The Squak Valley Hot Shots

The Squak Valley Hot Shots were an all-women’s jug band that grew out of the Eagles Club. Although membership in the group changed over time, the Squak Valley Hot Shots played together from 1957 to 1980. The Hot Shots were a much-anticipated part of the Labor Day festivities; they were also recording artists! The homegrown group produced at least one 45 record in their career, and they played gigs throughout the Puget Sound area. In 1977, they helped the Seattle Sounders celebrate Issaquah Day at the King Dome be performing during halftime. Another hallmark of their career was a 1974 performance at Governor Wes Uhlman’s innauguration ball, in Olympia. Ida Mae Bergsma commented on some of their swankier appointments in a 1976 newspaper article, saying, “It’s not easy walking into a classy place like the Olympic Hotel carrying a wash tub.”

Although their line-up was generally all-female, the band occasionally called upon men to fill in for missing players. One undated clipping from the band’s scrapbook notes that, during an appearance in the North Bend parade, Dave Morgan filled in for Gladys Morgan, and “with his wig, dress and pantaloons, made a fine looking girl.”

Just before the end of 2017, the Issaquah History Museums received a group of unique artifacts pertaining to the Squak Valley Hot Shots. The IHM already preserves a number of photographs and other documents relating the the Hot Shots. Now some of the original musical instruments used by the Hot Shots have joined the community’s collection. Among the instruments donated were a washtub and broom, a washboard and wooden spoon (which also doubled as an identifying sign), an amplified kazoo and maracas.

Want to dig deep into the topic? You can see photos of the Squak Valley Hot Shots, and peruse their scrapbook (kindly loaned to us to  copy by June Nissley Willard) in our online Digital Collections. Members of the Squak Valley Hot Shots included Chattie Adair, Ida Mae Bergsma,  Madge Brundage, Pat Cammon, Mae Daverso, Edna Diedrich, Virvae Reed Dieringer, Jean Gregg, Eleanor Kramer, Irene McDiarmid, Kaye McElfresh, Gladys Morgan, Eleanor Munden, Beryl Nelson, Frances Nissley, Eileen Pennington, Faye Straub, Edna Uber, Alice Varner, and May Williams.

(Below, left: The Squak Valley Hot Shots, circa 1960. Below, right: washboard and band sign today)

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