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

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Eagle tree cut down in South Surrey for ‘The Eagles’ development

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Air quality advisory continues in the Lower Mainland

Smoke from Interior fires brings fine particulate

TONIGHT: Grand finale of Concerts at the Pier

East Beach event set to begin at 7 p.m.

VIDEO: North Delta celebrates International Cat Day

We asked our readers to send us photos of their feline friends and they did not disappoint

‘Hard on water:’ Smoke not the only long-range effect of wildfires

The project began more than 10 years ago after southern Alberta’s 2003 Lost Creek fire

B.C. VIEWS: Genuine aboriginal rights can be misused and discredited

Camp Cloud one of long line of protests falsely asserting title

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to march in Montreal’s Pride parade

Trudeau will end the day in his home riding of Papineau

Vancouver Whitecaps give up late goal in 2-2 draw with New York Red Bulls

Four of Vancouver’s next five games are at home

B.C. man designer behind Canucks’ retro jersey

Jeremie White was 20 years old when he told Canucks assistant GM Brian Burke he had a design

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

Most Read