Country Boy's Sweet Sounds Will be Missed

"Country Boy's Sweet Sounds Will be Missed." Bismarck Tribune, n.d.

Part of growing up in rural North Dakota in the Silent '50s and rebellious '60s was the stability of noontime radio. Listeners looked forward to the day's farm prices and a Mike Dosch waltz and polka, squeezed out on his accordion or pump organ.

Back then, "Blueberry Hill" was rockin' on top of the charts, or the Beatles were generating screams on Ed Sullivan. But in North Dakota - regardless of age or musical affiliation - Mr. Dosch's music was part of life.

Mr. Dosch died Sunday at the age of 84.

Ironically, Mr. Dosch, like his boyhood friend Lawrence Welk, was from Strasburg. He started playing at age 4 on a 10-button, two-bass accordion from his parents. By 1955, he had a 41-key, 120-brass, custom-made instrument with a $2,500 price tag.

After paying his dance-band dues in town halls and on smaller radio stations across the midwest, Mr. Dosch was called to Chicago's WLS Radio and the National Barn Dance in 1932. This meant the big time and a $65-per-week paycheck. While at WLS, he performed with Amos and Andy, Wayne King's and Earl Heim's orchestras, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.

But he was a "country boy." He left the Windy City and moved on. In 1944, he began a 22-year relationship with central North Dakota folks on the airwaves of KFYR. By 1948 he was commuting to Bismarck from the family farm near Strasburg.

"I was hungry for the farm. Every year when spring comes round I itch to get on that tractor. With the birds singing and smell of fresh earth - there is nothing like it," said Mr. Dosch in a 1967 Tribune interview.

He was a fine performer and anyone who listened knew he loved his audience. He was a man of the earth.

Mr. Dosch is one of those people, who when they die, mark the changes and shaping of North Dakota's spirit. He was a bit of a legend and now he will become even more of one.

When Mr. Dosch walks through heaven's gate, it is a fair bet that St. Peter will hand him an accordion rather than a harp. And at noon, the angels will pass up a Bach chamber piece for a chorus of "The Pennsylvania Polka."

Reprinted with permission of The Bismarck Tribune.

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