Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Ted Lewis’ Grand Refrain – “Is Everybody Happy?”

Ted Lewis Museum

The Ted Lewis Museum was renovated last year for its 40th Anniversary.

For those interested in old entertainers and movies, Ted Lewis Museum in Circleville, Ohio will arouse your curiosity. Ted’s first professional singing job happened in 1906 in between movies at the Circleville Electric Nickelodeon. His salary – $4 a week. But that was just the beginning.

Ted Theater with Joyce

Joyce Keller, president of the museum, stands in front of a replica of the first theater where Ted  performed.

Born Theodore Friedman in Circleville, Ohio, his younger years were spent helping his parents in Friedman’s Bazaar, an emporium which supplied women of Pickaway County with the latest fashions. Ted spent his time sweeping inside and outside the store, as well as making deliveries. It wasn’t something he enjoyed.

His earliest musical instrument experience came at the age of nine when he played piccolo in the Circleville Cadet Band. His fingers weren’t long enough yet to play the clarinet. But Ted mowed lawns during the summer to save money to buy an E-flat clarinet he knew he wanted to play.

However, Ted became fascinated with syncopation and began taking lessons after school with Cricket Smith, a black barber. Jazz ran in Ted’s blood, which had him dismissed from the Cadet Band. The band teacher later apologized when Ted became famous.

Ted Early Days

In 1911, Ted would return home from tours when he ran out of money, which was often.

As a teenager, he played his clarinet to help draw a crowd for Dr. Cooper’s Medicine Man Show and sold balloons and cotton candy. He’d carry circus banners in parades and even followed them out of town. This caused his parents much embarrassment and they tried to send him to business college in Columbus, but to no avail.

Ted Apartment 2

The books, bookcase and photos of life long friends, Ted and Sophie Tucker, are from his New York City apartment. Even the gold wallpaper has been replicated.

Ted kept busy following his dream of becoming an entertainer. He paired up with Jack Lewis under the billing Lewis and Friedman. One day in South Carolina, he saw the billing said Lewis & Lewis. The manager said that fit on the marquee better. After that he was always known as Ted Lewis, even though he never legally changed his name.

Ted Top Hat 2

His battered top hat, cane, and clarinet are on prominent display.

In 1916, at the age of 26, Ted formed his first band – Ted Lewis Nut Band. They were very popular in the New York City area and performed at Rector’s Restaurant, a high class venue. While there, he won an old top hat in a dice game from a cab driver called Mississippi. That top hat, his clarinet, cane and the question: “Is everybody happy?” were always part of his act.

Ted Lewis 001

Ted Lewis always wore his old battered hat at every performance.

Ted Phonograph

This old hand-crank Victrola played “Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives to Me”.

His theme song, “When My Baby Smiles at Me” and hits such as “Tiger Rag” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street” earned him the title, “King of Jazz”. In 1926, his Columbia recording of “Tiger Rag” sold more than five million copies. He was their highest paid artist in the 1920s. This popular performer presented his act to nine United States Presidents and even did a command performance for King George V of England.

Ted Me and My Shadow

A video in a peanut cart plays “Me and My Shadow”.

During one performance, Ted noticed the doorman, Eddie Chester, mimicking him from the wings and asked him to join him on stage. Thus was born his signature routine, “Me and My Shadow”.

Ted Is Everybody Happy

Ted starred in a movie about his life. Beautiful women played a large part in his acts.

Ted Lewis Museum opened in 1977 across the street from where Ted was born. Here you’ll be able to see classic memorabilia and watch videos of Ted Lewis performing. He told his wife that when he died he wanted everything to come back to Circleville, “The Capital of the World”.

Ted 80th 2

Pictured at Ted’s 80th birthday party are Circleville Mayor Gordon, brother Milton Friedman, Ted, and Columbus Mayor Sensenbrenner.

