Westbank Country Opry Performing Members

Opry Band

Lavern Panich, Jack O’ Connor, Ian Stewart, Linden Northcott and Jeff Bowman bring years of varied experience to the Opry stage – and, most importantly, they love to have FUN!

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KEYBOARDS, ACCORDION, FIDDLE, GUITAR: Lavern Panich: Leaving Bonnyville, Alberta in 1994, and the Bonnyville Country Opry, Lavern vowed to carry the “Torch” to Westbank, B.C.  Lavern became the Founding Father of the Westbank Country Opry in 1995. Lavern started performing with bands, and teaching music at 14 years of age. He has performed with such artists as Crystal Gayle , at the Country Music Awards; Redd Volkaert, Merle Haggard’s guitar player, and many other bands throughout his music career.  By spring of 1995, Lavern started, The Panich Music School Studio & Sales and the Westbank Country Opry.  Through Lavern’s Music School, Recording Studio, and performances, at Rock for Kids; Cattle Country, with bands, like The Rusty Nail Band; Denim Country; The Fugitives; LP & the 45’s, Twilight and many garage-band jams, he was able to accumulate a large list of musicians to work with, sharing a common goal “keep music alive in the community”. Because of Lavern’s years supporting music, here in the community and throughout the Okanagan, he has received the, “Westbank Citizen of the Year Award” from the Westbank Lions Club, as well a “Lifetime Members Award”, from the Westbank Country Opry.

ELECTRIC GUITAR: Jack O’Connor: Santa brought Jack his first Guitar at age 9, by 12, He and buddy Ron were playing for local talent shows. They never won any but met other musicians and soon formed a High School Band called “Jack and the Rippers”. They played for high School Dances, Sox hops,Teen-towns and Graduations all around Saskatchewan.  Then work took over and the guitar sat under the bed for a few years. When Jack’s young son showed some interest in the guitar, that got Jack playing again. Meeting and playing with Don Ryan, Lavern Panich and joining the Westbank Country Opry kept Jack playing ever since.  He has also played with a few side bands over the years; Rockin’Horse, Highway 97, Easy-Goin, Sharon Reed Band, LP and the 45’s.

 

STEEL GUITAR: Ian Stewart: Music has been a great part of Ian’s life and he has enjoyed listening to as well as playing music. His interest in music started at a young age. When he was in high school and university in Ontario and in Nova Scotia he was fortunate to be able to interact and learn from other musician friends. Some of his Nova Scotia high school friends attained mega Canadian stardom as a band and others as single songwriters and performers . Lots of time was spent jamming and learning as well as performing. Throughout his working life he has always managed to be part of a band or a performance, although music wasn’t his career choice. Ian has lived from coast to coast in Canada, made great friendships and made a lot of music. Largely he is a guitar player, pedal steel player and keyboard player but he also loves to play trombone and sing (not at the same time). Ian has great memories of people and musicians who have been a part of his music progression. His music message is “ Its got to be fun or your doing it wrong”.

 

DRUMS: Linden Northcott: Linden’s long and interesting biography will be uploaded shortly. We’re waiting for the team of monks to complete the full twelve volume set of illuminated scrolls. You can see Linden playing Solitary Man  with the great Neil Diamond tribute Band Double Diamond or Linden playing Red Red Wine  

BASS GUITAR: Jeff Bowman: Jeff learned about music before he could walk as his mother was a piano teacher. Jeff has played the bass guitar for many years (since he was 14 years old) in many different bands that played a variety of music in many places in Canada and the USA. West Kelowna is now home. 

Opry Background Singers

The Opry background singers, Rona Nadeau and Bonnie Lamb, bring years of group and individual experience to the stage.

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  Bonnie Lamb started singing as a child and has been playing in bands since she was 21.   She  sang and played drums, bass guitar, and rhythm in various bands throughout her musical career. Performing and singing harmonies with the Westbank Country Opry for 6 years has been part of the most enjoyable times she has had.   Recently she has sang with Judy and The Diamonds as well as a new band formed called A Buck and Change.   Bonnie has 2 daughters with their husbands and 6 grandsons living near by.   Along with her music these are  the total joy of her life.   Retiring from working with the School District 10 years ago gave her lots of  time to be involved in many different facets of music.   She has been singing with various bands, playing for dances and parties, as well as entertaining at Senior Homes in the Okanagan.

