Bethel was hopping

by Peter Twitchell

When I came on the scene in 1966, Bethel was a quiet little town, until the weekend rolled around. The Yupiit were hot blooded and we loved to dance! It was “fun” being a Bethelite.

Most of it after the war years was impromptu, the towns people liked to gather at the homes of their friends, eating a good meal with freshly baked pies, cookies, cakes, and cinnamon rolls made it more the merrier. There was no frozen desserts from the Northern Commercial Co. store or Dave & Kieth’s, Swanson’s Store.

If you could carry a tune and play an instrument, you were in!

Back in those days, the 50s and 60s, there were bands. The “3 B’s” were Billy Pete, Buzzy Wheeler, and Brass Georgie Charles who lived across the Brown Slough and played the saxophone. Johnny York played guitar.

Bobby Guinn was a young starter in the 50s, a naturally talented musician who played the guitar and worked at it. At Kilbuck School band, he played the clarinet and was in the theatrical class.

Bobby called his band “Bobby and the Saints”, consisting of Jimmy Guinn’s big brothers – Johnny on rhythm guitar, and “Stuffer” on the drums. They played the Ventures hits and a couple Chet Atkins covers.

When Bobby went to Fairbanks University of Alaska, he started “The Sound Project”. His college band consisted of Mo Man, i.e. Moses Wassillie and others and later, Wass Mute on bass guitar when they played in Bethel during their summer breaks.

I started the “Strange Tones” with Jack Hopstad, Sam Oscar, and John David.