Friday, 21 June 2013 17:00

Odds and Ends Band in Swift Current to retire after 40 years

Written by  June Wittrock
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The current members of the 40-year-old Odds and Ends Band, who will be performing for the final time in Swift Current on June 27. From left to right, standing: Larry Gould, Harry Modin, Jim Pratt and Norm Hiebert. Seated (left to right): Rhoda Morrison, Stan Sartison, Pat Hymers and June Wittrock. The current members of the 40-year-old Odds and Ends Band, who will be performing for the final time in Swift Current on June 27. From left to right, standing: Larry Gould, Harry Modin, Jim Pratt and Norm Hiebert. Seated (left to right): Rhoda Morrison, Stan Sartison, Pat Hymers and June Wittrock. Photo submitted

After 40 years of entertaining the people of Swift Current and surrounding area, the Odds and Ends finds it necessary to fold up.

 

It is with great sadness they are forced to do this. Band members are becoming older and fewer in number. They achieved their goal of providing musical entertainment for 40 years.

The practises and performances were as enjoyable for the band members as they hope they were for the people who listened to them. The Odds and Ends two final performances will be after the Senior Citizens' pot luck supper on June 26, followed by their regular performance at the Care Home on June 27.

The band had its origin in 1973 when some members of the local senior's centre attended a senior's convention in Saskatoon. They were entertained by a “kitchen band.” Elma Hunter and Irene Kyle were interested and learned how some of the original instruments worked. They were especially interested in the tub drum.

They brought the idea back to Swift Current and gave it a try. Elma Hunter, who had a musical background, was band leader until 1990, then Dan Pavelick took over until 1993. Pat Hymers has been the leader since then.

Some of the original instruments were a tub, washboard, ice cream pails, a large bread pan, fly swatters, pie plates, detergent bottles, hot water bottles, shower hose, horns, bells, kazoos. Also three violins and a piano. At one time there were 24 in the group with five violins.

After a few years it was decided to have uniforms. They are the same as band members wear today. They purchased material and made the vests. Some did the cutting, some the sewing. Every member had something to do.

Members purchased their own slacks. Bow ties were donated by McKenzie's Clothing Store. Hats were found at the Co-op. Shirts were ordered through Stylerite. At the present time members provide their own shirts. If anyone should quit they return their uniforms to the Senior's Centre for future members.

Over the years the band has performed at many places. While Swift Current had its own television station the Co-op sponsored them playing at Christmas time. They have entertained in the various towns, including Waldeck, Ernfold, Shaunavon, Val Marie, Cadillac, Abbey, Stewart Valley, Lucky Lake, Gull Lake, Ponteix.

Locally they played monthly for the Palliser Hospital and the Care Home (former Nursing Home). For several years they also played monthly for the Pioneer Lodge. They felt the most famous in 2001 and 2002 when they played in the Centre of the Arts in Regina for an audience of about 2,000. That was at a senior citizens fun day for all of Saskatchewan.

They have been invited to play privately for anniversaries, birthdays and weddings. About two years ago they played at the comprehensive high school; two different years for a dance where the teenagers were being taught old time dancing.

The Odds and Ends Band is proud of its 40 years in existence. It is no longer a kitchen band. There are only “conventional” instruments. Margaret Rittinger, a charted member, with her scrub board was the last person with a “kitchen” instrument. She continued to do step dances until she was well into her nineties. She was also the last charter member to be forced to leave the band because of old age.

* June Wittrock is the recording secretary of the Odds and Ends Band.

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