Rona Nadeau: Coming from a family of entertainers music has always been a part of her life.  Singing harmony comes as naturally as breathing for her.  She is also an instrument connoisseur playing guitar, tenor banjo, ukulele, mandolin, piano and even attempting the fiddle, though not in public.  She loves all kinds of music…of course country is the best.

Bill Bates

Bill was born in Midland, Ontario. During his school years, he was active with piano lessons, playing with the town brass band, and playing the bassoon in the high school band.

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After graduating from Ryerson in 1964, he worked for Trans Canada Pipe Lines for 35 years. Bill and his wife, Gayle, have been together over 30 years, and each have two children and six granddaughters. After retirement Bill picked up the guitar again, and got into country and bluegrass music. He is a member of the Crazy Hearts bluegrass band, and is active with the Summerland Bluegrass Festival. While wintering in Yuma he plays with a patio band, the WannaBees, in Arizona he plays with the End Of The Road band and also teaches Ukulele.

Bill Besse

Bill was born in Kamloops B.C. and raised in the Merritt area in a non-musical family. He stuttered very badly but discovered he could sing and not stutter.

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His Grandfather got him a used guitar but he didn’t play much until his older sister met and married a fellow that played music. His guitar is named “Pete” in honor of him and it was his guitar. He played in a band in the Merritt/ Princeton area until he became a heavy equipment operator in many mines around B.C. Bill and his wife also owned and operated three restaurants for 15 years. Bill and Celia were married in 1967 and have two children , four Grandchildren and two Great grandsons. He didn’t play any music due to business demands for many years . He started music again in the 90’s and played for about 10 years then left again due to business demands . He retired 2 years ago and has the time now to return to his love of classic country music . His greatest influences are Ray Price, Merle Haggard , Gene Watson and Marty Robbins 

Wayne Blair

Wayne was born and grew up in Perth, Ontario, in the Ottawa Valley. At the age of 21 he was working for the Bank of Nova Scotia, and he traveled through the Maritimes as a Bank 

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Inspector, ending up in Calgary. He and his wife Barb were married in Perth on the 21st of May, 1966. After 35 years in Alberta, they moved to the Okanagan in 2003. At that time he started doing the Bluegrass circuit in the interior of B.C., and joined the Westbank Country Opry in 2006. Wayne loved listening to country music in the 1950s. His heroes were Hank Snow, Webb Pierce, Merle Haggard, and Waylon Jennings. In 1965 Wayne started playing guitar around campfires, and enjoyed going to country dances. Wayne also enjoys playing hockey. Wayne is our Country Gentleman in the Westbank Country Opry.

Marty Edwards

Marty Edwards has been seen on OPRAH, JAY LENO and CNN, as well as featured in numerous publications. He has performed to sold out audiences in 9 countries on 4 continents. 

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Whether he is singing his tribute to Kenny Rogers, or singing hits from the likes of Glen Campbell to Jack Greene to Johnny Reid, Marty is a seasoned International entertainer and can belt them out with the best of them.

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Pam Ferens

Pam Ferens is a versatile singer – songwriter who began a life long love affair with music as a child. Performing in many talent contests, her dream unfolded in 1983 when Pam placed in the top

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two performers in a National music contest. Nashville came calling in 1995 when she released four songs through the Comstock Label: “Opposites Attract”, “Get With the Program”‘, “Does She” and “Stop Look and Listen”. Pam says she was fortunate to garner generous airplay on these songs. Now Pam has New Music and is ready to entertain. Her new single “Just a Dance” is sure to get you on your feet and make you smile.

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Daria Gagnon

Daria grew up in the Midwest and quickly discovered piano at age five. She took eight years of lessons and then blossomed into a folk guitar player.

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Pop was her original genre and, of course, the folk music scene. As she acquired experience she moved into contemporary country music and settled into that for many years. Her original vocal training came from choirs where she learned three-part haromony and the concept of 3rds and 5ths. Armed with that knowledge she took her guitar and hooked up with a friend who played bass and did a duo fore a couple of years; that led her in turn to join his band and she performed at dances and pubs for about seven years. It was during this phase that she started writing and for the next year she wrote and her recorded her debut CD. She self-marketed the CD, winning a local talent contest and receiving a letter from Rita McNeil that urged her to move to Nova Scotia and get serious about her career, She carried on with another duo and band which led to the notion of creating her own group.