This showman never forgot his hometown. Ted and his wife, Adah, devoted themselves to making Circleville a better place to live. They supported Berger Hospital, the local schools, and even made possible a 13-acre Ted Lewis Park complete with playground equipment, ball fields, and a swimming pool at that time. Ted entertained the troops during WWII and was a leader in selling war bonds.

Ted and friends

Ted’s friends included Benny Goodman, Sophie Tucker, George Jessel, and Eddie Cantor.

The museum on Main Street only opens on Friday and Saturday from 1-5. After your visit you’ll be ready to put on some tap shoes while grabbing a top hat and cane.

Ted Lewis Museum is located at 133 W Main Street in Circleville, Ohio. Follow US 22 for a scenic ride.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Civil War Songs and the Stories They Tell” with Steve and Lisa Ball

Stee and Lisa Ball

Steve and Lisa Ball  perform Civil War songs at Crossroads Library.

Music plays an important role in the ranks of the military. They have used music to signal their troops for hundreds of years. Often music served as a boost to morale of the soldiers after a hard day of battle.

Be entertained by tales of the Civil War put to music as Steve and Lisa Ball present an entertaining and informative program “Civil War Songs and Stories They Tell”. This musical way of teaching history of the Civil War from 1861-65 is shared around the country about a hundred times each year. The songs come alive with their wonderful vocal and instrumental skills.

Steve Ball guitar

An 1855 Martin is one of Steve’s favorite guitars.

Martin guitars of the Civil War era, from Steve’s private collection, are used in their presentation. All the Martins are in their original coffin cases. Steve’s only the caretaker for these guitars as they will hopefully be passed on from generation to generation. He frequently calls Lisa ‘his band’ as she joins with her upright bass and voice.

Steve’s interest in the Civil War began as a teen, when he learned his Great-Great-Grandfather, William Tyler Butts, was a Union private from Athens, Ohio. He was part of the 73rd Ohio Volunteer Infantry Regiment out of Chillicothe. Steve is a member of the Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War and wears his SUV medal on his uniform.

He’s spent the last twenty years studying the music of the Civil War era and the development of the first American folk songs. A long list of accomplishments could follow his name. They also have a Stephen Foster program telling the history of many of those popular folk songs.

During their program, the variety is astounding. There are not only patriotic pieces, but also silly marches and songs of lost love. You’ll be drawn to their music and stories even if you aren’t a Civil War buff.

Lisa's cello

Lisa plays bass and vocalizes with Steve.

Their performances happen at reenactments, indoor presentations, Civil War roundtables, and even the Ohio Statehouse. Being a Civil War buff , he researches everything so it’s authentic. Steve is living his dream.

Learn more about the history of the Civil War and come away with a better understanding of life during that time as Steve and Lisa Ball tell the story through song.

Many of the songs have a unique history, such as “Darling Nellie Gray”, a song written by Benjamin Hanby, who operated an Underground Railroad in Rush, Ohio. It told about his girlfriend, Nellie Gray, who wanted to escape to Canada. You can learn more about this song by visiting the Hanby House in Westerville, Ohio.

Steve and Lisa

Steve and Lisa add much background information on songs to their performances.

Another song “Aura Lea”, was written by Willie Fosdick (lyrics) and George Poulton (music) in Cincinnati, Ohio. Willie’s wife was Aura Lee, the woman with the golden hair. In 1955, Elvis Presley used the tune of “Aura Lee” and added new lyrics to become his theme song, “Love Me Tender”.

A popular Southern song was “Goober Peas”. Burle Ives liked the folk song. The Balls  had everyone singing along.

Peas, peas, peas, peas, eating Goober peas

Goodness how delicious, eating Goober peas..

Steve Ball CD

Listen to Civil War songs anytime with their popular CDs.

Next time you hear that Steve and Lisa Ball are performing in your area, be certain to drop by and hear their story of the Civil War in song, or perhaps you’ll hear his story of the music and life of Stephen Foster. Either way, you’re sure to enjoy their stories and music.

