by Peter Twitchell
I returned to Bethel over the last couple days to clear out my Bethel storage. It didn’t make any sense to live in the Matanuska Valley and have storage in Bethel. It was like being in denial, not living in Bethel but having ties to my hometown – the place where I was born.
It was not an easy decision but with the help of my friends, close friends, and relatives it became necessary to give KYUK over 1000 of my CDs, a lot of which I used during my “Geezer Rock” show on KYUK when I lived in Bethel.
Now all the geezers can enjoy listening to those CDs I used to play for them. The folks at KYUK Radio confided to me that they would make a special category on the Radio for all the geezers of the Kuskokwim river!!! Enjoy.
When I was in Bethel and went to go check on my friend Bob Angaiak, I learned of his untimely death. He was such a musical talent, a great musician, singer, and guitar player. I will miss him. He was also my cousin. My grandfather who was English, immigrated from Liverpool, England when he was a boy. He immigrated to the United States to the Bronx in New York and tried his luck during the Alaska Gold Rush.
It was not meant to be his cup of tea so he became a Trader and mushed his dogs from Saint Michael to Bristol Bay and from Flat, Alaska down to the coast to Tununak where he met his future wife and married into the Angaiak family in the early 1920s.
Bob and I shared the same musical interests and became best friends and cousins who appreciated each other.
Throughout the early 2000’s Bob and I played with Joe Andrew’s “The Northern Light’s Fiddle Band”. We traveled up and down the Kuskokwim River in various villages having weekend Fiddle dances.
Early on jamming with Bob, I realized we made good harmony when we sang. With the dozens of bands I’ve played with I’ve always managed to record some of the music we played. I will have my second Eskimo Jam CD released soon. It will feature Bob who was a great singer and a great guitar player.
I will miss playing in the same band with Bob, we made some great memories and you will hear us On Eskimo Jam #2! Those were great times sharing the stage with Bob and laughing and enjoying our music and sharing it with everyone! I will make sure that KYUK radio and Julia get a copy of Eskimo Jam #2.
Jack Hopstad and I started playing the Ventures, Nokie Edwards, Bob Bogle, Mel Taylor, and Don Wilson. The number one guitar instrumental group in the whole universe. I will share a couple of Jack Hopstad’s instrumentals that we used to play as young teenagers in Bethel. Four Yup’ik Boys who emulated Ventures Rock Guitars!
My bandmates Bob Angaiak and Jack Hopstad Have moved on to the spirit world but they live on in my heart and our music.