Visitors get sneak peek at museum

CNJ correspondent photo: Martha Hardwick Robin Isler of Clovis visits with Jochen Rehberg Jr., left, and his father, Jochen Rehberg Sr., at the Norman Petty Studio tour on Saturday. The Rehbergs came from Hannoves, Germany for the Clovis Music Festival. The museum is set to open next year.

By Gabriel Monte: CNJ staff writer

When Norman Petty lost a drummer for his trio, he approached Mike Mitchell in 1951 to play for him. That also meant playing alongside Lubbock musician Buddy Holly.

“That was the beginning of a great, great, event in my life,” Mitchell said. “Buddy Holly and I backed a lot of groups that traveled through here.”

The Norman Petty Trio went up on display as part of a preview Saturday of the Norman and Vi Petty Rock Museum at the Clovis and Curry County Chamber of Commerce.

Chamber Executive Director Ernie Kos said the museum will be open next year, but the preview was put together as part of this weekend’s Music Festival.

“Right now we’re in the middle of final development,” she said.

Part of the museum will be turned into a recording studio using equipment used by Petty in the 1960s, according to Clovis Industrial Development Corp. Executive Director Chase Gentry.

“If we wanted to record something we could,” he said. “But it’s more for show.”

The recording equipment was donated by the Fisher family, said Jay Fisher, whose father, Jerry, was a sound engineer for Petty.
“The equipment was used in 1958 and recorded the Wide World hits album,” he said.

The Fisher family also donated the mixing board used when Buddy Holly recorded “That’ll Be the Day.”

Kenneth Broad, co-executor of the Petty estate, said the studio also donated some equipment that has been in storage.

“There’ll be some more things (donated). It’ll just have to take some time,” he said. “Rather than having the equipment in storage, we’d like for everyone to enjoy them.”

Kos said the Chamber is still looking for more artifacts of the 1950s music scene.
Wayne Wilkinson and his wife Julie, traveled from Ruidoso to the Clovis Music Festival.

“We’ve been coming here for four years,” he said. “This is our pilgrimage, we wouldn’t miss this.”

The couple donated a shirt for the museum signed by Rolling Stones members during the band’s Voodoo Lounge tour in 1994.
Bobby Vee, who headlined the Music Festival’s Saturday show, said he is considering donating some posters and pictures for the museum.

“It’s nice to see when a community comes together and celebrates themselves,” he said. “I would like to be a part of this.”