 

Algonquin Mill Fall Festival Features Crafts, Food and Entertainment

Algonquin Mill 2

This old mill is the reason for the Algonquin Mill Fall Festival.

Take nine tons of cabbage and ferment it into sauerkraut. Grind buckwheat and wheat into flour. Saw boards at an old fashioned sawmill. Embroidery a quilt. These activities from days gone by are just a sampling of what happens at the Algonquin Mill Festival near Carrollton on October 13-15.

The festival began in 1971 to pay off the loan the historical society took to purchase Algonquin Mill on 3.8 acres. They wanted this historic spot to be preserved to help people understand life in the 1800s. It’s been a popular annual event ever since with 16,000 – 20,000 people attending the three day event.

Algonquin 1853 Bridge

This 1853 bridge built by Wrought Iron Bridge Co. of Canton was still in use in the 1960s.

The original old mill built in the early 1800s is their reason for being. The first two mills on this spot were driven by water from nearby McGuire Creek. Today’s mill, built in 1826, was originally operated by water. In 1890 it was converted to steam power. At its peak, the mill produced 25 barrels a day, grinding corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat.

Algonquin Mill

John Miday, miller, and Bill Baughman make sure the corn mill is working properly.

The mill was closed in 1939 and the steam engine went off to fight in WWII. Today they use a one hundred year old steam engine to power the gristmill and grind cornmeal and flour.

Algonquin School 2

This one-room school is the oldest building on the property with typical pot-bellied stove.

The complex contains many other buildings as well and many of them are original. The log buildings have all been brought on site from nearby locations. The one-room school happens to be the oldest of those buildings. During the festival a schoolmarm will be teaching class.

Algonquin Volunteers

Volunteers from all over the area enjoy a tasty pot-luck lunch every Thursday.

They make enough money at the three day festival to support the Algonquin Mill Complex for the entire year. Their volunteers are amazing and very active as they arrive every Thursday all year long to work on projects at the complex. Many said they planned their work schedule so they could have Thursday off.

Whole families get involved in helping here. Volunteers come from all around and even though there is a large number, David McMahon, president of the Carroll County Historical Society, said they could use twice as many.

Algonquin Cookie House

One of the original buildings is now the Cookie House with the Cheese House close by.

Old fashioned foods are a highlight of the festival. Pancakes, sauerkraut, apple butter, homemade jams, cider, and maple syrup are made and served. Or you can buy some to take home and enjoy. The mill also grounds fresh cornmeal along with buckwheat, spelt and wheat flour.

Algonquin Sauerkraut

Dave George takes his job seriously as the man in charge of the sauerkraut operation.

Dave happens to be in charge of the sauerkraut and that’s no small task. When you start out with nine tons of cabbage, it takes a careful eye to make certain it ferments properly in large containers. Then it will be put in jars to be sold at the festival. Word has it that they are usually sold out of sauerkraut by noon on Sunday!

Algonquin Art

This is just a small sampling of the art on display in the past.

The barn at Whispering Winds Farm held square dances in years gone by, but today that’s where you’ll find an Art & Photography Show. This juried show displays original pieces created between 2014 and 2017 with no previous entries allowed. Every year it’s a whole new show, sharing one-of-a-kind items.

Algonquin Crafters 2

Women embroidery a quilt and work on many crafts in the Civil War era Gothic farmhouse.

You’ll discover time honored crafts such as rugweaving, spinning and quilting in the Civil War era farmhouse. The walls are covered with aprons, quilts, scarves and rugs they have made to sell. These ladies begin working on next year’s crafts the Thursday after the festival ends to refill the walls.

Algonquin Threshing Machine

Dave McMahon, president of Carroll County Historical Society, explains the antique Case threshing machine in their Farm Museum.

Throughout the grounds demonstrations exist for chair caning, wood carving, candle dipping, broom making and blacksmith trades. An old sawmill attracts people of all ages and is one of the most popular demonstrations.

