Neil LeVang, Banjo And Guitar (1959-1982)
LeVang Was A North Dakota Native Who Joined In 1959
Hired To Replace Buddy Merrill But Pair Ended Up Performing Together
Neil LeVang was a popular and long-time guitar and banjo player on the Lawrence Welk show. LeVang was born in Adams, North Dakota in 1932 and moved to Riverside, CA in 1945. After graduating high school, LeVang enlisted in the US Coast Guard and began playing in various bands and a local children's TV show with Sherriff Jim "Texas" Lewis. In the 1950's, LeVang returned to Hollywood and played regularly for Jim Wakely's radio show on CBS. In 1959, LeVang joined the Lawrence Welk Show on a temporary basis to replace Buddy Merrill while he left to serve in the U.S. Army. Mr. Welk was so impressed with LeVang, however, that he hired him full-time when Merrill returned in 1961. LeVang remained with the Show up until 1982.
LeVang retired in Santa Clarita, CA where he continued to play his Fender Stratocaster. LeVang passed away on January 26, 2015.