Sharon Heise

Sharon began singing professionally in her early 20’s with a R&R band called THE BAND OF SOUND in Edmonton and surrounding towns. She took a few years off to raise a family

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  and resumed her career joining The Westbank Country Opry in 1996. She released a CD in 1999 entitled, Most of My Life Lovin’ You, having written the title song. She sings with Denim Country playing at varied venues throughout the Okanagan. She has performed with The Louisiana Hayride paying tribute to Patsy Cline and is also part of a duo, Twilight, singing all the old wartime songs on Remembrance Day. Sharon is currently Program Director and Talent Coordinator for the WCO. She lives in Summerland and is married to Bob, past president of the Opry and former WCO drummer for 10 years.

Garry Jespersen

Garry is a Country Opry favorite and has been delighting audiences for decades with his smooth alto saxophone melodies and heartfelt vocals.

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Ken & Linda Johnson

When Ken and Linda got together 21 years ago they discovered that they had a synergy in their singing. They began performing at Bluegrass festivals and were very well received.

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While being introduced in Castlegar, BC the M.C. gave them the name The Singing Sweethearts  and the name stuck and has been their title ever since. They have been members of the Opry since its inception and play well off each other on stage creating a positive and up beat energy which transmits to the audience. After many requests from Opry fans they have just completed a CD of fourteen songs, nine of which were penned by Ken. Ken Johnson Ken first stepped on the stage when he was 5 yrs old and has not climbed down since. He put myself through University playing nights and weekends wherever he could and toured with the Ricks College Program Bureau dong one-nighters throughout the American Mid West. Ken has performed with the likes of Blake Emmonds (CTV) , Ron Shy of the Drifters, Glen Barber and Ron Groman, (0f Vancouver TV fame) and hosted a Terry Fox Telethon. Ken did his masters degree in Using country music to teach English as a second language and has played with a band called The Overland Express for about 25 years out of Kamloops. Ken has had several songs played on the radio, the latest being MY BC which is currently getting air time.

Lynda Krauza

Lynda was born in Brighton, England and came to Canada when she was 4 1/2 years old. Since a teenager she was always partial to Country Music and Old Time Rock’n’Roll.

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She used to sing in the shower but never in public. Tried to yodel in her basement while living in Prince George and at that time she knew she belonged. It wasn’t until she moved to Kelowna BC in 1986 that she actually started singing. In 1988 she won the overall Star of the Week Show in Vernon and from then on has kept on singing, starting a band with her husband Art as Acoustic Country and began a jam with all their musical friends. Later they progressed to the band Crystal Country and hosted a Talent Contest in Kelowna every Saturday and Sunday for approximately 6 months. It was so much fun and successful they later began a full time band in 1989 and played the Okanagan Circuit for 4 years. Lynda is one of the founding members of the Westbank Country Opry in 1996.

Judy Rowe

With courage and tenacity, Judy jumped headlong into her dream to be a singer at the ripe age of 38. Having had no experience and no training she followed her heart and was blessed

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with the help, encouragement and support from so many wonderful musicians along the way, many became her dear friends as well as mentors. Right off the bat, Judy started her first Band Reckless Hearts which became a shining success in the Valley. After eight incredible years of growth and achievements, she reluctantly parted ways with the Band to go on tour with her daughter Keri to help her on her way. Keri was offered a recording contract in short order and Judy continued back on her own musical pathway again. Judy had a passion for writing sings, became a member of SOCAN and had radio play success with Be My Man along with publishing other songs. Returning to Penticton, Judy was invited to be part of a tribute show as a Patsy Cline tribute artist which took her to various parts of the country and she was considered one of Western Canada’s finest. Her CD Judy Anne . . . Forever Patsy was very popular and gained some radio play time as well as others songs that she had written that were recorded by others. Judy’s passion for singing in Spanish has also opened doors for her and she has been invited to perform in various places in Mexico and the U.S. which she still currently does. At present Judy enjoys doing her own variety of specialty shows as well as singing with a few groups on the side. While further pursuing her song writing, Judy is currently planning a new CD project which will included some of her own original pieces. In the recording studio, Judy is especially known for her pitch pure voice and she can croon with the best of them.

Deb Stone

Deb Stone was born and raised in Kelowna, B.C. and has been performing up and down the valley for many years. Her first love is country music but she recently spent two years fronting

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her own rock band. Her love of music and her need to please a crowd come across in every genre she is singing. Her number one goal is to get your feet tapping and your hands clapping.