Algonquin Mill Barn

This is the last original work of Mail Pouch Barn painter, Harley Warrick. There are two other Mail Pouch Barns Warrick painted at the complex.

Don’t forget, all day long old-time entertainment takes place. There’ll be cloggers, banjo and fiddle players and gospel groups performing. Local high school bands and choirs also enjoy participating. If you want, you could sit there all day and be entertained.

Algonquin Stagecoach Inn

On the hillside behind this old stagecoach inn, Perry J. Vasbinder Arboretum has been established with over 400 different plantings.

If you should happen to want to visit Algonquin Mill at a time other than the festival, Thursdays are the perfect time as volunteers are always there to answer questions. Of course, you can walk around the grounds 365 days a year and learn about the complex from literature available on the wall of their information center, but buildings will be locked.

This festival is the perfect place to step back in time and enjoy all those old fashioned tastes, crafts, and entertainment. Entry per vehicle is $8.00 so load up the van and have a day of fun and learning. You’ll be glad you stopped by.

The Algonquin Mill Complex is located south of Carrollton along OH 322, which is east of I-77. There are several bends to make on this scenic adventure no matter what direction you are coming from, so it’s best to place their address in your GPS system. Find them at 4296 Scio Road SW. 

 

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Ohio River Ferryboat Festival – 200th Anniversary Fly-Sistersville Ferry

Fly Ferry

The Fly-Sistersville Ferry provides a relaxing way to cross the Ohio River.

Floating by ferry on the Ohio River brings pictures to mind of days gone by. Drive your car onto the ferry, or walk on – either way you’re sure to enjoy a ride to the other side. No bridges exist close by.

Fly Sistersville Vendors

Vendors line the streets on the Sisterville side of the river.

During the Ohio River Ferryboat Festival on July 28-30, crowds fill both sides of the Ohio River at Fly, Ohio and Sistersville, West Virginia. For only a dollar, you can walk on the boat, float across and check out the activities on the other side. Or you can drive on board for five dollars. The ride across takes about eight minutes.

This ferry began many years ago in 1817 so this happens to be the 200th Anniversary of a ferryboat crossing at what everyone calls the “Long Reach”. This is one of those rare places on the Ohio River where there’s a twenty mile stretch of river without any bends.

Fly Kiwanis

The Kiwanis was one of many ferries used on the Ohio River.

In those early days the Ohio River wasn’t nearly as deep as it is today. At that time horses pulled the ferry, which was basically a wooden platform, across the Ohio while guided by a rope. If it was an easy load, only one horse was needed, but larger loads of stagecoaches and animals might require two horses. Thus our present term of one, two, or four horsepower.

Today the Sisterville-Fly Ferry is the only ferry still operating on the Ohio-West Virginia border. Now it’s only open from the first of May until the end of September from Thursday thru Sunday. Bo is the only operator but he enjoys his retirement years as captain of the ferry.

Fly-Bo

Bo always serves as pilot on the only ferry on the Ohio-WV border.

They got lucky at finding their latest captain, as Bo is a former member of the United States Coast Guard. After the waters of the Atlantic Ocean, the Ohio River must seem fairly calm. He especially enjoys letting children come up in his cabin and let’s them “drive” the ferry for a little while.

Fly Ferry close up

Take a peaceful ride on the Ohio River during the Ohio Ferryboat Festival.

During last year’s festival over a thousand people walked onto the ferry for crossing and nearly seventy-five cars. The ferry can hold eight cars or trucks at a time if they’re parked bumper to bumper. Motorcycles find it a great shortcut and once in a while even a tractor trailer gets on board.

Fly Sistersville Wrestling 2

Wrestling provides entertainment on the Sisterville side.

While the ferryboat is the main reason for the festival, there are many other activities on both sides of the river. Each town does their own promotions and plans their own entertainment. But they visit back and forth. The mayor of Sistersville often rides across on the ferry to Fly.

