Old Settlers’ Day brings many different musicians and musical styles to the Waynesville City Park, but few make more efforts at authenticity than the River Berry Players.
The River Berry Players are Lulie Aistrope, 13, her brother Billy, 9, and Railan, 7, who have learned to play a wide variety of instruments, sing bluegrass, country and gospel music and perform in traditional attire from the 1800s. All three serve as youth guides helping their mother, Sue Aistrope, give tours of the historic Old Stagecoach Stop — the organization that sponsors Old Settlers’ Day and receives extra money from the organization.
Sue Aistrope and her husband Bill  moved from Waynesville to Richland in 2000 and now run a farm while home-schooling their children. Music is a talent the children learned from others, the parents said, but they’re happy to encourage their talents.
“They don’t let me sing in church, but my kids took an interest in music when they were young,” Bill Aistrope said.
Their mother agreed.
“They’re very talented and I’m very envious; they can play so many instruments,” Sue Aistrope said.
Instruments used by the River Berry Players include banjos, fiddles, guitars, base, tenor banjos, and the mandolin.
Lulie Aistrope said she and her younger siblings began playing instruments and singing early.
“We were taking lessons since we were about 5 and we all started playing together as a group about five years ago,” she said. “Bluegrass is something I’ve heard a lot. I’ve always liked it; I’m not really into rock and everything like that.”
Sue Aistrope said she’s glad her children developed a liking for the music they play.
“This is all-American traditional music,” she said.
“There’s a good message in it — it’s pro-society, pro-church music,” Bill Aistrope added.
This year was the first in which the River Berry Players performed for Old Settlers’ Day, but it’s not their first public performance. The group has performed previously for other Old Stagecoach Stop functions and for Paw Paw Days, as well as for area churches.