His Famous Orchestra


The Viper and His Famous Orchestra, classic, features four players, including the eponymous ukulelist (lower right in the picture above). From left to right: suitcase duties are covered by the woefully overtalented Edward Burch. The trombone is manhandled by Rob Henn. And Riley Broach plays the double bass. For their Summer 2009 shows, the Orchestra will be supplemented by Kenneth Rainey (lap steel, mandolin, e-bow, jaw harp, and nose flute) and Victor Cortez (toy piano, metal chair)

  • Henn currently lives in Madison, Wisconsin where, rather than mourning the orchestra, he organizes. There has been talk of him sitting in with one of the house polka bands at the Essen Haus (though they may be surprised to hear that).
  • Broach now serves as Orchestra Director at Lake Zurich Middle School North in the wilds of Chicago’s suburbs, and plays ukulele and writes sagas for the Atomic Strings.
  • Burch got himself to Austin where he waits by the mailbox for the invitation to Willie Nelson’s 4th of July party.


A list of other musicians and singers who were at one time members of the Orchestra, recorded with us, or regularly sat in reads like a who’s who of the local scene Champaign-Urbana in the late 1990s: Kenneth Rainey (lap steel, mandolin, e-bow, jaw harp, and nose flute); Colin McKoy (violin, saw); Rectangle’s Victor Cortez (toy piano, metal chair) and Matt Mitchell (ukulele); Williwaw’s Bill Whitmer (processed ukulele, pocket trumpet); Wilco’s Jay Bennett (Hammond organ); Beezus’s Loretta Gaffney (flute, guitar), Elizabeth Majerus (ukulele, guitar), and Joy Gadrinab (drums); Corndolly’s Rachel Switsky (electric bass); Nastybake’s Kevin Carollo (suitcase) and Michael Berube (suitcase); the Tractor Kings’ Rebecca Rury (drum kit); the Small Mediums at Large’s Dave Wesley (double bass); the Prairie Dogs’ Jordan Kaye (guitar); everyman Don Gerard (guitar); and vocalists Allen Stickels, Amy Young, Mark Dahlquist, Mila Yasko, and Julie Davis.

2 thoughts on “His Famous Orchestra”

  1. I was just looking at your website and I did not know that guitars were in orchestras. This is a very interesting fact to me. I would love to hear you play sometime!

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the kind of music your great-great-great-grandparents warned your great-great-grandparents about