By Elsie Kipp – Wilkie, Sask.
I learned recently that Marc Wald of the Rhythm Pals passed away. “The Pals” were on the Tommy Hunter TV Show for 17 years. Marc’s brother Nels lived here in Wilkie. We have had and still do have really great Canadian musical talent.
It’s with real nostalgia I recall the Don Messer Show. My son, Chris, used to run and jump on his rocking horse when Messer was playing and proceeded to rock exactly in time to the fiddle tunes. He was only two at the time.
We hardly ever missed the Tommy Hunter Show. These were such great years for country music! Because Chris had this talent for keeping time, Uncle Clare Kipp bought him a set of drums when he was seven years old.
We were fortunate to have a close neighbour who was very musical and played in a band. We asked if he would give Chris some lessons, which he did, and he also taught him how to tune the drums.
So began our three-generation band, with my dad on fiddle, myself on banjo or guitar, and Chris on drums. We had a great time playing at various functions and that we were three generations was always noted.
In the early years we had no electronics, all was played acoustically. We played at dad’s friend’s 40th wedding anniversary in a large quonset in 1973. What a thrill it was to get asked to play at the North Battleford Arena in 1978 for the Canada Day celebrations.
The next year we did a program of traditional Ukrainian music for the Redberry Lake Folk Fest. We were quite overwhelmed that day to face attendance of close to 4,000 people. We were featured in a photo in the Battlefords News-Optimist in a writeup of the event.
Our last performance as a three-generation band was in 1987, at the Kowalski family reunion. These were our relatives on dad’s side. Dad was 81 years old and he played traditional Ukrainian selections as a guest performer. Chris and I were in another band already and we played most of the evening.
I’m in a three-generation bad again! Son Chris is playing banjo and dobro now, wife Sheryl on keyboard, I’m on guitar, and granddaughter Sasha is doing vocals. How’s that for coming full circle?