!
Paul started playing with the Capital Kids Banjo Band at the age of 13.
He continues to plays with the Sacramento Banjo Band, Oregon Trail Banjo Band & Assorted Nuts Band.
Paul won a Superior Rating for his Banjo playing in the Fretted Instrument Guild of America’s (FIGA) Adjudication Program for Youth up to age 21.
Paul plays Plectrum Banjo, Mandolin, a 1946 Vega Tenor Guitar, & an Ovation Acoustic Guitar in the resident orchestra for Runaway Stage Production’s musical theatre in Sacramento. He has performed in “ANNIE”, “CHICAGO”, “OKLAHOMA”, “CABARET”, “THROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE”, “ANYTHING GOES”, & “MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS”. He also played in the pit for Stephen Sondheim’s “ASSASSINS’ for Artistic Differences of Sacramento.

Free Badge SerenadersFree Badge Serenaders.The Freebadge Serenaders are Patrick Skiffington on the washboard and Greg Sabin on the banjo. These two young men have traveled the world all the way from Sutter Creek to San Francisco, playing what they refer to as "discount jazz." They would like to thank their mentors and idols Bill Dendle, Eddie Erickson, Ralf Reynolds, and countless others for all the right notes they'll play today (taking full personal responsibility for all the questionable notes of course). This is hopefully the first of many Banjo-Rama appearances for the duo, and they're absolutely flattered and honored to be here.

Norm GaryNorm Gary Educated as an entomologist specializing in honey bees, Dr. Norm Gary found time during 32 years as a professor and research scientist at UC Davis to have fun with music. He led several bands and combos in Davis during the 70’s, then joined the Dixieland Jazz circuit in Sacramento in 1979, performing with various bands. He was leader of the Beez’ Kneez Jazz Band for 9 years and released two CDs. He also plays clarinet in the Sacramento Banjo Band.
He is best known as a bee wrangler and TV entertainer, having trained bees to perform in 18 movies (such as Fried Green Tomatoes), more than 50 TV shows (including Johnny Carson, Jay Leno, Merv Griffin), and 6 commercials.

Girls Girls Girls Girls Girls Girls.Girls! Girls! Girls! is a banjo group consisting of the female members of the Sacramento Banjo Band and visiting women from other banjo groups. Joining the banjoists will be ukulele, fiddle and washboard players, gut bucketers and even a spoon player. You might even hear a red-hot vocalist or two! In keeping with our unusual orchestration, we're planning a program of country-western musicwith maybe a hint of the Ozarks. We're secretly in it for the Fun! Fun! Fun!

Dr. Jeff Grosser Dr. Jeff Grosser.Born and raised in New York City, Jeff was a professional accordionist who had already performed at Carnegie Hall when he started playing plectrum banjo in 1968. He was leader of the Rush Street Band for 13 years and was a regular banjoist at the famed Red Onion in Manhattan. He played at other metropolitan New York area clubs including the Banjo Inn, Chester's, the Golden Banjo, The Bourbon Barrel, Calamity Jane's, and played with many other groups including The New Orleans Nighthawks, and The Smith Street Society, he did road work for Your Father’s Mustache and was the regular partner with the late great stride pianist George Holmes. He worked for superstars Ed Sullivan, Jerry Lewis, and Sammy Davis Jr. in the banjo busy 70's. He now leads Razcals Jazz Band and the Ragtime Razcals of New England. He has worked with many groups in New England including Doc’s Banjo Band, the State Street Traditional Jazz Band, the Clam Flat Five, the Classic Jazz Band, The Bath Municipal Swing Band, and the Ambassadors Big Band. He is the regular banjoist with the very well respected Royal River Philharmonic Jazz Band. He performs regularly throughout the northeast and the Phoenix area. He has completed projects with the Phoenix Symphony, Public and Commercial Television and Radio, and the Portland Conservatory of Music, The Deertrees Theater, and the Rockland Opera House, and his concerts and performances have appeared on many TV specials in the New England area. He attends as many jazz and banjo conventions throughout the country as his schedule will allow doing performances and giving workshops. Besides his banjo work, he continues to perform with his accordion, piano and guitar as well as maintaining a Dental Practice in Wiscasset Maine where he now lives.

