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The Little River Novelty Band Of The 1980s Performed Music 'Just For The Fun Of It'

Picturing The Past


Last updated 7/8/2019 at 1:40pm

The Little River Novelty Band was organized in June 1980 “just for the fun of it.” They provided free entertainment at community centers and for charitable institutions and clubs. Vivian Edge was the band director and Henry Pettitt was the manager.

They were a group of senior citizens who enjoyed playing, singing and sharing the music of their youth. Songs ranged from “Let Me Call You Sweetheart” and “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling,” first published in 1910 and 1912, to 1920s jazz favorite “Sweet Georgia Brown” and Hank Williams’ 1953 country hit “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” They sometimes included polkas, patriotic songs or Christmas music. “When the Saints Go Marching In” was their traditional closing number.

Band members included Julia Barton, Joe Brock, Bob and Ruby Gibeau, Christine Hamilton, Clyde and Elizabeth Hewitt, Melvin Hicks, Charles Jones, Ruth Mackey, Seva Mackey, Laura Misenheimer, Grace Orr, Mollie Pace, Christine Pettitt, Harry Sinnott and Virginia Spahn.

The band used traditional instruments including piano, accordion, guitar, banjo, mandolin and trumpet, along with drums, cymbals, maracas and a tambourine. They also incorporated a washtub bass, wash board, wash pan, broomstick and kazoos.

Over a two-year period they put on 82 performances. After being inactive for nearly three years the Little River Novelty Band reorganized in 1986. They continued to play a less demanding schedule for the next couple of years before disbanding as older members were unable to participate.

This information is from a scrapbook kept by the band and now in the Local History collection at the Transylvania County Library.

(Photographs and information for this column are provided by the Rowell Bosse North Carolina Room, Transylvania County Library. Visit the NC Room during regular library hours (Monday-Friday) to learn more about local history and see additional photographs. For more information, comments or suggestions, contact Marcy at or call (828) 884-1820.)


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