Submitted photo                                The Cariboo Gold Dance Band was pleased to work with visiting musician Bill Runge last year.

Submitted photo The Cariboo Gold Dance Band was pleased to work with visiting musician Bill Runge last year.

Professional talent comes to Cariboo Gold Band

Tickets still available for Swing Night at the Limelight happening Nov. 18

Each year the members of the executive of the Cariboo Gold Dance Band bring in professional musicians and band leaders to work with the band. The professional works with the group in a workshop setting, to assist individual members with technical challenges and the entire band to improve their overall big band sound.

In the past, the Dance Band has worked with many great performers.

“Dave Robbins was one of the first professionals we brought to Williams Lake,” recalls Bill Crook, trombone player with the band. “He was an incredibly strong player and just a great guy to work with. He really helped jump start the Cariboo Gold.”

More recently, the Cariboo Gold worked with Vancouver pianist and trumpet player Alan Matheson. Alan plays in a variety of music genres, including both jazz and symphony. He teaches in the music departments of the University of British Columbia, Vancouver Community College and Capilano University where he is an instructor in jazz piano and trumpet.

Having worked with greats like Clark Terry and Vincent Cichowitz, Mr. Matheson offered the band many valuable suggestions to help it improve.

Donnie Clark has also made himself available to the band on more than one occasion as workshop facilitator and guest performer.

“With his New Orleans style and vast musical experience, Donnie is so amazing to work with,” says baritone saxophone player Roberta Patterson. Mr. Clark has also composed some arrangements specifically for the Cariboo Gold, and these are often included on their set lists.

There have been many other fantastic musicians that have helped the Dance Band over the 30 plus years they’ve been performing.

Included on that list is another local talent turned professional, Mr. Ryan Oliver. Ryan has been composing, arranging and playing saxophone now for many years, and started his career as a student of Williams Lake music instructor, Michael Butterfield.

In the fall of 2016, another saxophone player on the Westcoast Jazz “A” list, Mr. Bill Runge shared his expertise and talent with the Cariboo Gold. The weekend workshops culminated with a performance by the Dance Band and featured Mr. Runge on many of the songs that evening.

“The show last November was a great success,” says lead trumpet, Ingolf Sandberg. “We packed the Limelight Theatre and had people up dancing for almost two hours of big band standards.”

Saturday, Nov. 18 however, is going to be one show big band enthusiasts are not going to want to miss.

JUNO Award winning composer, arranger and musician, Mr. Tom Keenlyside will be taking time from his busy professional schedule to travel to our community and work with the Cariboo Gold. Mr. Keenlyside has played saxophone with many notable acts including Tom Jones, Chaka Khan, Boz Skaggs, Paul Anka, Teddy Pendergrass, Peggy Lee, Dizzy Gillespie, Mel Torme and Andy Williams.

More recently, Mr. Keenlyside has focused on jazz and jazz-fusion, and performed with Natalie Cole, the Barenaked Ladies, Harry Connick Jr. and Diana Krall.

“This is a once-in- a-lifetime opportunity for us,” states John Christoffersen, drummer with Cariboo Gold. “We will be backing and performing with one of today’s best jazz sax/flute players. It’s going to be fantastic!”

Tickets for “Swing Night at the Limelight” are available at the Open Book and at the door at an entertainment bargain; just $15 for adults and $12 for seniors and children.

This is a family-friendly event, sponsored in part by the Cariboo Central Arts and Culture Society, the City of Williams Lake and the CRD.