Mitchell Boss was born and grew up in Grand Rapids Michigan. He went into the Navy right out of High school and served in the Naval Air Force as an electronics technician during the Korean conflict. Getting out of the service in 1954, he married Annette in 1955; they had gone to high school together.
He graduated from the Kendall School of Design, now the Design Department of Farris University, and they moved South in 1958. Mitch designed furniture for a lot of companies in the US until all the furniture business went over seas, and he end-ed up designing for companies importing out of Honduras, the Philippines, China, Indonesia and Vietnam. With Annette running the office they designed furniture for 50 years.
His dad showed him how to play rhythm bones only on spoons held like bones. Over the years Mitch has collect-ed over forty sets of rhythm bones made from one thing or another. He has one set made of teak brought back from India and even a set from auto window glass (nice tingling). Lately if he gets a chance to play, he is using one pair of Steve Browns’ rhythm bones made of shin bone and one pair of plastic rhythm bones that he got from Joe Birl. He likes rhythm bones that have a distinct sound in each hand. Mitch says, “Beginners need all the help they can get, and I have been a beginner for seventy-four years now. No matter how long you play, every time you pick up your rhythm bones and hear that first note, you start all over again.”
Letter to the Editor – 2003. Ev, Annette and I want to thank you for driving all the way up here to see us. We enjoyed being with you and hope to get together again soon.My dad taught to play the spoons when I was 7. Latter after I saw a man playing the bones in a minstrel show he made me a par of wooden bones. Dad played one handed and that’s how I started , but it wasn’t long before I decided the only right way was with both hands. For years I amused myself playing along with whatever was on the radio and with records and cassettes. We were living way out in Stokes County 18 or so years ago and one night I heard Jerry,Ellis,Lawrence and Junior playing old time music across the pound at Al’s house. I wanted to play with them but I was embarrassed to ask if I could click along . Well Annette went right over there and said “can my husband come play with you”,(just like she was my mother and I was 3 years old). After that first night I feel in love with “old tyme” and now when I’m playing I feel like I am 3 years old. Ev, I would like to put access to the rhythm bones web sight on my sight if that’s OK with you. It’s 1130 P.M., at first night I feel in love with “old tyme” and now when I’m playing I feel like I am 3 years old. Ev, I would like to put access to the rhythm bones web sight on my sight if that’s OK with you. It’s 1130 P.M., Good night—-Mitch (This email was sent to Ev Cowett who forwarded it to use as a Letter to the Editor. Mitch is a new RBS member.)
Letter to the Editor – 2011. I’ve been in contact with John Beck and, through him, his friend Wiley Sykes. John is the percussion faculty head for the UNC School of the Arts School of Music and Wiley is the percussionist for the NC Greensboro Symphony. John and I hope Wiley should be sending in applications I gave them to join the RBS. John and I are planning some ways to present bones as an important percussion instrument. Nothing is going to happen for a few months ; I will let you know when things get farther along. Mitch Boss [View the Philidor video below.]