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Janice Schlief

Janice Schlief is a singer/songwriter born and raised in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. Country, Gospel, Pop & Golden Oldies are just some of the diversified genres in her performances.

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Janice has performed at various events around the Okanagan. Westside Daze, Westbank Country Opry, Touch Of Christmas Fair, East Kelowna Fall Fair, Rutland May Days and Peachland’s Canada Day Parade are some of the local community events where she has performed over the years. Janice released her debut Album, “My Beloved” in 2006. ChrisCross Radio reviewed it this way: There comes a time when what we welcome the most is a special touch from God. “Breathe On Me” and other great songs by Janice Schlief are trendsetters that put us in just that comforting frame of mind. Janice continues to write, record and perform in various venues.

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Westbank Country Opry Special Guests

Walter Bachmann

Walter has performed music, most of his life, all across Canada, from Cape Breton, thru to BC.  Music styles like Psychedelic / RB/ RnR / Country Western.  Played with Lavern Panich from 1995 thru to about 2002, very often at the infamous Cattle Country Restaurant, as THE FUGITIVES.

Kelly Belanger

Kelly is a multi instrumentalist, recording engineer and producer who has performed professionally from 1980 to 1995 in Canada, US and Europe, with a number of well known 

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recording groups. From 1995 he took the time to raise his children and continue playing locally in the BC interior. Kelly is currently part of the duo “Sierra” with Ian Stewart and was the Opry’s, former Drummer.

Ben Beveridge

A multi instrumentalist Ben plays violin, bass- mandolin, banjo, steel guitar, as well as writing, arranging music, and he delivers outstanding vocals.Playing in bands since he was thirteen.

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  Ben is a classically trained musician; he has played with a wide variety of groups. In addition to his stage work, Ben’s skill as a studio musician is widely regarded and has been utilized by many other recording artists. Ben has released three albums “Serves Me Right”, “The Parlour Sessions” and “the Way It Is”. * Composer/Producer/Musician/Engineer, Singer/Songwriter * Two time Saskatchewan, Grand Fiddling champion * Perennial invitational competitor to the Canadian Grand Masters Fiddling Masters Fiddling Championships Multiple SCMA Nominee – Producer Fiddle Player, and Specialty instruments of the Year.

Cadillac Bob

Canadian born, internationally known rockabilly and blues musician, Cadillac Bob, has performed all over BC and Alberta, Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, the United Kingdom, and parts 

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of Europe. Had a charting single in France ‘Climb Aboard My Ol’Cadillac’ released on Fury Records compilation record “Haunted Highway” which has been distributed all over Europe and Japan. Played with Memphis Slim, Willie Mabon and others, at the famous 100 Oxford St. Jazz Club in London England, in the early ’70’s, frequented by Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, and other various well known British musicians. Cadillac Bob’s formative years included musical apprenticeship with John Lee Hooker, BB King, Reverend Gary Davis, Hubert Sumlin of Howlin’ Wolf’s band, John Hammond, Johnny Shines, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Jessie Fuller, David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards, Detroit Junior, S.P. Leary and others. Has also appeared in various film productions, including ‘Davey Crockett’ with Johnny Cash. Wrote, produced and recorded the sound track for National Film Board animated feature ‘Watermelon Men’, also voice over for several animation productions. With Rocky Craig, played the Commodore Ball Room in Vancouver with New York rockabilly/punk artist Robert Gordon, and has been a major influence on the “rockabilly scene” in Vancouver for the last 40 plus years. Influenced members of what became the Seattle grunge band Nirvana, while playing the house gig at the famous Smilin’ Buddah night club in Vancouver, BC. Cadillac Bob has also played the Depression Room in Dallas Texas where T-Bone Walker had a house gig, Tabby Thomas’s ‘Blues Box’ in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and many other US venues from coffee houses, bars to juke joints. Cadillac Bob has 3 original songs being played on CBC Radio 3 and most European rock’n’roll radio stations. Cadillac Bob’s repertoire over the last 45 years has been a veritable history lesson in North American Music, now sometimes referred to as ‘Americana’ or ‘Roots Music’ and performs everything from Originals to Acoustic & Electric Blues, Rockabilly, Classic Country, Louisiana Swamp Pop, and even some Southern Gospel. Cadillac Bob’s past bands have included Grand Ol’ Opry veteran steel guitarist, Jimmy Roy, world acclaimed rockabilly bassist, Ronnie Hayward, and Canadian legendary guitar player Danny Tapinala. While previously living and playing in the North Okanagan, Cadillac Bob became known as the “Lumby Legend”! Since recently returning to the Okanagan, Cadillac Bob has worked with local luminaries, including guitarist extraordinaire Les Copeland, veteran Lumby drummer Charlie Fisher, Cherryville steel guitarist/recording producer Dave ‘Moon’ Bayer & Vernon’s eclectic Manfred Harter. Cadillac Bob’s appeal crosses all borders and ages from old Folks to young Punks and everyone in between. If you ever get the chance to experience a Cadillac Bob live performance it is something you will never forget!

