Chet Olsen celebration at Gayville April 30

Chet Olsen celebration at Gayville April 30 Owen DeJong, Nick Schwebach, Tom Schaefer and friends join in concert to celebrate the late Wakonda fiddler and singer Chet Olsen at 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 30, at Gayville Hall in Gayville.

Olsen, who was born and raised in rural Irene, was a retired farmer whose memory of the old-time songs was legend. He became a mentor to the musicians during the1970s. Some of the songs he sang with his siblings in childhood or when they performed on WNAX in the late 1920s. After his retirement from farming, Olsen played regularly with Wilber Foss and the South Dakota Old Time Fiddlers.

An instrument maker since 1959, Olsen built about 80 violins and 75 guitars and made repairs to countless instruments in the basement workshop of his farm east of Wakonda on Frog Creek Road.

Schaefer is a Wakonda native who learned fiddling under Olsen's tutelage while a medical student at USD. He reigned as the state fiddle champion several years and played with the Rocky Mountain Oysters. He has been an anesthesiologist in St. Paul, MN, for many years, but will move to Nashville this spring.

DeJong has played fiddle in the Poker Alice Band for more than a decade and a half and was in The Travelin' Band of Nashville during the 1980s. He is classical music director at South Dakota Public Radio and lives in rural Wakonda.

Schwebach, also of rural Wakonda, founded the Poker Alice Band. He and DeJong have also performed together in the Public Domain Tune Band for 25 years.

Other performers include Larry Rohrer of Poker Alice on bass, fiddler Bill Peterson of Canton, John Everist of Brandon on banjo, and special guest, fiddler Dwight "Red" Lamb of Onawa, IA. John McNeill will emcee.

Gayville Hall is at 502 Washington Street in Gayville. Reserved seating for the show costs $12.50. Call the box office at 605-267-2859. Tickets are $10 at the door.

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