Contributed photo The Ocean Park Wailers are set to rock the Crescent Legion’s Club 240 on New Year’s Eve.

A whole new level for Ocean Park Wailers

New Year’s Eve show rounds out a watershed year for South Surrey band

When the Ocean Park Wailers play for dancing this New Year’s Eve at the Crescent Legion’s newly revamped Club 240 venue (2643 128 St.), it will be the culmination of a year of growth in every respect.

The South Surrey-based band, which started modestly some 11 years ago as a feel-good garage band for a handful of locals revisiting rock ’n’ roll classics, has evolved organically into a tight, dance-oriented act with strong stage presence and a loyal following – and more gig offers than they can, logistically, accept.

“I feel like it has reached a whole new dimension over the last year,” said Jim Widdifield, one-half of a keyboard partnership completed by the equally experienced and versatile Bill Brooks.

The group’s current lineup, headed by charismatic lead vocalist/guitarist/frontman Mike Sheeshka, is rounded out by the instrumental skills of lead guitarist Kevin Irwin, bassist Russ Froese, drummer Paul Sorbara and sax player Elliott Clarkson.

And Widdifield said they have developed into an area favourite that can cover, adeptly, everything from Rod Stewart and ZZ Top to Joe Cocker, The Beatles and Amy Winehouse, add some convincing country twang and some funky R&B and even offer a list of originals that is rapidly approaching album-length (Widdifield said recording may be in the offing in the new year).

Widdifield said he first started with the band as a fill-in, initially swapping dates with Brooks (with whom he also works in the R&B-oriented Cooler Kings).

“Eventually, both bands decided they wanted to go with double keyboard players – we complement each other, because he plays a lot of Hammond and synth and I play more piano.

“When Mike joined a year ago, he started taking the band to a bit of a different level. We’ve spread out in terms of material, but it’s still all about the love of the music and being able to get it out there and help people have a good time.”

He said New Year’s Eve will also be an opportunity to showcase for locals the recently-improved venue characteristics of the club – including an enlarged stage and new lighting and background curtains – and highlight the fact that music at Club 240 doesn’t end, by any means, on Jan. 1.

Widdifield and his partners in the Semiahmoo Music Consortium produce and promote dances at the venue most Friday nights, except holidays, throughout the year, bringing in not only local groups like the Wailers, but also such heavy-hitting dance bands as Incognito, the Mojo Stars, Blue Voodoo, Soul Purpose and Big City Soul; while the legion also promotes dances and other events (including such attractions as Nearly Neil and Bonnie Kilroe’s Divas) other nights, including Saturdays and some Thursdays.

Tickets for the Ocean Park Wailers New Year’s party ($75) include prime rib dinner buffet (with seafood or vegetarian options), party favours and bubbly at midnight, and are available from the legion box office (604-535-1043) or www.club240.ca

Just Posted

Mixed emotions on Surrey’s Strip as homeless begin moving into modular units

Some in the area are hopeful as 160 transitional homes open, while others say the plan is ‘containment, not a solution’

Surrey mayor’s state of city address back on at Sheraton

New date for mayor’s fourth annual address, hosted by the Surrey Board of Trade, is September 19

Body of young man who drowned in Chilliwack Lake recovered

Searchers find 18-year-old from Surrey seven days after he disappeared

Surrey’s first rainbow crosswalk is installed

The $8,500 crosswalk is complete in time for Surrey Pride festivities at Holland Park later this month

EDITORIAL: All children created equal

There are still some who justify President Donald Trump’s treatment of migrant children

VIDEO: In Surrey, ‘The Magic Flute’ opera has makings of ‘modern-day superhero movie’

Show director Dolores Scott raves about young talent in weekend production at Surrey Arts Centre

Senate officially passes Canada’s marijuana legalization bill

Bill C-45 now moves to royal assent, which is the final step in the legislative process

Mosquitoes out in full force already? Blame the weather

But a B.C. mosquito expert says the heat wave will help keep the pests at bay

Man pleads not guilty in 1987 slayings of B.C. couple

William Talbott of SeaTac was arraigned Tuesday in Snohomish County Superior Court

New GOP plan: Hold kids longer at border – but with parents

Move would ease rules that limit how much time minors can be held with their parents

Without a big data strategy, Canadians at risk of being ‘data cows’

Presentation said artificial intelligence could give Facebook and Amazon even more power

Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

Lawyer points to change in American policy around adoptions from Japan

It may be ‘lights, camera, action!’ for talented B.C. doctor

Rob Forde is waiting to hear if he’ll become The Basement Doctor in his own reality show

Fake attempted abduction not funny to B.C. neighbourhood residents

Two teenage boys won’t face criminal charges after scaring girl

Most Read

l -->