St. Louis Banjo Club brings old favorites to new generations

7:12 PM, Jan 29, 2013   |    comments
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By Heidi Glaus

ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - It's probably never been called the coolest club in town.

"Yeah, no we're pretty calm," said Don Dempsey, Secretary of the St. Louis Banjo Club.

Or the wildest.

"Most members are in their 60s, 70s and 80s," he said.

But since 1969 a group has gathered to pick out some old favorites. Songs that are unfortunately disappearing from modern day playlists.

Tunes that still inspire young people to dance and thanks to technology even sing along. Of course these days, the St. Louis Banjo Club is quite a bit smaller than it was in the 70s.

"We've got about what 50 left? They're dying off like crows," Al Lehmann, President of the club added.

The good news is they're accepting new members, they don't even care if you can play.

"Bring your banjo, pay your $25 a year dues," Lehmann joked.

"When I retired 12 years ago I had never played an instrument before. My father used to play a banjo in the 30s and I decided I wanted to play so I came to this club and I had all kinds of members help me and show me what to do," Dempsey explained.

He's been playing pretty much ever since.

"I probably quit three times in the first two years," Dempsey pointed out.

And in doing so with this group, keeping a little piece of American music alive.

"People come here for the first time and are amazed that this is still available," Dempsey said.

The St. Louis Banjo Club plays twice a month at Concordia Turners Hall on Gravois and you can hear them free of charge. To learn more about the club visit their website.


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