By Penelope Johnson
Special to the Chronicle
“In the summertime, when the weather is fine,” Oliver has music on their mind. And the Music in the Park concert series, courtesy of the Oliver Community Arts Council, has it all lined up.
Live music fans gather every Thursday evening at the Oliver Community Stage (bandshell). Concerts kick off at 6:30 p.m. and continue until 8:00 p.m. Admission is by donation. The evening market on site invites visitors to stroll by for bakery goods, fresh fruits and veggies, crafts, and other retail items. A food vendor offers picnic suppers each evening.
Award-winning classic rock band Timbre Wolves lifts the roof off summer on Thursday, July 5. Jill Fai’s powerhouse vocals have been compared to Heart’s Ann Wilson or Amanda Marshall. Appearing as a duo at Music in the Park a couple of years ago, they are back with a full rock band sound. Audiences can expect hits from the 60s to 90s, including the ladies of rock, Pat Benatar and Blondie, to the Beatles and the Doors.
The sound gets bigger the following Thursday, July 12 when the South Okanagan Big Band performs swing and jazz hits from the 30s to 60s and familiar pop tunes guaranteed to please.
Crowd favourites Rob ‘n’ Walker return for a second year in a row on Thursday, July 19. Previously appearing as The Rob Robertson Band, the trio has a new name but the same great country rock and Americana sound. Lead singer Rob, with street cred as a Nashville musician, has been on a killer song-writing streak of late, so audiences can expect a few originals tossed in. Rob ‘n’ Walker play as the sponsored Feed the Valley concert. Besides a donation for the music, audiences are invited to bring an item for the Oliver Food Bank. An initiative by Music in the Park sponsor Valley First, the goal is to encourage the public to remember and support the food bank year-round.
Acoustic duo, That Girl and Earl plays 50s pop, rock, and country on Thursday, July 26. Diane Strom (“that girl”) and Earl Staten have been performing together for 12 years through the Kootenays, and are now driving their talent westward.
Sabrina Weeks brings her sultry blues voice to town on Thursday, August 2, backed by blues guitarist Mike Hilliard. This duo is recognized nationally, having won the Maple Blues Award in 2011, and has been racking up the accolades while gigging from Toronto to L.A. Sabrina’s singing style has been described as “sassy,” “more energy than the battery bunny” and “sizzling, scintillating, swinging, soulful.” Hilliard’s blues guitar has earned him comparisons to Colin James.
Audiences will want to stand up and salute the music of the Naden Band (Royal Canadian Navy) on Thursday, August 9. One of the most popular – and repeat – performers at Music in the Park, this brass and wind ensemble will blow out a diverse repertoire from classic marches to the pops.
After too many years away, the Steve Jones Band rocks the Oliver park again on Thursday, August 16. Hailing from just up the road at Vaseux Lake, Steve fronts the band with a big confident voice, lead guitar, and crowd-pleasing charm. Their secret ingredient? Ryan Schick’s talented fingers on piano, channelling The Door’s Ray Manzarek.
Multi-talented sisters Diane Ball and Joanne Fauteux entertain as Sister Soul on Thursday, August 23 with toe-tapping dance and pop favourites. Diane Ball, often described as “Osoyoos’ wedding singer and one-woman band” knows her way around a song, and an audience. She will double the musical fun with sister Joanne adding her vocals and guitar.
All concerts are rain-or-shine on Thursdays from 6:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Oliver Community Stage bandshell, 6359 Park Drive. Rain venue is on–site at the Oliver Community Centre. Suggested donation is $5. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Info: OliverCAC@gmail.com, 250-498-0183. Presented by the Oliver Community Arts Council.