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A rockin’ year for Come Together

Chris Marchand

Chris Marchand served as editor of the Dryden Observer from August 2009 to April 2018.
Velcro Shoes drummer Andy Kennedy was a pure animal on the skins during his band’s rocking set of modern and classic rock tunes. Photos by Chris Marchand

By Dryden Observer Staff

A holiday tradition on the stage of The Centre played out much like it has every year for the past decade, Dec. 27 and it’s only getting better.

This year’s instalment of Come Together, the 11th annual featured five bands and five solo acts, drawing over 320 paid ticket holders to the show.

Producer Carl Bleich estimated the show will yield a donation of about $3,000 to the Dryden High School Music Association.

“It’s always a challenge to put forward new acts that haven’t been there before and I think that was very successful this year when you consider the five bands that were there — none of them had been there previously as a band,” said Bleich. “Certainly there were individuals that people recognized, but not in the same format as anytime before. So I was very proud of how that came together this year.”

After some pre-show piano stylings from DHS student Hailey Gilmour, Perrault Falls blues-rockers The Electric Beavers set a high-powered tone for the evening. They were followed by Lakehead University student and DHS Music Alumnus Preston Robinson who was fresh off a vocal performance with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra.

Stephen Cortens and Shanna Meadows offered some classical Spanish-flavoured guitar and vocal arrangements which was followed by DHS student Emily Chasowy and then DHS alumnus David Huffman.

After the break, Shannyn Peters, Lloyd Napish, Everett Rourke and Chris Marchand played a bluesy four-song set followed by Marchandwich — featuring sisters Alison and Katie Marchand, with uncles Mauri and Chris Marchand and an appearance from four-year-old Eloise Marchand.

New Dryden group Velcro Shoes, featuring Brock Moore-Bunney, Michael Nerino, Stephen Cortens and Andy Kennedy powered through some of the evening heaviest material leaving the stage to Come Together vets Landon Kellar, Dave Thiel and Matteo Pauselli — joined this year by Chris Froome.

Bleich says Come Together is about more than just the show itself, but the power of music to bring people together. He says the magic begins many weeks in advance as musicians make time over the holidays to get together and rehearse their set.

“Some of my best memories of holidays past was having an 18 year-old kid in the basement jamming with his Dad,” said Bleich. “Those are very happy memories.”

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