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Hodge: Full line-up for Night of the Arts
OK, music fans and community supporters, mark Nov. 16 on your calendars as “busy attending the ninth annual Night of the Arts at the Kelowna Community Theatre.”
The night of music and fellowship is guaranteed to be a superb display of Okanagan talent, with all the proceeds going to programs that assist members of our community in need. Headlining this year’s concert will be the highly entertaining roots-country band Dirt Road Opera, featuring the amazing vocals of Barry Mathers and Rachel Matkin.
As one might anticipate, the five-piece band boasts jaw-dropping four-part harmonies by Mathers, Matkin, lead guitarist Gary Smyth, and smoking drummer Jay Swetlishoff .
Together less than three months, Dirt Road Opera already have music fans around the Okanagan raving about their talents and it’s no surprise, the band is comprised of three members of the former highly acclaimed country-roots band The Cruzeros.
Mathers, Smythe and Swetlishoff were part of The Cruzeros when the band garnered multiple Juno nominations and hauled in plenty of music awards from both the Canadian Country Music Association and the B.C. Music Association.
Matkin was also a frequent guest singer with the band and appeared on numerous songs on the band’s three attention-grabbing albums.
I am thrilled the band agreed to headline our concert this year. Mathers is without question one of Canada’s finest singer/songwriters and I have been a huge fan and supporter of Rachel Matkin since she was just 16.
“Dirt Road is just superb. Kelowna is in for a real treat,” says concert co-organizer and stage manager Curtis Tulman.
Curtis should know. He is a former original Cruzeros and played with Mathers for more than 25 years. Tulman was named the CCMA’s Special Instrumentalist three times for his outstanding harmonica and saxophone work with the band.
Ironically, Tulman will also be performing at the Night of the Arts with his own band, Cowboy Bob, which headlined last year’s sold out concert and wowed the audience.
Music fans are also in for another musical treat via the wonderful songs and music of Keith “Papa” Thom.
Thom is well-known across Canada for his folk style song writing and rich vocals. His appearance at this year’s fundraiser marks his first time at the event. But he is no stranger to Okanagan Valley music fans. Last year he opened a concert in Winfield for Canadian music legend Valdy, which I was honoured enough to MC. In addition he plays a variety of venues in the Valley.
Thom is quite simply another amazing singer/songwriter along the folk genre and a marvellous and kind community minded man. Audiences will be spellbound by his tunes.
The brilliant guitar work of Jimmy LeGuilloux and the superb rock tunes by the Jimmy LeGuilloux Band will be rocking the Community Theatre also that evening. A valley rock icon Jim’s sets are always an excellent and entertaining blend of originals and classic rock covers.
Few, if any, rock musicians are better known or loved than LeGuilloux. In addition to his vocal and musical skills, he has also donated his stage management skills to the evening along with Tulman and sound engineer extrodinaire John Adams.
It keeps getting better.
Joining Thom, Dirt Road Opera, Cowboy Bob and the Jimmy LeGuilloux Band will be the talented bluegrass band The Trips, led by the gifted Graham Ord.
Popular vocal diva Deb Stone will also be making a guest appearancewith another to be confirmed next week. .
As with the past two years, all proceeds from the show will go to Metro Central, an excellent facility downtown, run by the faith-based Metro Communities. Metro is a terrific organization that assists those at riskhere. They provide a safe and inviting place for those in need to receive counselling, and a cup of coffee.