Fly Dick Pavlov

Dick Pavlov with his banjo traveled to Fly last year to join in the entertainment.

Fly Price Sisters

The Price Sisters, Leanna and Lauren, of Bluegrass fame from nearby Sardis draw large crowds of friends and fans.

On the Fly side, many groups perform throughout the day with everything from Bluegrass music to Steel Drums and accordion. A couple special highlights are the Clark Family of Ohio Opry and local girls, the Price Sisters, who are Bluegrass stars.

Fly George Washington

George Washington & Co. describes life during Washington’s trip on the Ohio River.

George Washington & Co explain the story of George Washington’s camp at the edge of what is today Fly, Ohio. He camped there during a survey trip back in 1770. They dress in costumes of the 1770s and tell of riding down the Ohio River in two canoes with two Indian guides. It took a couple weeks to paddle from Fort Pitt to Mount Pleasant.

Fly children

It’s a great day for families to acquaint their children with the Ohio River stories.

Join Fly and Sistersville for the 200th Anniversary of the ferry this July. Not only will you enjoy a ride on the ferry, but you’ll find delightful vendors and entertainment on both sides of the Ohio River

It’s definitely the only Ferry to Fly.

Fly, Ohio is located in southern Ohio along Route 7. From Wheeling, it’s about 47 miles south on Route 7. The fastest route would be off I-77 and take Route 7 North at Exit 1. It’s a scenic route anyway you travel!

Rich Simcox: A Life of Musical Adventures

Rich Choir Director

Rich SImcox considers music his vocation and avocation.

I fell into a lot of lucky spots.” That’s how Rich Simcox describes his musical career. “ It’s not always what you know, but who you know that matters most.” But his great musical talent certainly enabled those connections.

Rich Pickin' 001 (2)

The “pickers and grinners” met  in the summer on Uncle Joe’s porch. They entertained the entire neighborhood.

Rich grew up surrounded by music. His mother’s family were “pickers and grinners”, while his father’s family reached out to classical and Dixieland. Rich wanted to emulate his dad.

Dick Simcox, Rich’s dad, directed school music programs in Bucyrus during Rich’s youth. In fourth grade, Rich started playing the trumpet, which remains his favorite instrument.

His dad knew teaching music to be a vocation of long hours and short vacations. He told his two sons and daughter, “I don’t care what you do, as long as you don’t go into music.” They all chose music.

Dick Simcox 001 (2)

His dad, Dick Simcox, gave him musical inspiration.

The Simcox family history shows their deep Cambridge roots. Rich was born there, his dad grew up there. Grandpa Simcox performed vaudeville at the Strand and Liberty theaters. Great-grandpa Simcox had a harness shop by the courthouse. It seemed only natural for Rich to drift back this direction.

He admits to being a gypsy at heart so he has been on many musical adventures. That all started when he became a member of the Air Force Band, one of his favorite musical journeys. Most of the time they worked out of Scott Air Force Base in Missouri. The 45 piece band played for parades, school concerts, community events, and military funerals.

Muskingum College Jazz Group

When attending Muskingum College, he played in many campus bands.

In the 70s, his dad moved to Tri-Valley High School and in his spare time formed “The Dick Simcox Big Band”. Rich at the time was attending Muskingum College so became part of his dad’s band. When his dad passed in 1979, Rich decided he would keep the band performing as long as possible. One thing he wanted to do was always keep his dad’s name as the name of the band.

While his biggest inspiration remained with his dad, he also listened carefully to Al Hirt and Doc Severinsen. Rich said he always hoped to emulate the tunefulness and tone quality of Bobby Hackett, coronet player.

Rich Simcox Jazz Band 001 (2)

The Dick Simcox Big Band provided music around the Tri-State area.