HalfCaffCombo Half-Caff Combo The Half-Caff Combo has been serving up a hot cup of rhythm and joy for literally dozens of fans (perhaps even more). Their musical fare is served hot, but not too bold and not too bland. You will find the eclectic blend of the old and new is simply satisfying, with just the punch needed to send you rocking down the road with a bounce in your step. Banjo Baristas Jeff Green (Sonoma) and Eric Johnson (Modesto) are backed up on Bass by the inimitable Bill Sharp from Modesto. Eric Johnson is a part time real-estate tycoon, Surf Banjo Legend and inventor of the “Big Johnson” banjo Pick. Jeff Green invests his time as director for a non-profit corporation that provides a 13 step program for compulsive workaholics. (Unfortunately, most of his beneficiaries can not leave work to attend meetings, but neither can Jeff) Bill is a retired math educator and a busy musician who supplements his income dabbling in the grey market of ancient quotations, (a few of these quips should stay buried for a few more centuries.)

Hendricks Brothers Hendricks Bros. Monte and Allen Hendricks are both natives of the great state of Wisconsin. They are Hendricks Banjos in Pollock Pines, CA, building banjos along with repair and restoration of all banjos. Allen started out working with Henry Lea in Fair Oaks and Larry Lew in Lodi, CA, both well known banjo makers and repairmen. Monte, living in Wisconsin, was hired by C. C. Richelieu and became the head craftsman at Richelieu Banjos until the end of 1976. At that time, Monte and Allen decided to join forces and build their own banjos in the foothills east of Sacramento. Monte and Allen are both excellent five string banjo players, with finger picks in the style of bluegrass. Monte played with a couple bands in Wisconsin in the 1970’s. He now prefers to make banjos and spend time with his wife and friends in the mountains of the Western US. Allen has been a noted professional musician since 1970. He has played in most of the western states and England and Europe. He currently performs with Wild Creek out of Reno, NV. Monte used to perform with C. C. Richelieu from time to time where he added some good Dixieland tunes to his repertory. Allen has played with several Dixieland players (including three of the Sacramento Jazz Festivals). As brothers/banjo makers/performers/friends, these two have mastered something that is seldom seen or heard in the 5-string banjo world: two 5-string banjos played in harmony. These two brothers live and breathe banjos!

Cary (Corny) Hobbs Cary (Corny) Hobbs.Cary grew up (physically) in Lubbock Texas as a teenage DJ while Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Mac Davis, Ralna English and a few other musical legends who were also trying to get Lubbock in the rear view mirror. He’s lived all over the US, England and Australia, and now raises chickens (7) in the Heber Valley of Utah, a sleepy little western resort area south of Park City. Cary plays keyboard, guitar, bass or banjo in several local bands playing mostly Cowboy music for tourists (dudes), and does a daily radio show on the local station, KTMP 1340 in Heber City.

John Huntsberger John Huntsberger. I first picked up the banjo in 1950 in Portland where I had moved from Santa Monica, California and met Sid Wagner in September who loaned me a Bacon and Day No. 1 Silver Bell. We shared our mutual enthusiasm for the banjo and the music and he taught me many, many songs over the years we played together - 1950 to 52, then again from 1956 to 58 when I moved from Portland to Corvallis to begin teaching at Philomath Elementary School. Our friendship continued until his death. In 1967 I quit teaching and took a job with McGraw-Hill Book Company as a science consultant for the ten western states. This job required that I travel weekly, and on different occasions, to various cities in Washington, Idaho, Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, Oregon, Alaska, and Hawaii. During these travels I visited Shakey’s Pizza Parlors and any other place I could find a banjoist and met and played with many of them. However, in the early fall of 1968 a piano playing friend of mine told me he heard of a group of banjo players somewhere in the Sacramento, California who were going to have a show or rally. I inquired further and found that around Thanksgiving of 1968 the Sacramento Banjo Band was indeed having a show. I made arrangements to attend that show and thus changed my entire life forever. It was a happening that I have recalled many times with fond memories of music and people. During the two or three days I was at the show I was so excited, so emotionally involved, so hyped by all that I heard, the people I met, and the jamming I did, at times I just sat and cried from the elation and was almost in a state of psychological exhaustion and euphoria. It was perhaps the most exhilarating banjo moment in my life.

George Knoblauch George Knoblauch. George Knoblauch, circa 1959. Photo taken at Del Webb’s Hiway Inn, Phoenix, Arizona, built in 1958 with many meeting and party rooms, bars, restaurants and a marvelous miniature train to shuttle guests around the complex. George has been involved with jazz bands for more than forty years and will present a program of pop jazz tunes for tonight’s show.

