Celebrating 30 Years with The Downtown Blues Band!

The Downtown Blues Band (DTBB) is celebrating their 30th anniversary with a very special show, Party for the Planet!, this Saturday (Oct 21st) at the Charlotte Street Arts Centre.

I had a chance to chat about this great event on CBC Information Morning Fredericton last week – click here to hear that interview.

Their current line-up features 10 members! –
Paul Campbell (Vocals and Harp) 30 years
Conrad Mead (Vocals & Trumpet) 25 years
Lloyd Bragdon (Tenor Sax) 23 years
Chris Browne (Guitar) 22 years
Tommy Blizzard (Drums) 8 years
Jeannine Gallant (Trombone & Vocals) 7 years
Kelly Waterhouse (Tenor Sax & Vocals) 7 years
Peter Palmer (Bass & Vocals) 2 years
Jonnie Dutcher (Keys & Vocals) 2 years
Jonnie Price (Guitar) 1 year

As you would expect over a span of three decades there have been some changes in the band’s line-up. Sadly, Sweet Dave Nightingale passed away in August of this year and in his honour a special celebration of music was held at Dolan’s Pub at the end of September. Former members Gord Thomas (keys) and Dave Cunningham (bass) retired at the end of 2016 after over 20 years with the band.

Approximately 80 local musicians have sat in with the band at various times mostly in the first 5-10 years. For approximately 20 plus years (1996-2016) there were only a couple of changes. Tom Blizzard for Barry Hughes and Dave Nightingale for Peter Wood.

The band is deeply woven into the fabric of our community and they’ve lent support to many causes having raised money for just about every fundraiser and benefit going and likely helped contribute 10’s of thousands of dollars to local charities.

Rick Hutchins and the DTBB helped establish the Harvest Jazz & Blues Festival and 16 years ago they started the annual River Jam to celebrate the music of the St. John River Valley and to help raise money for the school music programs up and down the St. John River Valley.

They also established the Diane London Award given annually at River Jam to a deserving woman who has gone above and beyond to forward music and/or the arts within the St. John River Valley. I’m honoured to have been the 2016 recipient of that award.

Regardless the reason I know there are many people super happy that Fredericton’s Premier Party Band has stayed together all these years. As shared with me by a band member:
“One of the reasons for the longevity of the band is the love of the music. Most of the musicians who have played and stayed with the band over the years were once upon a time, on the road musicians who ultimately fell out of love either with the road or, just decided to come home, get a haircut, get a job and make their mother’s proud of them. 

Today most of these individuals have (or have had) a day job and raised (or are raising) a family however they stay with the band because of their love of the music, the enjoyment of playing, the no-rules freedom that the DTBB has always supported and ultimately the tremendous therapy the music provides.

It is an escape for a few hours each week from an otherwise stress filled work-a-day world.

We work hard, we play hard and we love it!”

Details of the show are as follows:
The Downtown Blues Band will be celebrating their 30th anniversary with a Party for the Planet! at the Charlotte Street Arts Center (CSAC), October 21st. Doors open at 8PM. Tickets only $15.00 available through the CSAC.

Many past members of the band will be on hand to help celebrate including Barry (The Hammer) Hughes, Steve Lifsches, Rick Hutchins, Dave Cunningham, Peter Wood, Rob McFee, Gordon Thomas, Sherri Chenard, The Boyer Bros, Terry (The Judge) Morrison, Sheldon Gordon, Joel Leblanc, Johnnie Weaver and many more.

Click here for even more details on the event.

Be sure to wear your dancing shoes because you know we’ll all be getting our groove on!

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