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Larry Branson

Larry started performing as a Roy Orbison Tribute Artist after Roy’s passing in 1988. Larry had called an acquaintance who was a good friend of Roy’s brother, Sam Orbison

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for approval to do a tribute concert to Roy. Larry was approved by Sam, and his career began. During Larry’s career he has traveled widely from Vancouver to the UK, Germany, Australia, Las Vegas, and Reno. Larry misses the Big “O” (Roy Orbison) for the music that became a large part of his life.

Jordan Dean

Born in the interior of British Columbia, Jordan has been playing guitar since he was 11 years old. His love for singing and songwriting has sky-rocketed him into success over the last year

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joining the likes of Chad Brownlee, Tim Hicks, Jamie Stever and many others on stage. Jordan considers Eric Church and Johnny Cash to be his two largest influences, and pushes his creativeness to a maximum with his songwriting. Jordan plays shows near and far, donating 2% of his earnings to the BC Children’s Hospital, he believes that it is important to give back to people who aren’t as lucky as some. Jordan plans to continue touring, writing and performing before his move to Nashville, Tennessee next summer to further pursue his music career.

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Lee Dinwoodie

Lee was born in the small prairie town of Lavoy, Alberta. The youngest of six children, he spent his early years growing up on the family farm that had been passed down through the

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generations. Dinwoodie’s inspiration stems from a deep kind of musical energy that comes from a solid foundation of family and tradition.He saw his dad work the land with a passion and love that he inherited and carries through to his music.Dinwoodie’s first musical influence was growing up listening to his mother sing and play piano. Her music was gospel that filled their home with joy. She touched people deeply with her voice and sense of spirit.Dinwoodie started singing around the house with his mother and learned the meaning of feeling in music.His mother bought him a guitar at age 15 and he immediately began writing songs inspired by artists such as Kenny Rogers, Wilf Carter and Johnny Cash.  At the same time he began developing his own voice and style.While performing at a talent contest he attracted the attention of a country group that needed a singer and began playing and singing covers and some originals on weekend gigs.Lee wrote the majority of the songs on his first CD. After the press and radio attention, Lee was very much in demand in the live circuit headlining many festivals, rodeos, fairs and cattleman events.Lee recorded his second album “Rewind” which had great success in Canada and hit the Top 10 in Europe. In 2010/11, he released the single “Paycheck to Paycheck” which hit #1 in Europe!Due to his success, he has performed at many music festivals and events such as Big Valley Jamboree, Merritt Mountain Music Festival, Calgary Stampede and Festival.

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Pete Eastmure

Pete is returning to the West on his “Western Campfires Tour 2018” across Canada. A prolific songwriter and artist he will be showcasing songs from his latest Americana Record

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“Keep Your Love Steady”, which will be released in late summer. Being a veteran journeyman musician, Pete has played all over the world, has three CD’s out, and has a loyal fan base who want to hear his songs. Walt Gervais, Co-Founder of the Juno Awards writes, ” It’s rare when an artist can capture the essence of country, roots, folk and pop and author all the music as well.” RPM Magazine, Walt Gervais.

 John Fairchild

John Fairchild has been singing and playing all types of music for most of his life. From traditional hymns in church choirs to local theater productions and eventually a club circuit

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that was interrupted by life and a need to provide a steady income, music has always played a significant role. Even while working as a transportation consultant, a rhythm guitar and the songs of the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s provided the substance of a part time opportunity to perform in three and four piece combos with a specific focus on playing “danceable” music. Country and swing music, along with both traditional and more modern western music remain personal favorites. Though originally from the southwest, John has been firmly entrenched in the Oregon lifestyle for the past forty plus years and only recently had the opportunity to work with Canadian musicians in Arizona. The opportunity to work with such talented artists is a privilege and most gratifying.

