Last Chance Rhythm Mares
All-Female Novelty "Kitchen Band"
1955-1971

The Last Chance Rhythm Mares were a novelty "kitchen band" musical group that performed from 1955 to 1971. They are seen here playing at the Fairgrounds, probably 1955.

Members included Bea Smith, Virginia Sorrels, Margaret Garrett, Marge Thistlewaite, Helen Dunlop, Dorothy Foster, Liz Vollertsen, Mildred Riley, Frances Synness, Peg Spalding, Edna Hinman, Justine Breckenridge, Esther Stewart, Polly Ragen, Dora Barney.

Unfortunately, it appears that no recordings of the Mares exist. If you know of any, please contact this site.


Special Thanks to John Vollertsen for Sharing This Material!




First Newspaper Mention





At Practice

Mares practice session. Smith (center, sitting on floor); Middle (l to r) Garrett, Synness, unknown, Breckenridge, Spalding; Standing in back (l to r), unknown, Vollertsen, Sorrels. Practice Session at home of Frances Synness, 30 N. Benton Ave.. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.

 

 

A Mare's Tote Bag

Liz Vollertsen’s “tote bag.” Most if not all members had similar tote bags to carry their instruments. They can be seen in the Butte TV station photo below. Courtesy of the John Vollertsen Collection.


The Rhythm Mares performing on Butte, Montana television, circa 1958. (l to r) Bea Smith, Virginia Sorrels, Margaret Garrett (drums), Unknown, Marge Thistlewaite, Helen Dunlop, Dorothy Foster, Liz Vollertsen (also dances Charleston), Mildred Riley, Frances Synness, Peg Spalding, Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.


At the Helena Trail Riders Building, County Fairgrounds, 1955 or '57

Thistlewaite, Foster, Vollertsen, Hinman, Breckenridge, Sorrels. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.

 

 

Virginia Sorrels

 

 

Edna Hinman (with mask), Justine Breckenridge.


Spalding, Breckenridge (dancing Charleston), Foster, Vollertsen. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.

 

At the River Inn, Townsend, Montana, 1957

Synness, Spalding, Breckenridge, Vollertsen, Foster, Thistlewaite. At the River Inn, Townsend, Montana, 1957. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.

 

Smith, Vollertsen, Breckenridge, Thistlewaite, Spalding. At the River Inn, Townsend, Montana, 1957. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.

At Fort William Henry Harrison, 1950s

Hinman, Vollertsen, Riley, Breckenridge, Sorrels, Garrett, Smith. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.

 

 

(l to r) Frances Synness, Dorothy Foster, Edna Hinman, Liz Vollertsen, Mildred Riley. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.


Sorrels, Garrett, Smith, Spalding (Director). Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.


Hinman, Sorrels. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.


Virginia Sorrels. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.

 

Dorothy Foster, monkey,

 

Dorothy Foster, monkey, and toy 1953 Mattel Hurdy Gurdy. Similar one shown below.

 

Double Dancing. Names unknown. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection

 

Justine Breckenridge. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.

 

Bea Smith. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.


At the Consistory Shrine, Helena, Montana, 1950s

Jackie Helberg (dancing), Smith, Sorrels, Garrett, Henry. Courtesy of the Floy Nicholson Collection.


Smith (Indian dance), Garrett , Venore Henry, Hinman, Helen Dunlop, Spalding (Director, standing). Courtesy of the Floy Nicholson Collection.

In Costume

Cave Women -- (l to r) Liz Vollertsen, Virginia Sorrels, Bea Smith, Peg Spalding. Cave Women. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.


Three Musketeers -- Peg Spalding, Liz Vollertsen, Bea Smith. Courtesy of the Charleen Spalding Collection.

 

1989 Reunion

Frances Synness sitting at piano, Floy Synness Peterson (left end of piano), others unknown and are Helena High School students, Class of 1936 Reunion, September 10, 1989. Courtesy of the Floy Nicholson Collection.

2020 Montana Senior News Article
About the Rhythm Mares

Click on image to open the PDF file