Keeping the beat for 30 years

Profile of a Riverbank Banjo member

Author: Mark Roland
Posted: Thursday, April 01, 2010

Donald Traver didn’t start with the band until it was already all of 4 months old, but you’re not going to find a more original member than the Riverbank bass player. Once a dairy farmer, he gave that up to enter the world of selling high-end antiques and collectibles.


“I got into auctioneering because I liked the sound of the auctioneer’s chant,” says Traver, who had a background as a square dance caller. He practiced his auctioneering calls at home after listening to other professionals, and worked with Cal Smith of Pleasant Valley for 38 years. With this pedigree, Traver is a natural as master of ceremonies for the weekly gig at Umberto’s.


The man who lays down the rhythm loves the upbeat numbers, and is happy the band has added some fast-tempo country in the last few years to complement the Dixie selections. He enjoys playing to big crowds, and fondly recalls the day a member of the audience jumped onstage with a 5-string banjo during a packed gig at the West Point cadets’ cafeteria. “He was good,” says Traver, who used to play banjo. “The audience loved it.”


Favorite song: “T for Texas”  –MR

Categories: Profiles

Tags: Hudson Valley musicians

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