2016 was another good year for the band. Unlike most years, the band didn’t get out of Ontario until the end of the year when they traveled north to one of their favourite spots in Northern Michigan for a New Year’s Eve show. But there were plenty of local and day-trip shows all over Ontario in theatres, festivals, concerts and private events. The highlight of the year had to be Canada Day when the band took their Chicago Transit show to Niagara Falls in the early afternoon, then performed that, plus their POWERHOUSE show in Peterborough, the same evening.There were two major changes in band personnel this year, both coming during the summer months. George Behr (pictured, above right) stepped in on trombone to replace the departing Dan Elliot. George has filled in with the band in the past and his addition brought in a wealth of jazz and big band experience to the horn section. The second change was on keyboard. Following a two-year break to complete and record his own CD, Tony Aquino (pictured, to the left) returned to the band full-time. We were well aware of Tony’s abilities, both as a vocalist and on the piano. Both members made seamless transitions back into the band.
The first stop this year was at the beautiful Lighthouse Festival Theatre in Port Dover, Ontario. The band took their POWERHOUSE and Chicago Transit shows on a brutal cold mid-winter evening to a packed theatre and a thoroughly enjoyable evening.
As is usually the case, pictures are difficult to take during theatre performances, but here are a few from the theatre balcony.To the left, back row (left to right) is Don on keyboard, John on drums, Pete playing the bass and Suzanne O on keyboard. In the front row (left to right) we have Dan on trombone, Nick on saxophone, Carlo on trumpet, Paula on vocals and Steve on guitar.
It was a great way to start the year. The audience was very receptive and the house sound system and crew were excellent.
The next stop was a late spring hometown date at the McIntyre Performing Arts Centre in Mohawk College. The band took all three of their shows -- the POWERHOUSE Show, the Chicago Transit tribute act and Doug Varty’s tribute to Rod Stewart to this venue. Although we were unable to take pictures of this show, by clicking on the photo to the right, we have a video of home town guitar wizard, Jerry Doucette, and his appearance with the band during the POWERHOUSE Show. Jerry, who now lives in British Columbia, would return to Hamilton in the fall and perform a number of his own concerts with the POWERHOUSE rhythm section as his band.
The next stop was a date at the Club Italia in Niagara Falls with all three of the band’s shows. After opening with the POWERHOUSE show and Paula Tessaro’s (pictured above) ‘Tribute to the Divas’, it was followed up with the very-polished Chicago Transit tribute. Finally, we called Doug Varty (pictured below) to the stage to perform his excellent Rod Stewart show.
It was a hot late spring evening and Club Italia was packed. We left Niagara Falls that night after a very enjoyable night of music.
Next up for the band was a return to the ‘Beginning of Summer’ bash on Hamilton Mountain. This was a huge party that seemed to include the entire east mountain. This year’s ‘theme’ was the early Roman Era -- complete with a town crier, dancing girls and a full Roman ‘utensils optional’ feast. When we arrived in the late afternoon, the party was already well-underway. After we set up, we did a quick ‘line check’ then sat down to the feast. Then it was time for our POWERHOUSE show.
Above left: Don, on acoustic guitar, joining Carlo with the band’s new opening to ‘Hotel California’Above right: Steve letting it loose in Gary Moore’s ‘Still Got the Blues for You’
The band played and partied well into the ‘longer-than-expected’ evening.
When we headed out on Canada Day, it looked like it was going to be a full ‘rain-out’ for the day. But by the time we arrived in Niagara Falls shortly before noon, the skies had cleared, the parade was well underway and it was time to set up our gear for our Chicago Transit show in front of City Hall.
The crowd was good for early afternoon and grew considerably as we performed our show. As soon as we were done, it was a quick tear down, load up the vehicles and get on the road for our evening shows in Peterborough.
It’s always a pleasure playing in Del Crary Park in Peterborough and this year’s Canada Day celebration was no exception. We arrived at the park around the supper hour, which gave us just enough time to set up the gear, do our soundchecks and have a bit of time to relax before our evening shows.
As always, the crowd in Del Crary Park that evening was excellent.
Above row (left to right): Nick, Steve, Pete, Paula and Dan
To the left (left to right): The back row -- Don John, Pete and VinceAbove: Carlo, Nick and John behind the kit
Although it got quite cool later in the evening, it did nothing to thin the rather large crowd. The band played well into the Peterborough late evening and once again, it was another very enjoyable trip to Del Crary Park and an excellent end to the band’s Canada Day celebrations.
Next stop for the band was a very crowded Port Dover beach front on a hot mid-July evening. Joining us for this show was ex-band alumnus, Mark LaForme (picture below right, far right). It’s always a pleasure to play with Mark. And from all appearances, the crowd really enjoyed our show. The Fish Fest was just reappearing after many years away and we were very happy to be part of their first year back.
It was a hot night in Port Dover and the band was rockin’.
By the time we got into August, the band was at the Toronto waterfront at the Aquatic Park Sailing Club for their mid-summer bash. It was a beautiful summer evening for a party, a feast and tunes from our POWERHOUSE show. Of note at this show is that it was the first show for our new trombonist, George Behr. And he nailed it. And also, Tony Aquino returned to the band full-time after a two-year absence. Tony always nails it.
Yes ... we managed to fit our nine-piece band under the awning and had a great time putting on our show. It was our second year playing at the APSC and we hope to return again next year.
Once we got past Labour Day weekend, the band took their Chicago Transit and POWERHOUSE shows to the beautiful Black Forest Inn in Connestoga. A few weeks later, we headed to the Brantford Jazz Festival. Unfortunately, this year, Saturday was a complete rain out at the Festival. We do hope to return next year.
The POWERHOUSE band was honoured to participate in the Benefit for Hamilton’s music tradition, Jack Pedlar. The horn section played on one of Jack’s CD’s and our band members have shared the stage with Jack on many occasions over our combined music histories.
Amy DiNino from ‘Cootes Paradise’
Rick McLean from ‘Painted Black’
Above (left to right): Paul Wheeler, Sue Leonard and Lori Yates
Darcy Hepner and Hailee Rose
‘The Shakers’ (from left to right): Tim Gibbons, Dave (Rave) Desroches, Claude Desroches, Rick Andrew
POWERHOUSE took the stage late in the evening and did their short set. It was a fantastic night of music and a great chance to show Jack how much he meant to the Hamilton music community.The band would close the year out with a redate at Port Dover’s Lighthouse Festival Theatre – to, once again, a packed and thoroughly appreciative house – and then a trip north on New Year’s Eve to one of the band’s favourite stateside destinations -- The Bay Mills Casino in Brimley, Michigan.
We were unable to take pictures at this show, but two of our good friends, Suzanne O and Mike Cameron graciously shared their camera talents with us. All photos in this section are by Suzanne O except where copyright-marked by Mike.