Bill Lowrey Bill Lowrey. Bill Lowrey began studying the Tenor banjo from Charlie Tagawa at the age of 14. Bill joined Charlie's Junior Banjo Band and quickly progressed in both chord and melody techniques. He studied Plectrum banjo from Kevin McCabe at the age of 17 and fell in love with the styles of Perry Bechtel and Eddie Peabody. Bill has spent countless hours studying and mimicking great musicians such as Chet Atkins, Les Paul, David Grisman and many others to create a style of banjo playing as diverse as music itself. Bill has recently undertaken the task of mastering the works of the Tenor great, Harry Reser, on the Plectrum banjo. Bill loves to play all types of jazz from traditional to modern and particularly loves to immerse himself in the works of George Gershwin. Bill feels the banjo, as life, is to be constantly explored and expanded to encompass new ideas. Bill works as a software consultant to the healthcare industry, is actively involved as a Boy Scout volunteer and is the father of two wonderful pianists: Katie and Laura.

Jerry Mackenzie & Jan Southerland

John Martin and Dick Martin Martin and Martin
John Martin. John started playing the banjo about the age of 13. His father, Ralph Martin, first picked up a banjo while they were living in Alaska back in 1961. John was playing the guitar but when he picked up the banjo for the first time and played “C”, “F”, and “G7” Ralph thought that he should play the banjo instead. John took lessons from many good banjoists, including Paul Martin (no relation) and Don Van Palthe. Playing in the Southern California Banjo Band, Fantasy on Parade at Disneyland, a couple of TV gigs, and many pizza houses he gradually became more proficient. Alas, he had to start working for a living and after a stint as a longshoreman he became a pilot for the airlines. He pretty much hung up the banjo while progressing in the airlines. Currently, he is waiting retirement with Delta Airlines as a Boeing 757 Captain which will transpire at the end of April 2010. John recently decided to dedicate himself to relearning the banjo and hopefully dust the cobwebs off the old fret board. Thanks to his younger brother, Dick Martin, for keeping the banjo going in the family.
Dick Martin. Dick began playing the plectrum banjo in January 1968, when his father started the Southern California Banjo Band. Dick took lessons for about a year and soon afterwards began playing professionally in the Los Angeles area. Playing experiences include engagements at pizza parlors such as Shakey’s and Straw Hat, night clubs, Disneyland and various other venues. He participated in recordings by the Southern California Banjo Band, the Peninsula Banjo Band, the Sacramento Banjo Band and most recently, the Northwest Banjo Band. Dick has performed regularly at many of the Banjo Conventions including: circle the Wagons Banjo Gatherin’ in Caldwell, Idaho, The Oregon Trail Banjo Bash, Peninsula Banjo Band’s Jubilee, Sacramento Banjo Band’s Banjo-Rama, the Great Lakes International Banjo Convention, Dearborn, Michigan, as well as the New Orleans Banjo RendezVous. Nation Banjo conventions include F.I.G.A and the Mid America Banjo Rally.
This is the first time Dick and John have performed together in more than 25 years. A real treat for Banjo-Rama 2010.

Gil O'Gawa Gil O'Gawa. "As a child in Hawaii, I learned the ukulele. It was not till 1963 that I bought my 1st Tenor Banjo, and began to learn the movable chord method from the McNeil book. Upon returning from the Navy, in 1965, a neighbor, Dick Funk, bought and sold banjos, and introduced me to how they could be set up for better sound and playability. I eagerly learned these principles from him and several others, culminating in learning from Buddy Wachter. Upon retirement from Ophthalmology in 1997, I became a Sales & Service Dealer for the Ome Banjo Co., for which I drive 30,000 miles to 10 banjo conventions each year. My interest in eye surgery was replaced by “banjo surgery”, doing my best to implement the Banjo Setup Principles that I had learned from my teachers. Jim Farquhar became a close friend of mine, and we collaborate on giving Banjo Setup workshops at many of the conventions. He also encouraged me to start building the banjo Stable Stands. Our desire is to pass on to others our knowledge of Banjo Setup Principles, so as many as possible can enjoy the best sound and playability of their instruments.”

