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Nordland Row ’15 (Hey Mr. Banjo)

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

It was the perfect day – light wind and almost glass calm in spots. As we splashed around in our own backyard  paddling pool, a blanket of smoggy smoke reminded us of those to the North and East of us who were facing  the largest wildfires in Northwest history.


Four quads and an eight made the 12-mile round trip beyond Rat Island and into Mystery Bay, all the way to the Nordland Store on Marrowstone Island


Guy Harper (Husky crew Stroke class of ’54 and Patron Saint of the Rats), told us that a partiular song George Pocock used in teaching cadence was the song “Hey Mister Banjo”.

Stan Pocock tells the history of the song.

“I was resting on the bank of the Seneca River…Far up the creek I saw an eight coming my way. ..For a pickup crew they were going along quite well. I became aware of someone in the boat singing “Play Mister Banjo.” As the shell approached I saw that the singer was my dad [George Pocock]

The trick would be to find the right music. “Play Mr. Banjo” would get tiresome, but somewhere there is the right selection, and it could work miracles. ..

Years later, I suggested to Guy Harper,now rowing with the Ancient Mariners Rowing Club, that he try to rig something to pipe music into one of their boats. In response to my suggestion, Guy went through the trouble of setting up a sound system. We tried various tunes but nothing suitable was found

Stan Pocock, Way Enough p. 286-287

I thought I’d try George’s theory  out with snippets of footage I took to and from Nordland.


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