Bands to keep Chili Festival crowd entertained
Variety will be the spice of live music this weekend at the Havelock Chili Festival.
Three bands have scheduled performances at the annual fundraiser Friday and Saturday, including the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing Show Band, Spare Change and One Lane Bridge.
“It’s all free and for the quality of music that we’re having, you would have to pay a pretty price and we’re bringing it to the community for free,” said Stephanie Duncan, executive director of the Havelock Chamber of Commerce that holds the annual festival at Walter B. Jones Park in Havelock. “We’re super excited about the whole entire lineup.”
Sgt. Steven Frigiola will be laying down the foundation as bass player for the 2nd MAW Show Band, which the players themselves call “the rock band.”
“In a sense we get to let our hair down a little bit and get away from the military ceremonial strict musical performance and have a lot more fun with the audience, and it’s a lot more informal,” Frigiola said. “The show band is an opportunity for us to play more modern music, more pop, funk tunes, and blues. We get to explore more musical genres than you normally expect a military ensemble to perform.”
The band is scheduled to take the stage from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
“It’s a large variety of music,” said Sgt. Nathan Johnson, one of four singers in the band. “It’s a lot of funk, a lot of show band like the Blues Brothers type music, and we have some rock and roll in there, so we’re going to bring as big a spread as we can for the Havelock Chili Festival. The show band actually gives us an opportunity to express ourselves like we might not otherwise have the chance to do on a daily basis.”
Despite the non-traditional military music, the band remains tight, as one might expect from the Marine Corps.
“We are also professional musicians and I think people are impressed by the fact that, not only are we riflemen first, but we also have other talents that we bring to the table,” Johnson said. “We come out and do everything we can on a professional level. Whether it’s Iraq or Havelock, we have a mission and we’re going to make it the best possible mission accomplishment we can.”
Get ready for tunes like “Fantastic Voyage” by Lakeside, “By the Way” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers, “Superman” by Goldfinger, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell, and “Saturday in the Park” by Chicago.
“I can tell you the band is very excited to do ‘Love Shack’ for everybody,” said Johnson. “We have the horns out there this time, instead of just the guitars, so it’s really going to be a full band.”
Band members picked the tunes themselves.
“The entire set list is just a party from start to finish,” Frigiola said
Hopefully people will hear that familiar song and their ears will perk up, Johnson said.
“We’ll start the intensity level high and have highs and lows for everyone, start on a great note and end on an even greater one,” Johnson said. “I know you’ll have great music to listen to, and second of all, a chili festival is a great thing to go out to. I love chili, so I’ll be going out there do whether I was committed to work that day or not, so hopefully everyone else sees it that way too.”
The band’s other members are Sgt. Mark Boughton, electric guitar/vocals, Sgt. Corbin Gonzalez, vocals, Sgt. Sean Salazar, saxophone, Cpl. Camden Bettey, vocals, Cpl. Adam Dippre, trombone, Cpl. Gage Gallant, drums, Cpl. Gabriel Landraulugo, trumpet, Cpl. Jonathon Larson, piano/auxiliary percussion, and Cpl. Harry Willard, electric guitar/vocals.
The band Spare Change is scheduled from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday for the chicken wings portion of the festival.
“We don’t really stick to one certain genre,” said John Rouse, lead guitarist. “I used to say mixed CD, but now more people have an iPod. Most people don’t have one certain genre on their iPod. They have a mix of all different songs. That’s kind of what we try to do. We try to mix it up and have a variety of music so that hopefully everyone there will hear something that they really like.”
It’s worked great for them. The band has been together 13 years.
Besides Rouse, the band is Jeff Morris, drums, Chris Morden, bass, Tony Natalizio, guitars, Jordan Rouse, guitar, Matt Bell, fiddle, and Veronica Welch, vocalist.
John Rouse said Welch allows the band to play a larger variety of songs.
“There are some songs that it doesn’t matter how good of a singer a guy is, he just can’t pull it off like a girl could,” he said. “On top of that, she is really experienced with harmonies and that sort of thing so we rely heavily on her especially on harmonies with me. And our fiddle player, even though he’s a guy, he can kind of sing like a girl, so we have two vocalists who can get pretty high up there.”
The group has no keyboard but fiddle player Matt Bell can play like one.
“When I say he’s a fiddle player, it’s kind of misleading because he actually uses a pedal board just like a guitar player does and he can make organ sounds, so when I say we don’t have a keyboard player, that doesn’t mean that we don’t have sounds like a keyboard,” John Rouse said. “He can actually pick up organ parts and keyboard parts and stuff like that, and a lot of times people think that we have tracks behind us, but we’re completely live. It really just widens what we can do with what instruments we have.”
The group, whose members range from Burlington to New Bern, plays between 135 and 150 shows a year. The band’s name comes from players picking through their pockets looking for spare change to offer the bass player a substitute for a forgotten guitar pick.
One Lane Bridge, based out of Vanceboro, is appearing for the first time at the festival from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday.
“We do everything from Johnny Cash to Led Zep. Allman Brothers to Miranda Lambert,” said Darryl Russell, guitarist, who happens to run heavy equipment at the public works department at Cherry Point.
“We play a little bit of everything. Beach, soul, country, blues and classic rock. We’re used to a lot of weddings, so you’ve got to play a little bit of everything. We do some Jimmy Buffet, Tom Petty. We’re just all over the place, but definitely heavy on the blues, rock, country, grass roots music that everybody around here is going to love. We try to be real heavy on that.”
The band makeup is a family affair. Other members include Russell’s wife Laura Russell, singer, brother Roger Russell, guitar/vocals, father Roger Russell Sr., bass, friend Mike LeFever, drums, Jeff Coghill, saxophone and bass, and friend Joe Whitford, guitar/vocals. Whitford, is also a worker at Fleet Readiness Center East at Cherry Point.
The Havelock Chili Festival is from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday with the chicken wings and chili verde competition, and is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday with red chili and salsa. Admission is free.
Vendors, crafters, exhibits and activities for children are featured, and there are other food vendors as well.
For more information on the Havelock Chili Festival, go online to www.chilifestival.org.