Jim Pollock & Friends Jim Pollock .Jim Pollock began playing the banjo at Menlo School and Stanford in the 1950’s. His early mentor was Don van Palta and his recent mentor is Bud Wachter. He and Bud recorded a CD a few years ago which includes duets of the two of them playing Granada, Alabamy Bound, Dueling Banjos, Sunnyside of the Street, Mame and Carolina in the Morning, among other tunes. It also features former Stanford University singer Shanee Nelson (nee Williams). After graduation from Stanford, Jim traveled with Freddy Finn (nee Soetje) and played at Shakeys at 47th Street in Sacramento, The Honey Bucket in San Francisco, the Red Garter in San Francisco, Ye Olde Pizza Joynt in Hayward, the Swing Door in San Mateo and Homewood Lodge at Lake Tahoe. He also played with Wally Rose at Gold Street in San Francisco. During his travels to Vail, Colorado and his favorite Sonoma County men’s club, he has played for Presidents Eisenhower, Ford, Bush, Bush, Jr., Reagan and Nixon. A few years ago, he also played at the Supreme Court in Washington DC for his friends Sandra Day O’Conner and Tony Kennedy.

7th Inning Stretchers 7th Inning Stretchers.This Band is a conglomerate of banjo people from various backgrounds who just happened to get together a few years ago in Hemet, CA., and have been playing together ever since. Jan Sutherland and Jerry MacKenzie’s background are from Custer’s Last Band and now, Prime Time. Jerry plays reeds and also plays a great plectrum banjo. Jan is the vocalist. Leo is formerly a member of Peninsula Banjo Band and Strum and Thump. Mike Meldrum has been a part of the Southern California Banjo Band as well as the Oregon Trail Banjo Band. Judy is an original member and now leader of the Southern California Banjo Band. Bob and Joyce Pinckney are full time RV’rs. and visit our area several months of the year which adds just the perfect blend to have a great sound and fun.

Charlie Tagawa Charlie & Nori Tagawa and friends. In 2005, Charlie was inducted into the National Four-String Banjo Hall of Fame. He began playing banjo and guitar at age 20 in Tokyo. He was a favorite with the Americans who heard him with the Dixieland Dukes at Tokyo's Gaslight Club. A Bay Area restaurant owner convinced him to come to the U.S in 1964 to entertain. He eventually became the music director of the Peninsula Banjo Band, organizer of a great youth band, and an outstanding performer at almost every Banjo-Rama in recent times. He is joined today by his son, Nori, who plays an outstanding banjo, and with Mary Horn on washtub bass. Get ready to hear everything from honky tonk to the classics.

Triple Creek Triple Creek. Triple Creek is a trio featuring 3 of the finest bluegrass musicians on the west coast. Robert Bowden, Kathy Barwick and Keith Little have played bluegrass music a combined total of 110 years. It’s not the years, it’s the miles that makes this group sound so good. Each member, a multi instrumentalist, with great chops and enthusiasm, has traveled the road to bluegrass by way of a few hard knocks, late nights and stage experience with some of the best. There’ll be plenty of great 5-string banjo pickin’ when these three take to the stage but don’t be surprised to hear some fine guitar, mandolin fiddle and maybe even a Dobro as the performance takes shape. Sit back and enjoy and if you’re wearing a hat....hold on to it.

Georgette Twain & Cecilia Yale Georgette Twain & Cecilia Yale Georgette Twain comes from a 'show biz' family. Both parents were professional actors and musicians as well. Her father, a banjo soloist, started her out on his Tuba-phone banjo. She became an aspiring operatic singer, until Polio stepped in and took away her singing voice. Eddie Peabody coached her for 5 years and started her on her new career. The banjo has taken her world wide, C.B.S. television, recordings, and the Nevada circuit. She was inducted into the American Banjo Hall of fame and Museum in 2007, which is now located in Oklahoma city . Her daughter Cecilia Yale, herself a seasoned professional violinist, has joined her mother as a duo.
Cecilia Yale started off playing banjo and appeared at the age of 12 on the Bill Rase T.V. show (KCRA) playing plectrum banjo with her mother, Georgette Twain. She later studied the violin and has since been a professional violinist. She performed with the Danny Yale "Regency Strings" at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in San Francisco for 7 years. Also during that period she played in shows and private affairs. In Nevada , she helped found the Carson Valley Pop's Orchestra and was concert-master for ten years. For 13 years she played every Sunday brunch at the Silver Legacy Casino in Reno . She is now concentrating on playing music with her mother, Georgette Twain.

