The Other Half (New York)

 The Other Half at Chadwick's Recording Studio in Utica
The Other Half at Chadwick’s Recording Studio in Utica

The Other Half Bell Sound 45 It's Been a Good DayBrian Kirschenbaum submitted this article on the Other Half a band from Oneonta, New York. The band cut one folk-inspired 45 at Bell Sound, “It’s Been a Good Day” written by Glenn Schenenga and the excellent “I Won’t Be Back” by Glenn and Jeff Lyman.

Bassist Pete Lipsio wrote this history of the group and gathered the photos seen here.

The Other Half was organized in 1965 at Hartwick College, Oneonta New York; the members being Jeff Lyman (vocals), Steve Harrigan (lead guitar and keyboard), Peter Lipsio (bass), Glenn Schenenga (rhythm guitar) with Ed Welsh, Bob Kirsch and later Bill Pegler (drums). In the beginning there were but two individuals, (Harrigan and Lipsio), living in the same dormitory, who would get together to play their guitars. This duo soon found a local drummer in Ed Welsh with an existing band and a weekly venue at Molinari’s, a local bar and restaurant. While practicing together they attracted the talents of rhythm guitarist Glenn Schenenga and vocalist Jeff Lyman.

The Other Half Bell Sound 45 I Won't Be BackThe group thus formed soon replaced that which was performing at Molinari’s and began to attract large crowds of college students from both Hartwick College and the nearby Oneonta State University. As their litany and variety of songs increased and matured, Steve further improved the groups sound with the addition of a Farfisa organ; alternating between same and lead guitar as a particular song required. While Steve played the keyboard, Glenn would assume the role of lead guitar and Peter that of Rhythm while Jeff carried on with vocals and an occasional guitar performance. It soon became obvious that their music needed more depth and thus Peter began playing a Fender Jazz Bass through a Fender Dual Showman amp. Jeff added a new Bogen sound system and Binson Echorec reverb while both Steve and Glenn increased their respective sound with a succession of larger and more powerful amplifiers and additional instruments.

The Other Half at Chadwick's Recording in Utica
The Other Half at Chadwick’s Recording in Utica

Shortly thereafter, the band recorded their first two hits at Bell Sound (later Bell Records) in New York City. Sales of the record proved to be a local phenomenon and the group acquired an ever increasing and widespread popularity with a television performance on Hank Brown’s “Twist- A-Rama in Utica.A new drummer and fellow college student, Bob Kirsch, soon replaced Ed and the band began an ever increasing spiral of popularity. Their music eventually attracted the attention of Gene Kipper, a well known agent and promoter based in Utica, New York who signed them for various performances throughout New York State.

The band continued to perform together throughout the Southern Tier of the North East; opening for The Rascals during the spring of 1967 while playing at numerous locations such as the Evening Inn and the College Inn at Saratoga New York, where they were booked for that entire summer. The band’s drummer, Bob Kirsch, a pre-med student, transferred to Wake Forest College and a new drummer and fellow Hartwick student, Bill Pegler, was obtained to be the group’s percussionist.

The band continued to play together with numerous performances throughout the school year of 1968, at the end of which, most of the members graduated and went about their individual lives. For the most part, the members of the band are now retired professionals who long ago left their musical roots to pursue different careers. In August of 2008, following a forty year hiatus, the assiduous efforts of Glenn Schenenga, reunited the members of The Other Half in communication with one another. Though now living in different states, the members are planning a reunion for the near future.

While unaware of this at the time, current research has demonstrated that there were two other contemporaneous groups with the same name. One being in Chicago and the other a West Coast band, each of some regional renown.

The years spent together, while in The Other Half and at college, hold a particular significance for each of the members, who consider this time in their lives to be among the most memorable of events wherein were formed the bonds of personal commitment to their music and a lasting friendship.

Pete Lipsio

 Other Half vocalist Jeff Lyman at the Evening Inn
Other Half vocalist Jeff Lyman at the Evening Inn
 At the Evening Inn
At the Evening Inn

 Rhythm guitarist Glenn Schenenga
Rhythm guitarist Glenn Schenenga
 Pete Lipsio at the College Inn
Pete Lipsio at the College Inn

 At the Evening Inn
At the Evening Inn
 In the 60s this became the College Inn at Saratoga Lake
In the 60s this became the College Inn at Saratoga Lake

18 thoughts on “The Other Half (New York)”

  1. I bartended at the College Inn during the summer of 1967. These guys created a lot of fun. They were a great band. I am sure anyone who had the pleasure of spending time at saratoga lake that summer,the summer of love,has never forgotten it.

  2. Hey Kevin, thanks for the reply…..I’m sure you must have provided us with some liquid refreshment during our summer at the Inn – do you have any pics? We have been looking….

  3. Was Pete Lipsio from New Rochelle, NY? Friends I played with in HS and college, mentioned his name, and I’m wondering if its the same guy. What a coincidence that would be.

    1. Hi Ken…
      Yes I attended New Rochelle High circa 1960-1964 and played guitar with The James Boys comprised of yours truly, Ben Beckly, Rob Strumer, and Bob Rothstein ( now famous as Rob Stoner, basist for Bob Dylan et. al.) I later played with the remaining members of the somewhat regionaly famous Stratotones that was originally formed about my TAU PI fraternity brother and now classical musician, Brad Bivens.
      Best to you and yours,
      Peter

  4. Actually there were two bands from the Chicago area with the same name. Kirby Bivans’ group from Skokie, and another Other Half from the NW side of Chicago. You can check out the later at the website provided.

  5. Ran away with a girlfriend when we were in our early teens to watch them in Saratoga. Part of my wild and crazy past ;-)))

    1. Dear CAT…
      Yes you are well remembered as an absolutely stunningly beautiful young lady….and for how upset your mom was to learn of your escape to the College Inn. How did your modeling career with (AVON ?) progress. I had your professional photo for years until it was lost in a later move to California and graduate school.

  6. I remember them well at Molinari in Oneonta. Audrey and I were good friends with Jeff and regulars. Along with David Roberts, we spent many nights listening and dancing to “I won’t be back” a reunion would be more than nice!

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