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NYE in Vernon: Bring on the bands and the bubbles
You’ll get reeled in as The Salmon Armenians hit the stage this New Year’s Eve at the Vernon Jazz Club.
This explosive nine-person band will have the audience grooving to classic rhythm and blues songs such as Midnight Hour (Wilson Pickett), as well as soul music from the ‘60s and ‘70s such as Soul Man (Sam and Dave) and Respect (Aretha Franklin).
“Our music is a collection of our favourite dance material in the blues, soul, jazz, and funk catalogues of the Motown era and beyond,” said Lody Kieken who plays Hammond organ, keyboard, and sings with the band.
Kieken formed The Salmon Armenians almost two decades ago. They have been entertaining crowds ever since while accumulating awards such as Best Blues Band from the Okanagan Music Awards.
Debbie Reid, one of the vocalists in the crew, has sung in various bands including The Phantoms, Summer Wagers, and Eden Fire.
Del Hunter, also on vocals, performs with her husband regularly in their duo Steppin’ Out.
“(They are) fabulous musicians to share the stage with and the opportunity to harmonize with Debbie Reid when the occasion arises is an extra special treat,” said Hunter about her fellow Salmon Armenians.
Doug Sonju plays both the alto and tenor saxophone and is no stranger to the Vernon Jazz Club. Audience members may recognize him from when he played with The Ugly Stepsisters and the Bob Rogers Quintet.
Murray Holmes, bass and vocals, was active in the Vancouver music scene playing with Duster, The Dowz, and The Imposters.
Recently, he has been playing with The Still Thirsty Band, and The Harvest Fellowship Worship Team.
Rich Thorne will be playing trombone, trumpet, and percussion. Thorne, who is a retired teacher, has been a member of the Salmon Armenians since 1996.
“R&B is alive and well and playing with this band and having the chance to write and arrange for musicians like these people is a real treat that I don’t take for granted,” he said.
Drummer Larry Keats is an original member of the group. As a child of the ‘60s he was inspired particularly by the beats of Ringo Starr.
Keats has played in big bands, jazz combos, rock groups, and musical theatre productions. He is also a musical therapist in the Shuswap.
Mike Scharf, tenor and baritone saxophone, grew up in Salmon Arm playing with jazz and fusions groups including Electric Lady Land and Pompous Frank.
Jordan Dick, guitar, is the most recent member of the band. Dick hails from Hamilton, Ont. and has experience playing in a variety of styles.
What are The Salmon Armenians looking forward to this New Year’s Eve?
“New Year’s Eve at the jazz club will be a great way to kick off the year 2014,” said Kieken. “We are looking forward to continuing on with our goals of being the band of choice for all of our fans who enjoy getting out on the dance floor from the first song of the night to the last chord of the evening.”
Vocalist Hannah Gomme will be opening up the evening at 8 p.m. with Reid Gomme on bass and Keira Rambo on piano.
Hannah is currently in her third year of vocal studies at the University of British Columbia. She is a member of the award winning choir, The University Singers, and sung behind Juno award winning group The Tenors at their 2013 Christmas concert tour.
Included in the price of the ticket is a glass of Bella Wine’s Sparkling Chardonnay Oliver East Side. This wine is said to be elegant, genuine, and captures the beauty of B.C. fruit in every bubble. Its accolades include best of varietal sparkling at the 19th Spring Okanagan Wine Festival and a silver at the Okanagan Fall Wine Festival.
The Salmon Armenians take the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st St.) Tuesday, Dec. 31. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $50 at the Bean Scene, Bean to Cup and at www.vernonjazz.ca. Tickets include appetizers throughout the evening, hat and party favours, as well as a glass of Bella Wine’s Sparkling Chardonnay Oliver East Side at the stroke of midnight.