Buddy Wachter Buddy Wachter Since 1990 Buddy has performed and lectured internationally as a musical ambassador for the U.S. Department of State. Combining music tours with a love for hiking and adventure travel, Buddy and his banjo have crossed the deserts, rafted the rivers, and hiked the mountain ranges of six continents -- uniting the world banjo community and has introduced the instrument to some of the remotest parts of the world.
Buddy also appears regularly as a soloist with symphony orchestras. Since his Carnegie Hall debut with Skitch Henderson and the New York Pops in 1992, he has been guest soloist with over a hundred orchestras, worldwide. Highlights of recent symphonic appearances include the Boston Pops in their nationally broadcast New Year’s Eve concert special, and a current PBS television special “Stars and Stripes Forever” with the Charlotte Philharmonic.

John WilderJohn Wilder Professional entertainer and musician and show producer, he has performed throughout the United States, internationally and on cruise ships. Recently, John performed in the Red Sea Jazz Festival in Eilat, Israel. John writes arrangements (charts) for entertainers - mostly those working on cruise ships. He formerly leased and ran the Gaslight Theatre in Folsom, CA where John produced musical revue-style shows. Currently John produces similar shows for conventions, parties and corporate events.

Masters and Mistress of Ceremonies

Carol SpikerCarol Spiker. Let’s start with my introduction to the Sacramento Banjo Band! My best friend, Marilyn Peterson, had been bugging me forever to get a banjo-mandolin and join. She said “Aggie” was the only one who could break me in, and was getting on in years. Since I played the fiddle (a.k.a. violin) it would be an easy transition. So I joined in 1990. Marilyn had just met Norm! She had disappeared! So I was on my own with my new banjomandolin. Long story short...Bob Funk was tuning us all up at Peninsula! He said to me, “You’re a real musician! Why are you playing this toy?” That was the same day that I found an instrument that was tuned the same as my viola, called a “tenor banjo”. (By the way, easier to play than a banjo-mandolin!) Retired from 34 years in Special Education, I started my own band, “Assorted Nuts”. Five of the 8 member of the band are members of SBB. I MC because I love our audiences, and I love being at the microphone!

Phil CainPhil Cain. Dr. Phil Cain (“Dr Phil” with hair) has been involved in the Banjo world for many years. After serving in the army as a doctor during the Vietnam era, he inherited an old Vega Tubaphone from his father and found a Mecca of Banjo enthusiasts in the Springfield Banjo Club. He was an Eddy Peabody devotee and tried to learn his style. He eventually acquired enough skill to become a lead player and after several years became their director. To add variety to the club he brought in other instrumentation, evolving the club into a Banjo/Dixieland organization, which met with some success. This required a name change, to the “Springfield Banjos N’ Brass”. He has MC’d a number of Banjo events over the years and has hosted the Mid-Winter Banjorama in Springfield, Ohio for the past 26.

L.J. Brown L. J. Brown. L. J. Brown was born and raised in New Orleans. He is a veteran of WWII, having enlisted at the age of 17. He graduated from Tulane University and was an independent insurance agent until he retired. As Past President of F.I.G.A., L.J. hosted 4 annual FIGA conventions, 2 in New Orleans and 2 in Ft. Mitchell. He has been leader of a New Orleans Jazz Band consisting of 12 musicians for 25 years. He is blessed by four children, 9 grandkids and 10 great grandkids.

Cary (Corny) Hobbs Cary (Corny) Hobbs. Cary grew up (physically) in Lubbock Texas as a teenage DJ while Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings, Mac Davis, Ralna English and a few other musical legends who were also trying to get Lubbock in the rear view mirror. He’s lived all over the US, England and Australia, and now raises chickens (7) in the Heber Valley of Utah, a sleepy little western resort area south of Park City. Cary plays keyboard, guitar, bass or banjo in several local bands playing mostly Cowboy music for tourists (dudes), and does a daily radio show on the local station, KTMP 1340 in Heber City.

The Bands

East Bay Banjo ClubEast Bay Banjo Club. Here are some of our good neighbors from the Bay Area, who have been featured at all of our Banjo-Ramas. They have been playing in the Diablo Valley since 1963, and under the leadership of Bill Cooper since 1978. In September of 2005, the club was invited to the Czech Republic by the Orinda/Tabor Sister City Foundation where they presented traditional American Jazz before large, enthusiastic crowds at an annual Medieval Festival. Each year they donate their earnings from play outs to the Las Trampas School for Developmentally Delayed Adults, to the Barbara Milliff Center, to the Bay Area Crisis Nursery, and to the Capitol Kids Banjo Band. Visitors and new members are always welcome at their Tuesday night practice at 7:30pm at the Round Table Pizza Parlor,3 1938 Oak Park Blvd, Pleasant Hill.

