Rhythm Playboys celebrate 65 years

Published: Jul. 31, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Rhythm Playboys celebrated their 65th anniversary at the Moose Lodge, with nearly 300 people coming to dance, check out memorabilia and enjoy the band’s music.

“I don’t even know how many years they’ve been coming here,” Diane Bonnin, Moose Lodge staff member, said. “I know for the 26 years that I’ve been around, they’ve been here and the Rhythm Playboys used to play here when the whole band was together. They always had a packed house.”

Ryan Herman, Rhythm Playboys member, said they were happy with the community’s support.

“When it turns out like this, it like, wow, you know, they’re out there and it’s just all worth it,” Herman said.

But the band’s anniversary wasn’t the only celebration at the event.

“Alvin Zastrow, our drummer, who has been with us from the very beginning, a founding member, he’s retiring finally. So, we’re throwing that in with the party,” Herman said. “Jerry is turning 75, so it’s his birthday and his dad, Orville, the fiddle player, another founding member, is turning 100.”

Alvin said he really enjoyed his time with the band and looks forward to continuing to watch them perform.

“I had a lot of fun playing for the band,” Alvin said.

David Zastrow, Alvin’s son, said he knows how much this event means to his dad.

“My dad’s real happy that everybody showed up today,” David said. “There are probably more people coming, but he loves it.”

Herman said he feels the same way.

“Some of these people we’ve known from years and years and years ago, you know, traveled around the country,” Herman said. “They’ve been there, you know, weekend after weekend after weekend. We played for a lot of these people’s weddings, anniversaries, so it’s, you know, a big family reunion.”

The Rhythm Playboys said they aren’t going anywhere.

“As long as the people keep coming, we’ll keep making music for them,” Herman said.

The Rhythm Playboys said they will be performing a the upcoming Chippewa Falls Oktoberfest celebration in September and hope to see community members come out and enjoy their music.

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