Entertainment

Local pianist back in the spotlight

Local musician Gary Hodi, who grew up in the area, plays the piano and sings jazz standards solo and with a group. - Lissa Alexander Photo
Local musician Gary Hodi, who grew up in the area, plays the piano and sings jazz standards solo and with a group.
— image credit: Lissa Alexander Photo

LISSA ALEXANDER

reporter@pqbnews.com

Gary Hodi’s talents as a pianist were recognized throughout his young playing career, but when life got busy raising a family, he gave it up.

"I kind of had this weird thing in my head for a while that it was one or the other," said the local musician.

Hodi has been back sharing his undeniable musical talent and love of music on the piano, as well as singing, for the past four years.

Hodi moved to Bowser from Burnaby when he was two-years-old. He started playing the piano when he was about eight-years-old and by nine his grandfather offered to finance some lessons.

Throughout the five years he took piano he competed regularly in festivals and took home many first prize awards as well as others in Nanaimo. He went on to receive a number of bursaries for top honours in the categories he entered.

When he was about 14-years-old he quit lessons and joined a jazz band at Kwalikum Secondary School. He credits his band teacher for getting him into jazz.

"Dave Stewart was one of those really awesome music teachers. He put in all these extra hours and got us all totally inspired."

The four-piece band, of which Hodi was the youngest, booked local gigs and also performed at festivals in Idaho, Ottawa and Surrey, among other places.

After graduating from KSS, Hodi started having kids and decided it was time to give up music. He got into the construction field for a couple of years before the economy slowed down and he decided to go back to school.

Hodi signed up for the music program at Malaspina College (now Vancouver Island University) for a year and a half before deciding he needed to go back to work. Piano stopped for about seven years as he worked to support a growing family.

One day a friend dragged him out to a jazz jam and his passion was reignited. About four years ago Hodi was living in Port Alberni when he got up the courage to try and get some work.

He approached a local restaurant that had a piano and asked if they would consider hiring him. The owners asked him to perform so he tried his hand at singing as he played the piano.

"I was totally bs-ing my way through this little interview and then when I got the job I was like whoa, I've got to figure out how to do this," he laughed.

A couple years ago in Qualicum Beach he began playing solo at the Shady Rest Pub, when musician and former Victoria band teacher Colin Campbell caught one of his performances.  Campbell was impressed and introduced himself and soon the two were jamming and performing around town together.

They brought a couple other musicians on-board and today the Codi Band consists of Hodi on keyboards and vocals, Campbell on vocals, guitar and horn, Doug Gretsinger on bass guitar and Tony Toly on drums and vocals.

Hodi, now 34, said he’s just excited to play music and if people enjoy it and he can make some money at it, he's happy.

"As I get older I'm finding that music is way more of a joy than it is a job, and probably, that’s just a part of growing up. And I just want to share that."

Hodi and Campbell play every Wednesday night at the Shady Rest Pub in Qualicum Beach from 6 to 9 p.m.  They perform a lot of jazz standards but also rock out the great classics from all genres.

The Codi Band is more of a dance band and has performed a number of private parties in the area. That group also plays a little bit of everything from jazz to blues, R&B, funk and classic rock.

 

For more on the Codi Band check out the group’s website at http://samco712.wix.com/thecodiband or email Hodi at gphodi@gmail.com for booking inquiries.

 

 

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