The Sherry Sisters and Dean Hudson Band

The Sherry Sisters and the Dean Hudson Big Band

The Sherry Sisters were a singing trio of real sisters out of South Dakota. Janie, Paula and Carolyn Manthey were their names, and they sang on the big band circuit for a number of years in the 1940’s. Previous to singing with the big bands and headlining alongside such greats as Frank Sinatra, Perry Como, and many others, the Manthey girls sang with their family orchestra in South Dakota all around Sioux Falls and the surrounding countryside. This long-lived group consisted of father Anthony, mother Mary, eldest sister Genevieve, and brother Bob. They played at many, many dances in the 1930’s. Each family member also played various instruments, with mother Mary on piano, father Anthony on numerous instruments, Paula on clarinet and sax, and Janie on trumpet. Bob, like his father, also played many instruments including drums, and of course they 'all sang!

Sadly, father Anthony passed away in a tractor accident on the family farm, and the remaining family members were forced to move into town, before the three middle girls eventually went ‘on the road’ with the big bands...

But while the Sherry Sisters were on the road, they met their future spouses in the Dean Hudson organization! Janie, who just turned 98 in October of this year, 2021, paired up with Bob Archer from North Carolina who was the transportation guy for Dean Hudson. Paula met her future spouse, sax player Laddie Popek of Illinois, while Carolyn met trombonist Phil Bowers of Wisconsin. Janie had 2 children, Paula had 5, and Carolyn had 8! Paula passed away a few years ago, but Janie at 98 is still with us and living at home, as is Carolyn at age 95.

And Bob, the eldest Manthey brother? He just turned 99, and plays in his band on multiple instruments regularly, just like his dad!

Phil Bowers, trombonist par excellence, was a lifelong musician and singer. He also, as evidenced in the photo on the left, was a master comedian and humorist, interspersing quips between songs and free-standing as well. Probably the only musician ever known for playing by foot, he was quite a character, in the best sense of the word!

He was also a wonderful father of seven boys, “each of which has a sister”. Meaning we only had one girl in the family, sister Polly...

He joined Dean Hudson’s band to follow my mother, Carolyn. He obviously got his with!

The Portrait Audio book and real book versions

The Manthey Meadowlarks

Frank Sinatra, Rosemary Clooney, and the Sherry Sisters- Janie, Paula, and Carolyn

Interestingly, mom and I were going through a photo album today too. She explained that when the sisters Janie, Paula and herself) graduated from the CAA they lived together in Jacksonville Fl and worked at the airport by day and started singing at night. This is when they became "The Three Feathers".

They soon procured their first break when they were asked to be on a local radio station 3 times a week. All live broadcasts. Soon thereafter their agent got them performing at The Peacock Club. A very well known and nice club in Jacksonville, FL,

The leader of the band was Harry Condullo. He looked like Clark Gable and was from New York. He eventually played violin with Lawrence Welk. Interesting tidbit: His brother Joe was also a band leader and discovered the McGuire Sisters.

The sang at the Peacock Club for about 6 months. They worked at the airport during the day too. During that time they were approached by an agent to sign a 5 year contract. They declined as that was a big commitment. Their P/R guy, knowing the girls wanted to travel, helped them sign up with Dean Hudson. At that time this was comparable to Tommy Dorsey's band . Dean and Tommy were friends.

Somewhere during the time they sang in Jacksonville they changed their stage name to "The Sherry Sisters". Mom came up with the name!


Roger Bowers, son