The DeZurik Sisters, Yodelers on the National Barn Dance

Publicity photo of Mary Jane and Caroline DeZurik, the yodeling sisters on National Barn Dance
Mary Jane and Caroline DeZurik

Just a little more than three years ago a couple of blond, blue-eyed sisters up in Royalton, Minnesota, decided they'd learn to sing. neither of them had ever sung a note and they didn't know the first thing about playing any musical instrument -- but that didn't stop them. They got to work on the song, "Will the Angels Play Their Harps for Me?" and discovered to their surprise that their voices sounded pretty good.

After they had practiced a few more songs, they decided to try their hand at playing a guitar. The reason they chose a guitar rather than any other musical instrument was that their brother was the proud possessor of a brand-new guitar. He didn't especially favor the idea of having his sisters experimenting with it, but they managed to do quite a little practicing while he was out of the house. It wasn't any time at all until their playing was the talk of the town.

A lot of girls might have stopped there and rested on their laurels -- but not Caroline and Mary Jane DeZurik. They decided to learn to yodel. The only question was how to go about learning an art that's so little known. Imitating the best yodelers seemed the best solution. The first yodel song was the "Alpine Milk Man." The had heard it many times on the WLS National Barn Dance and they tried to make their yodels sound as much as possible like the radio variety.

The next step in their musical career was their invention of the "double-yodel" with which their radio listeners have since become familiar. Last fall they entered an amateur contest in Little Falls, Minnesota, and won it. Then they went on to another contest in St. Cloud, Minnesota. They won that one, too, and it just happened that a bunch of the WLS folks who were making a personal appearance in Minnesota heard them sing and invited them to guest appear on their program. About a month later they joined the WLS staff, after having broadcast a few times from the station KSTP in St. Paul.

Last month the DeZurik sisters appeared in St. Cloud, which is only about 25 miles from their home town, Royalton. Pat Buttram had just introduced them to the theatre audience and they were standing before the mike, ready to sing, when a band started playing. More than half of Royalton's population of 500 -- complete with the town band -- had driven in to St. Cloud to hear the girls sing and to give them a rousing welcome. In the audience was the entire DeZurik family, Mr. and Mrs. DeZurik and Ethel, Eva, Lorraine, Delphine and Jerome.

Caroline, who is 18, and Mary Jane, 20, live in Chicago with their cousins. They girls are exceedingly modest about their accomplishments and their greatest ambition is to compose music. Neither of the sisters is married. Mary Jane is exactly five feet tall and Caroline is five feet one. Their favorite pastime is hunting or fishing.

From Stand By, September 11, 1937

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