Locally, Rich taught music at several high schools as well as Muskingum College. Many remember him coming to their homes for private lessons. He has led many musical groups in the area over the years, including: Barbershop Chorus, Sweet Adelines, and Land ‘O Lakes Chorus.

His involvement with music in the area extends to many organizations and listing them all would take an entire page. To name a few, he has played trumpet or french horn in Cambridge City Band, Coshocton Lake Park Band, Southeastern Ohio Symphony Orchestra and Zanesville City Band. He’s directed musicals at Living Word and Cambridge Performing Arts Center.

Rich Dick Simcox Band 001

Here the band plays at the Cambridge Concert Association at the Scottish Rite Auditorium. That’s Rick sitting in the wheel chair.

While directing has been one of his strong points, participating as an actor gave him great pleasure at CPAC. He played lead roles in popular musicals such as “The Music Man”, “Carousel” and “The Flower Drum Song”. His talent in so many varied musical arenas led him to say, “Music is my vocation and avocation.”

This outstanding musician played trumpet on cruise ships and has kept the “Dick Simcox Big Band” alive with performances throughout the area. Rich reflects, “I’ve done more than I ever thought I would.”

Rich in Church Choir

Singing in the church choir has given Rich pleasure for nearly forty years.

Directing the choir at First Christian Church in Cambridge since 1978 still gives him great pleasure. The church music lifts his soul as they make a joyful noise to the Lord. In his spare time, he also enjoys camping and fishing.

Rich Church Choir

He frequently directs the choir with some challenging music.

It’s a tragedy to Rich that schools are doing away with music programs. There’s a big correlation between participation in musical activities and excellence in other areas of study. He feels that the reason this area has so many talented musicians today comes from great music teachers, such as Howdy Max, John Matheny, Max Trier, Diane Box, and Todd Bates.

Rich perhaps gave the best description of his role in music. He’s a musical engineer, who organizes whatever needs done or put together. But admitted he couldn’t do it without networking with all his connections.

According to those who know him well, Rich’s specialty is motivation. “He can get more out of most people than they think they can produce.” Music has been a lifelong adventure for Rich.

World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock in “Little Switzerland of Ohio”

Cuckoo Welcome

This large billboard at the edge of town announces Sugarcreek attractions.

Visit “Little Switzerland of Ohio” to see the “World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock”. Sugarcreek is now home to that famous clock, which was purchased by Walnut Creek Cheese and donated to the tourist town.

But the clock had its beginnings back in 1963 as an idea of Alice Grossniklaus, owner of Alpine Alpa, a restaurant and cheese house. She thought a large cuckoo clock would help bring trade to her restaurant. Designed and built by Karl Schleutermann, twelve years and $50,000 later, the clock was up and running.

This 23-foot- 6 inch tall timepiece originally stood in Wilmot on a hill in back of the Alpine Alpa restaurant. Alice and her husband, Hans, made it the #1 Swiss cheese shop in the country. But things changed over the years and all the restaurant fixings were auctioned off, including the clock.

Cuckoo Clock

The World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock waits for all to enjoy.

Mark Coblentz of Walnut Creek Cheese purchased the clock at auction. It sat in a parking lot for two years while they looked for the perfect place to set it.

When the residents of Sugarcreek were trying to decide where to put the clock, many wanted it placed inside a building with an admission charge of about five dollars per visit. But Mayor Clayton Weller didn’t have the same vision. He wanted the clock to be free for all to enjoy, as often as they wanted.

When Mayor Weller sets his heart on something, he gets it accomplished. Land was purchased, the foundation set and a crane moved that clock between two crabapple trees without touching a limb. Clayton likes challenges, perhaps that’s why in his spare time he drag races.

Today the clock is on Sugarcreek’s Broadway Street. In 2012, the clock resumed its cuckooing duties after volunteers worked diligently to restore the electrical mechanisms. Those little Bavarian figures still do the polka.

Cuckoo Cuckoo Clock

The cuckoo is the first thing you see and hear each half hour.