Louis Hamel

Louis Hamel’s vocals are known to move audiences. Brooks and Dunn, Garth Brooks and The Eagles are among his influences. Louis started singing in a country band at the age of 16 in Northern Alberta. 

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Later shifting to Country Rock with his band in Edmonton, Louis kept audiences dancing, singing and tapping their toes for a couple of decades. Louis is also a talented rock and pop singer, but his heart and soul remains in Country.

John Flottvik

John fished halibut for 45 years and is presently (by choice) an unemployed truck driver. He played around a bit with music 40 years ago and had not touched a guitar for that time.

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A lady friend of the family heard him sing a song and encouraged him to get a guitar and do some practice. He did that in 2000, and with the help of our very own Canadian Country hall of famer, Gary Cooper, he’s managed to get his timing in somewhat order and just loves to sing old country songs. Especially Hank Williams stuff.

Hellard & Hirth

Hellard & Hirth is a dynamic vocal duo with Dave Hellard on acoustic guitar and harmonica and Sandy Hirth on standup bass and acoustic guitar. The collaboration of two superb lead vocalists

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blending alto and baritone harmonies can be heard at various wineries in the Okanagan including Dirty Laundry, Bench 1775, Kismet and Heaven’s Gate. Hellard: Dave began his musical career in Calgary. Raised in Nova Scotia and educated on the prairies, Dave grew up to the sounds of Merle Haggard, John Prine, Ian Tyson and The Beatles. Through the 80’s Dave lived in Southern Africa where a love of harmonies was planted. Singing with Marty Antonini (one of Calgary’s best harmony directors) Dave learned the importance of listening to other voices and the art of voice dynamics. Over the years Dave has performed at various venues in Alberta and BC with “Seventh Heaven”, “Mid Life Crisis” and “Peach Orchard Trio”. For the past seven years he is best known as “Just Dave” a solo artist performing at many wineries, house concerts and private functions throughout the Okanagan. “Hellard & Hirth” provides an opportunity to expand my love of vocal harmonies in a wide variety of music genres. I love it!” Hirth: Sandy was born and raised in a musical family in Sussex, New Brunswick. She formed and fronted a Bluegrass/Country band called “Wild Rose Xpress” in Calgary, AB. For a decade, this band performed at several festivals, folk clubs and events throughout Alberta. Sandy recorded two CDs with Wild Rose Xpress, Wild Rose and Grass Tracks. Both CDs included original songs written by Sandy and her husband Norbert, which received widespread airplay on CKUA. Sandy also performed with the “June Bugs”, a Calgary based band featuring three part harmony performing at a variety of venues and festivals in Alberta & BC. They recorded a CD Just Here to Sing titled after Sandys’ original song Just Here to Sing which was nominated for 2014 Calgary Folk Festival Songwriters Competition. Sandy recently received the “2016 Women’s Alberta Women of Country Music Lifetime Achievement Award”. “Hellard & Hirth” is so much fun to be part of and I get to do what I love which is singing!
 

Gorden James

Gorden James has made quite the name for himself, both as an artist and as an all around great guy.  James was featured on CMT Canada’s, Big in a Small Town, as one of thirty artists 

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selected across Canada to participate. “They emailed me and asked me to audition,” said James from his Kelowna home. “They picked 30 artists from across Canada, two of them from BC. It was a really cool experience. All the staff and crew treated us like gold. It gave my album, Heart of the Matter, great exposure.” James has performed everywhere from large concerts to store openings. Whether a Solo, Duo or Trio appearance James tailors his show and set to accommodate! James is an accomplished singer/songwriter who describes his style as urban country, easy listening, with a touch of the blues. His debut album, Heart of the Matter, continues to get airplay across Canada and overseas. When James isn’t performing, he’s spends his time as a volunteer for hospice, doing shows at the cancer lodge, and he wrote a song for Soles4Souls, an organization that gets shoes to people that need them in Canada and around the world.

Ken Kardish

Kenn began his singing career in Victoria where he and his wife Fran performed mostly at senior’s residences, the Victoria Icelandic Club, the Victoria Ukrainian Association, the Victoria Holland Club, Elks Clubs, Eagles Clubs and Legions on Southern Vancouver Island. 

