Little Linda's Polka Band

On one occasion Linda's band played three times in one day at places 300 miles apart, from a morning show in Traer, Iowa, to a noon lawn party in Owatonna, to an evening show at the Waseca County Fair.  That's when Karlene made the very surprising comment, " You know, dad, this is really fun.  I feel like a celebrity when we travel all over like this."

To appreciate Karlene's remark, one needs to know that in the first weeks of the Little Linda Band, Karlene was not real keen about the idea.  But, when Linda came home with a check for $150 and showed it to Karlene, Karlene caught the Little Linda fever.

In July of 1982 after the New Ulm Heritage Fest, the Raichle Family Band retired.

But, in May of 1983, eight year old Linda climbed on my lap and asked, "Dad, can I have a band like my brothers and sisters?"

"Sure," I replied. " What instrument do you want to play?"

"I want to be a drummer, like Brian," she implored.

At first, I was skeptical.  But, at the end of two weeks, she hadn't missed a day of practicing her drums.  I began to suspect that Linda was going to get her dream.  Little did I know how far her dream would go.

Our first gig was a church supper in Nerstrand.  Those happy Scandinavians made Little Linda feel like she had the best band in the land, my honey love.  An exchange student from Argentina, Tito Farelli, came up afterwards and kept telling Linda over and over how much he enjoyed her music.

Her next big engagement was the Barney Bullhead fund raiser in Waterville.  And, once again, the little drummer girl wowed them.  When she packed to go home, it looked like an African Safari from the band stand to our car as the people volunteered to carry Little Linda's equipment.  I now knew I had a prodigy on my hands.  This band would be different.

In Little Linda's Band, I played Cordovox.   Karlene mastered the bass guitar and vocals.   Helen took over the small bass accordion, keyboard and vocals.   Kevin played rhythm guitar and did acrobatics.  And, Little Linda played, not one drum, but six drums,  two crash cymbals, a high hat and a partridge in a pear tree.  She was a show piece all by herself.  Many times, a young boy would come out of the audience and say, "Little girl, you're awesome!"

In Traer, Iowa, a man sitting in a tavern, turned to his wife and asked the time.  She told him it was eight o'clock.  The man jumped to his feet and exclaimed, "Oh, my Gosh, I'm gonna miss that little drummer girl !"  Then, he ran out the door.

When we came out of our motel Sunday morning and walked down to the Fest grounds, someone had spray painted on a tin shed, "Little Linda rules."

Like her brothers and sisters, she played for weddings, fairs, church festivals, anniversaries, barn dances, town celebrations, campgrounds, wrestling tournaments, and parades, to name a few.

In 1990, at the Steele County Fair, Little Linda's Band played for the last time.  Her big sister, Karlene, had become a nanny in New York.  (You can cry now.)

To hear Little Linda's radio show click  HERE

To see Little Linda on TV click  HERE

To see Little Linda's Band at a Wedding Dance click  HERE

To hear Karlene's radio show click  HERE

To hear Happy Helen's radio show  click HERE

To visit the nationally acclaimed Steele County Fair click   HERE

To hear the 3 year old child singing sensation sing at the Steele County Fair click HERE