The Austin Banjo Club
CD Shop
Austin Banjo Club History

The early days of the club are lost in the daze of senior moments while the earliest check we can find is dated November 1980. The club started in 1979 as John Huntsberger found a letter he had written to his friends in the band he started in Oregon, the Northwest Banjo Band, in which he wrote that he began the Austin Banjo Club that year.

Old photo of Austin Banjo Club
Click the photo for a page of historical photos, courtesy of Charter Member Pete Parsons


John Huntsberger remembers the early days as follows:

"After moving my family to Austin, Texas, Labor Day, 1972, I immediately contacted the Bayou Banjo Club in Houston, Texas; a group I had read about while living in Oregon. Attending their first-Sunday-of-every- month meetings for about seven years inspired me to see if I could start a banjo band in Austin and save the 170 mile one-way trip each month."

"When first I arrived in Austin in May 1972 to teach the summer session at The University of Texas where I was employed, I also went to the Shakey's Pizza Parlor to see if there was a piano and banjo duet playing. Sure enough, there was. Tom Griffith was the piano player and I can't remember the banjoist's name. In fact, there may have been two who simply sat in on occasion. I began to sit in with Tom."

"One night I saw a fellow and his wife sitting right in front of the stage just staring at me while I played. At a break I introduced myself to Charlie Khederian and his wife. He said he played the banjo, but hadn't played in 35 years. He and his wife invited me to their house that night when I was through playing. I went there and we jammed until 4 a.m. the next morning! That began a relationship that still lasts as of this writing in 2006."

"Charlie and I began to jam and played a private party or two. Every so often a person would come up and say, "I used to play the banjo ... "; or, "My dad played the banjo and I have it ... " Pretty soon we had two or three more players in a small group that would jam occasionally. Charlie would book several private parties given by his employer and we continued for the next twelve years as partners playing hundreds of gigs. At one three hour gig, we played requests only!"

"By 1979 I had taken Charlie and another player, Tony Choban, to the Bayou Banjo Club's meetings in Houston for several years when one night while jamming at Duke Waggoner's home we decided to form a banjo band in Austin. Hence the name, Austin Banjo Club."


Contact Us
Contact the Webmaster