Northwest Banjo BandNorthwest Banjo Band. The Northwest Banjo Band comes to Banjo-Rama from the Willamette Valley area of Oregon. NWBB was founded in 1969 by John Huntsberger who was inspired to do so after attending Banjo-Rama in 1969. Currently with 35 playing members, NWBB is blessed with well known expert professional and amateur players, intermediates and beginners, all of whom love the banjo and the friendships that develop. The NWBB performs monthly at Papa’s Pizza in Corvallis, Oregon to a packed house every time.

Oregon Trail Banjo BandOregon Trail Banjo Band. Ralph Martin has had a wonderful influence on banjo playing. In 2003, he was honored and inducted into the National Four-string Banjo Hall of Fame. He started the Southern California Banjo Band many years ago. This band started in Oregon with his annual camp, inviting all his friends from the "good old days." No doubt you will see some outstanding banjo playrs, and they will have some special suprises and great arrangements.

Orphan Banjo Band. The Orphan Banjo Band is composed each year of "orphan" banjo players (not playing in another band) or banjo players who wish to be orphans.

Peninsula Banjo BandPeninsula Banjo Band. This band organized in 1963 to preserve the four-string banjo and its music. They have up to 70 members including plectrum and tenor banjos, as well as the washtub bass players. They have played for numerous functions in the Bay Area including Candlestick Park, the 50th Anniversary of the Golden Gate Bridge, the Black and White Ball, the Tech Museum in Oakland, and the Mayors' Convention in San Francisco where Mayor Willie Brown directed the band. They have raised over $200,000 for charities such as the Research Institute of S.F., the Stanford Hospital, Hospice of the Valley and the Ronald McDonald House. Charlie Tagawa is their music director. They meet Wednesdays 7:00 PM at Cabrito's Mexican Bistro 685 E. El Camino Real Sunnyvale. They hold a wonderful Banjo Jubilee each September with great banjo performers and bands.

Sacramento Banjo Band. This band has grown to over 50 playing members and about 60 Friends of the Band. They have been performing each year at the Sacramento Jazz Jubilee in May. On the first and third Sundays of the month, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m., they fill the Straw Hat Pizza Parlor on Mather Field Road with happy players, fans, and music. Last summer they performed a concert for the Tahoe Music Festival at Squaw Valley. In 2005 they donated over $12,400 to children's charities, including Shriners Hospitals for Children, the Make A Wish Foundation, W.E.A.V.E., Sacramento Children's Home, Red Cross, Salvation Army and other deserving charities.

San Francisco Banjo Band San Francisco Banjo Band. The San Francisco Banjo Band is in its 40th year of entertaining in the Bay Area. The band has played at San Francisco Giants festivities, civic events, celebrations of all sorts, stage shows and for just good time sing-alongs. The band is known for playing the first Saturday of each month at the Historic Molloys Tavern located at 1655 Mission Road in Colma from 7:30 pm.- 10:00 pm. and at the Oyster Point Yacht Club at 911 Marina Boulevard, South San Francisco, the third Friday of each month from 7:00-9:30 pm. Anyone interested in membership can contact the band and we will help you along on your learning process be it from the beginning or improving your level of play. However if your interest or expertise is playing the zither, musical saw or juggling and tap dancing at the same time, it is certainly worth the call. We would like to thank the Sacramento Banjo Band for the invitation of playing at your 2010 Banjo-Rama. To contact the band, please call Bill Portman at 650-333-4720, or email

Wineland Banjo BandWineland Banjo Band. The WineLand Banjo Band started playing in the Sacramento Banjo Band Banjo- Rama in 2007. The Band consists of musicians from many locations in Northern California, including the Livermore Valley, Sonoma Valley, Gold Country, Shenandoah Valley, and San Jose areas. Some of the members drive long distances just to attend our weekly get together in Livermore, California. Instruments include 4-string plectrum banjos, bass guitar, washboards, and various percussion devices.
We play nostalgic songs of yesterday composed from the gay-90’s through the 40’s. Seniors are delighted to hear familiar sing-a-long tunes. Younger people are excited because this style of music is novel to them. Enthusiastic toe tapping and singing characterize our audiences.