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While in Victoria, he was a member of the all male Greater Victoria Police Chorus where he sang second tenor. The Chorus toured the United Kingdom, Alberta and British Columbia over the years. They moved from Victoria to Calgary in 2001. They entertained at a variety of venues in Alberta for many years and during 13 winters spent in Arizona were part of a band called “Desert Coyotes” with many engagements in the Mesa and Apache Junction areas. Kenn and his wife were victims of the monumental Alberta flood of 2013, after which they moved to West Kelowna. Kenn has entertained locally at the Theatre Kelowna Society production of “ Good Ole’ Country Comfort” September 14-October 2, 2016, numerous senior retirement complexes, Senior’s centres in Peachland, Kelowna and West Kelowna, Westbank Country Market, Westbank Legion and Kelowna Legion. They enjoy going to jams and have been to a significant number in Arizona, Alberta and British Columbia.

Erin Kimberly

Erin Kimberly grew up in a musical family in Alberta, but it wasn’t until she came to BC that she was introduced to the country music in which she fell in love. In 1998, someone gave 

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her a guitar, taught her a few chords and she has been performing on stages around the Okanagan ever since. Erin is especially inspired by new country female power houses like Martina McBride, Jewel and Carrie Underwood.

Ben Klick

2017 marks an outstanding year for Ben Klick as he played at multiple major festivals and events throughout the year. He was a lead nominee (5) at the 2017 British Columbia Country Music 

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Awards winning Country Club Act of the Year and getting nods for Fans’ Choice, Male Vocalist of the Year, SOCAN Songwriter of the Year, and more. Releasing “That’s Who I Wanna Be” and “What’s Going On”, Klick celebrated national radio airplay and adds on Sirius XM Satellite Radio. The “What’s Going On 2017 Tour” took place between April and September packing over 20 shows including The Rockin’ River Music Fest, Sunfest, and Calgary Stampede. Klick has opened for country music icon Tanya Tucker, and shared bills with Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith, Chase Bryant, Tim Hicks, and Brett Kissel. Following a launch of the “Today EP” in September of 2015, recorded and produced down in Nashville by Clay Krasner and RyLee Madison of 7-17 Music, Klick released three singles; One of which made it into the Top 100 on the TRAX Reporting Chart in Canada, and received international airplay in Australia, Poland, Germany, and throughout Europe. Over the years, Klick has won five North American Country Music Association Awards, two British Columbia Country Music Awards, a Performing Arts Award, Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Okanagan College Young Alumni Award, and was a Top 7 Canada’s Walk of Fame Emerging Artist, BreakOut West SOCAN Song House Participant, and Global Country Canada Star Search Winner. Klick’s reputation as a songwriter, vocalist, multi-instrumentalist musician, and virtuoso guitar player has granted him the fun-loving, interactive storyteller who fuses traditional sounds with a modern country twist.

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Brad Krauza

Brad Krauza has accomplished many things over the years including fundraising, concert Promotions (local to major international superstars such as; INXS, Randy Travis

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Creed and Anthrax). Brad has also been very successful in the graphic web design, hosting business, (www.gonzoonline.ca) and has been in the sales and publishing industry for many years, with Gonzo Magazine, printing, throughout the Okanagan/Vancouver areas interviewing the likes of these international legends: Nicolas Cage, Drew Barrymore, Steven Spielberg, Angelina Jolie, Adam Sandler, Offspring, Martina McBride and many more! Brad, was also the founder & former front man/bassist/vocalist for the “Young’Uns” band and is still part of that group. He has also found new inspiration with a couple of incredibly talented guys in his new band “LINUS”

Gary Nichols

Gary is a Professional singer and guitarist, who has performed over the years in many bands throughout Western Canada. His voice complements many genres of music whether

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he is performing Country Classics, Rock and Roll, Blues, or R& B, with his own unique style. His passion for music and his electrifying style of guitar has earned him a reputation as a very competent musician.

