Sad news from the Nitchie family of Annapolis, MD, and fans of Banjo NewsLetter, The Five String Banjo Magazine.
Spencer Nitchie, who has published Banjo NewsLetter with his brother, Donald, since their dad, Hub, passed away in 1992, is dying from liver and pancreatic cancer. A medical fund has been established to help the family keep him comfortable for his final days/weeks/months, and to prevent them from having to shutter the magazine to devote all their time to his care.
Hub started Banjo NewsLetter in 1971, with assistance from his wife, Nancy, who had urged her two sons to take over the business when Hub passed away. Donald handled the editorial duties, while Spencer served as business manager. Despite banjo music being a decidedly niche market, they have maintained the magazine ever since, delivering it by mail to devoted banjo players and students all over the world. Each issue typically includes a mix of interviews, news, and banjo tabs, plus reviews of new products of interest to the banjo community, both three finger and clawhammer.
Interestingly, all three Nitchie men were fans of different types of banjo playing. Hub was a tried-and-true grasser, while Donald prefers old time banjo, and Spencer was fascinated by Celtic music on tenor banjo.
For the time being, publication is still ongoing, though they are not taking any new or renewal subscriptions at this time. As you might imagine, they have not become conspicuously wealthy publishing the NewsLetter.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by friends of Spencer and his wife, Tara, to provide some professional care for Spencer, and to help with various uncovered medical expenses and loss of income. Tara is not working in order to care for her husband, and Donald and other family members are trying to spell her as they are able.
Those of us who have enjoyed and benefited from Banjo NewsLetter over the past fifty years are urged to consider making a donation online in gratitude for the work the Nitchies have done all that time. If enough of us do so, they can easily reach their $50,000 goal on GoFundMe.
Contributions using major credit cards or PayPal can be securely processed online.