Visitors are thrilled every thirty minutes when a bell rings, and out pops a cuckoo bird. Next a three-foot-tall couple on tracks dance the polka to Bavarian music played by a five-piece oompa band.

Cuckoo Swiss Hilltoppers

The oompa band, The Hilltoppers, entertains as the couple dances.

The dancers and band are made out of wood from the Black Forest in Germany. Currently, the dancers take a break as the wood started splitting on the lady’s dress. That would have destroyed her, if not fixed quickly.

The mechanical part of this clock is a marvel with many intricate pieces. When viewed through the back door, the system is even more amazing. Most incredible is the fact that this clock is forty-five years old. They even have the original eight-track tapes that played that first music.

Cuckoo Waterwheel

A waterwheel on the side of the building adds a little extra splash.

A satellite on the clock monitors the sound system so it can easily be checked from home anytime. The people of this town really care about the clock. A group of men Clayton called the Cuckoo Brothers spend endless hours working on and checking the clock. Another special group, the Four Amigos, plant and care for 165 geraniums that surround the clock in the summer time. That shows real dedication to their community!

Guinness World Records was contacted regarding the clock’s official unveiling to verify that it is indeed the world’s largest. “It has to work as a real cuckoo clock, like you’d buy at a store,” said Mayor Weller, confident that his clock would be crowned the largest in the world. “A lot of work went into it,” he said. “Everybody says it’s never looked as good as it does now.”

A friend, Big Mike, secretly made all the arrangements with Guiness World Records, and one day Clayton was called asking why the street was blocked off and a crowd of people were at the clock. He knew nothing about these plans, so headed that way. What he saw surprised him completely.

Cuckoo Mayor Clayton

May Clayton Welller has been instrumental in getting the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock up and running.

Under a blanket on an easel was that coveted Guiness Book of World Records certificate. It verified that the clock in Sugarcreek definitely took the honors of the Largest Cuckoo Clock in the World. Today the office of Mayor Weller proudly displays that certificate.

In order to pay for this project without burdening the local residents, a bedtax plan has been used. Next year the land and moving expenses will be paid in full. Then the money will be used for repairs and maintenance on this local treasure.

Cuckoo 1

This picture was taken on a summer day with all the beautiful geraniums in bloom.

People come from all over the world to visit the World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock. Many remember coming years ago with their families, but most are making new memories as they watch the mechanical marvel play its song every thirty minutes.

Visit Sugarcreek, Little Switzerland of Ohio, to visit their delightful small town and unique chalet-styled cuckoo clock. Cuckoo! Cuckoo!

The World’s Largest Cuckoo Clock is located at 100 N Broadway Street, Sugarcreek, Ohio. Take I-77 to Exit 83, which will be Ohio 39. Go west about 8 miles and turn left on Broadway Street. You can’t miss the Cuckoo Clock on the corner of Broadway and Main.

Radio Enthusiast Enjoys Broadcasting

Boyer Logo 001

This WBPS 101.9 FM logo provides easy public recognition of their station.

Turn the radio on  and listen to WBPS 101.9 FM, where you can hear Good Time Oldies and Great American Standards, all day and all night.

Many remember sitting on the floor by the radio listening to those old classics. However, “watching” the radio fascinated Boyer Simcox when he was a child. While listening he saw the shows in his mind, but when TV came around the shows didn’t match his imagination. Radio always remained his preference.

WBPS Studio

The radio equipment in this one room provides entertainment throughout the Cambridge area.

Just out of high school, Boyer volunteered at a radio station in Wheeling, where he did a half hour talk show called “Firing Line”. Here he interviewed many interesting guests including John Glenn and Howard Metzenbaum. One special show happened at the time of the Kent State shootings and so many questions came in that the producer told him to keep going as long as listeners were interested.

