Pre-Nickel Revolution Inchanters Win Talent Show 1966

Posted: January 18, 2012 in 1966

We’ve discussed in earlier posts how our parents were not only supportive of the band, but also involved in looking for opportunities to further promote the group. Keith Follese (original member and keyboard/guitar player) brought a suggestion to The Inchanters. Keith’s mom had obtained information that applications were being taken for tryouts to be considered for the 1966 Judge Wright Awards. The Inchanters had a little over one year playing at this point and they decided to go for it.

The competition invited only youth in a typical 50s/60s variety show format. The Inchanters entered the competition and advanced to the finals.

All of the finalists competed before a live audience in a formal setting. There were a lot of dance groups and individual singers. The Inchanters were the only rock band to make it to the finals.

The 20th Annual Judge Wright Variety Show was sponsored by the Minneapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce and supported by many prominent Minnesota businesses (you can see the listing on the program photo included here). It was a two-evening event, first at Henry High School on Friday, February 18, and then Southview Jr. High School on Saturday, February 19, 1966. Tickets were sold and a large audience was on hand both evenings.

The event was named after Judge Fred Wright who had served as a juvenile judge in the Hennepin County Court System. A memorial fund was set up in Judge Wright’s name and administered by the Minneapolis Junior Chamber of Commerce.  In the program it states, “The show is made possible only through the unselfish efforts of the young men and women who constitute the cast. These young people, by generously contributing their time to talents to this cause, perpetuate the intent of the Judge Wright Fund—that youth help youth help themselves.”

Although the Inchanters had played a variety of songs during the competition leading up to the finals, only one song could be selected for the finals. The band decided to play the song that had originally launched the group, so the Inchanters played, “The Grind,” by Gregory Dee and The Avanti’s. One of the Twin Cities leading rock bands from the 60s. And they WON the competition.

It was a promotional asset for The Inchanters to use the tagline, “winners of the 1966 Judge Wright Talent Show.” It helped secure new bookings for the band. We put the tag line on our promotional materials and you can see an example of how it helped us in the ad for Block’s LTD. That ad ran in Robbinsdale Senior High’s Newspaper and all four members of the Inchanters attended Robbinsdale at the time.

The Inchanters would continue to book themselves until the fall of 1966 when Dick Shapiro of Central Booking Alliance (CBA) signed the group to exclusive representation.

Members at this time included: Keith Follese (keyboard/guitar), Louie Lenz (guitar), Scott Jeffy (bass) and Jerry Lenz (drums).

Listen to The Grind by Gregory Dee and The Avanti’s HERE

We welcome your comments and feedback on this blog. You can post here and share this with your friends via Facebook and Twitter (see easy links). If you want to email us any questions or comments:

Visit our YouTube Channel to listen to our recordings


See these great websites for further insights to Twin Cities bands from the 50s, 60s, 70s:

If you truly enjoy reading about local and regional rock bands from the 60s, you need to check out this national website: 


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