Michael Painchaud

Michael has been interested in music for as long as he can remember, playing guitar and singing with family and friends. His family back in Saskatchewan is very musical, many of which

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are singers, guitar and piano players. Michael has spent much of his time playing guitar and singing around campfires, family weddings, and at family gatherings however within the last few months he’s begun to write original songs in his spare time, or you could say every spare minute as he enjoys it so much. He decided it may be time to try and take performing to the next level. He recently placed as a finalist with the Lake Country Open Mic competition for singing and original songwriting. This earned him half hour sets at our local Parks Alive music festival in Kelowna and a half hour set at the Open Air music festival in Lake Country B.C. Michael’s music has been influenced by many singer/songwriters, some of which are Garth Brooks, Dwight Yoakam, Brad Paisley, Toby Keith, Billy Currington, and Dean Brody. He also really enjoys Michael Buble, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Bob Dylan.  He currently has 6 original country songs that he is working on recording with an audio company called “One House” out of Kelowna.

www.reverbnation.com/michaelpainchaud

Marilyn Stefanik

Marilyn is Manitoba born and definitely “farm girl strong”.  Marilyn is a long time Kelowna resident.  She began performing professionally with the female trio, “Sister Act”, along with

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Pam Ferens (Westbank Country Opry regular) with tributes to such artists as the Andrews Sisters, the McGuire Sisters and many more. “Sister Act” has been a long standing favorite with the Summerland Legion for Remembrance Day. When her work took her to Vancouver, Marilyn performed with “Denim & Lace”, this foursome paid tributes to many of the 50/60’s Sock Hop artists and Country Classics. Marilyn also sang with a tribute trio, “Uptown Girls, performing at venues such as the Blueberry Festival in Chilliwack, care homes, legions and private functions. Marilyn loves to sing, especially Country Classics and her main goal is providing enjoyment to her audience.

The Who Knew Band

Who knew got it’s name from a very personal story. Deidra Lynn, the lead vocalist of Who Knew did not know that she could sing until she was in her 30s. A person she looked up to told 

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her that she had no voice when she was very young, and so she never really knew that she had a gift many would kill to have. Michael Kosterman had a brief solo career before joining forces with Deidra. He was signed to a small independent record label in Tennessee in 2009, but things didn’t work out. There were some great gigs, some amazing travel adventures and videos to prove it, but it was short lived. Once back in Canada, Michael started a new band and even did karaoke shows to get by. It was at one of these Karaoke shows that Deidra began to transform into the singer she is today. Michael was sick and couldn’t host. The host has to do a lot of singing if there aren’t any singers, but she stepped up and did the job. Not only did she do the job, she realized after a few dozen comments from the listeners, that she ” had a voice.” The rest is history. Joined on bass by UK transplant Lee Anthony, The Who Knew Band is quickly becoming one of the more popular Okanagan bands. With bookings at festivals and events all the way to the end of 2018 the future looks bright.

www.reverbnation.com/michaelkosterman9

Beamer Wigley

Beamer started playing drums when he was 3 years old and then guitar when he was 5. After he saw Keith Urban in the music video, ‘Start A Band’, with Brad Paisley, he knew then that he

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wanted to play and sing like him! So he has been taking guitar lessons and playing ever since and also teaching himself to play the keyboard. He started writing some of his own songs when he was 7 and then taking vocal lessons when he was 8. He enjoy playing many genres of music, but he still has a special love for country! He also does classical voice and musical theater competitions, and really enjoys acting! His parents have always had music playing, and would even put him to sleep by playing Santana when he was a baby! When he hears a song that he likes, he can usually teach himself the chords and then learn to perform it. New challenges are fun for Beamer, so he learns a lot of new songs.

www.reverbnation.com/beamerwigley

Nikita Afonso

The Opry Band

Opry Background Singers

Bill Bates

Bill Besse

Wayne Blair

Lawrence Bourgeois

Cadillac Bob

James Caplette

Cheyenne

Jordan Dean

Marty Edwards

Pam Ferens

John Flottvik

Daria Gagnon

Good Enough For DAD

Aaron Halliday

Sharon Heise

Garry Jespersen

Linda & Ken Jhonson

Erin Kimberly

Ben Klick

Lynda Krauza

Bonnie Lamb

Anita Leblanc

Hiedi Letiec

Jesse Mast

John Neal

Maiya Robbie

Wendy Rodocker

Judy Rowe

Janice Schlief

Dale Seaman

Mikie Spillett

Steppin’ Out

Deb Stone

 Vic Ukrainetz

Dennis Walker

Beamer Wigley

Jeremy Willis

Yanti

Call Us

250-494-5292

Mail Us

info@westbankcountryopry.com

Event Location

Westbank, BC

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