Over the years, Boyer has held many intriquing positions where he was helping someone. One thing can be certain, he has always done what he wanted to do. He’s worked as Director of Social Services, Director of Area Agency on Aging, and even owned a couple restaurants, but always wanted his own radio station.

WBPS Mixing Board

Their mixing board gives Boyer opportunity to make instant changes, or set up programming ahead of time.

Back in 1984, he called the FCC to see if a frequency was obtainable. None were available at that time, so he waited. Then in 2013, the FCC released several frequencies for non-profit or community stations. Boyer applied.

One morning in 2013, while watching the Today Show with his wife Judy, Boyer happened to check the FCC site on his tablet. He was listed on their approval list! Immediately, he handed the tablet to Judy to prove he wasn’t dreaming.

WBPS Judy

Judy frequently helps by giving public service announcements.

Paperwork began. Deadline for being on the air was 18 months. He decided to purchase a package with everything he needed except the antenna. When he received it, Boyer wondered, “What have I done?” There were many unanswered questions as the package had no instructions.  Boyer used the internet for information and several small radio stations formed a forum to answer questions and share information.

Work progressed slowly until he had everything assembled and all the wires connected. But when he turned it on, nothing happened. Time was getting short for his deadline, then one night at 3:00 in the morning in November, 2014, Boyer rested in bed thinking about those wires.

WBPS CDs

A handy supply of CDs provides variety to the programmed music.

It came across his mind that two wires needed to be switched. Changing those two little wires brought his station to life. Excitedly Boyer hopped in his car and drove all over town to see how far WBPS could be heard. When he stopped on Wheeling Avenue, he looked down and discovered that he still had on his robe and slippers. However, he discovered that the station could be heard all over Cambridge.

WBPS Boyer at controls

Boyer spends many hours at the controls of WBPS, and enjoys every minute.

Now into his third year of broadcasting, he has country-wide contacts, who share their shows with him. Bluegrass from West Virginia, polkas from Minnesota, and movie tunes from New Philadelphia are a few of those connections. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir has a featured show as well as Bill Gaither, who agreed to share his program after just one phone call.

WBPS airs around the clock these days. People listen to it all night long and also use it in the workplace because it’s happy, up-beat music.

There’s no need for local news or sports here as AVC radio stations do an excellent job of covering those items. However, Don Keating, local amateur meteorologist, does an outstanding job of broadcasting up-to-date local weather.

WBPS Boyer and Judy

Boyer and Judy feel this is a great hobby that adds enjoyment to the listening area. Their cat, Mr. Lucky, sometimes tries a little programming himself.

Boyer and Judy Simcox feel WBPS is their gift to the community. They both participate in radio operation on and off the air. Everyplace they go, people stop and thank them for the familiar music. It made Boyer smile when a listener told him he wouldn’t get out of the car until a song was finished. That makes it all worthwhile.

Listeners tune in for the Pennyroyal live on Friday, the Wheeling Jamboree on Saturday and  then a day of spiritual songs – Our Sunday Best.

In the future, Boyer would like to feature more local groups on the air. If groups have a CD they would like to share, contact him at wbpsradio@yahoo.com . If anyone has an interest in volunteering or has ideas for the station, Boyer’s always ready to listen and is eager for more local participation.

WBPS Digital Alert System

The Emergency Digital Alert System is handy for national emergencies.

If non-profit groups would like to have announcements made on WBPS, send him an email as there is no cost. He even shares them with his network of radio friends.That’s what Community Radio is all about.

When asked what he does for fun, Boyer answered quickly, “I’m having it.” His advice to everyone would be, “Don’t be afraid to try something new.” It never occurred to him that he couldn’t do it.

Music comforts the soul, especially those songs you have known most of your life. That’s why WBPS is becoming a favorite station for seniors in the area. Twenty-four hours a day,  it plays those songs that make you smile.

Listen to WBPS 101.9 FM and you’ll find yourself singing along with those old-time favorites. You just can’t help it.

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