Monday, June 12, 2006

Myrna Riquier's BG bio

Our show producer is Myrna Riquier -- here's her Bluegrass story:

Born in 1936, Myrna grew up with Bluegrass music. Her mom was an avid fan of those early sounds called hillbilly music so it was heard in the home on a regular basis. Myrna got her first guitar at age 13 and began learning to play and began singing those early tunes. She recalls being shunned at school because of her musical tastes, often being referred to as a hillbilly, herself.

By the time she reached high school, she had found a friend who also enjoyed that hillbilly music. Armed with their guitars and dressed like twin cowgirls, the two appeared at various local events. They gained some respect from their fellow students when it became known that the girls were actually being paid to sing.

After graduation, she found a good amount of work playing her guitar and singing with various groups. When one of those groups needed a bass player, she jumped at the opportunity, even though she had never played a bass before. She bought one and on the following day played her first job as a bass player, without any lessons. She continued playing bass for nearly forty years.

In 1961 when her quarter horse contracted tetanus, requiring huge amounts of expensive antibiotics, even though she had a full-time office job, she knew she didn’t make enough money to cover such costly medicines and that she needed to increase her income immediately. A friend told her about a country band who needed a bass player for four nights a week. She went to see the band that very night and since there was no competition, she landed the job. Unfortunately, the horse died just a few days later, but in the year ahead she married Rick, the guitar player from that band she had joined.

In the early sixties, Myrna and Rick were both working steadily, playing country music around Connecticut, but they also formed a for-fun Bluegrass trio consisting of themselves and family friend, Bill Goodale. They did not make public appearances, except for a few hootenannies, and they never made a cent playing their Bluegrass music. Nevertheless, it was the kind of music they liked best and it was how they spent all of their spare time.

In 1964, finding herself newly widowed and now with a home to pay for, Myrna turned her full attention to country music again and an electric bass, since work in this genre was plentiful at the time and it paid well. She worked continuously with many different country music bands into the early 90’s.

In the late 90’s she met Marcel Huguenin, the Old WHUS Coyote, and his wife JoAnn. They became good friends and when the Huguenins announced that they were retiring to North Carolina, Myrna promised Marcel she would work to keep the bluegrass music going on WHUS. She continues to do that. In the picture, you'll see Myrna at the 2004 IBMA Awards with Marcel and JoAnn.

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