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

Fluterrific returning to North Delta Rec Centre

The annual flute concert will showcase music from all genres on Sunday, Nov. 18

Surrey Community Leader Awards winners revealed

The 16th CLA awards, presented by the Now-Leader, recognized Surrey’s un-sung heroes

MPs meet with Surrey council to discuss RCMP, LRT

Federal government to have quarterly meetings with Surrey

WATCH: Goalie from North Delta scores in AHL hockey game

Tristan Jarry makes history for Penguins by hitting an empty net

Hogg curious if a new recreation centre is needed in Grandview Heights

South Surrey-White Rock MP to host a Town Hall Meeting tonight

People flocking to Vancouver Island city to see hundreds of sea lions

Each year the combination of Steller and California sea lions take over Cowichan Bay

North Delta happenings: week of Nov. 15

Events, courses and clubs listing for North Delta

Baloney Meter: Will tougher penalties for gang members make Canada safer?

Since 2013, gang-related homicides in Canada’s largest cities have almost doubled

Early data suggests no spike in pot-impaired driving after legalization: police

Some departments said it’s too early to provide data, others said initial numbers suggest stoned driving isn’t on the rise

Protesters confront Environment Minister in B.C.

Protesters wanting more for killer whales confront Catherine McKenna

Humans reshaping evolutionary history of species around the globe: paper

University of British Columbia researcher had the paper published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society

Toronto ‘carding’ activist Desmond Cole stopped by police in Vancouver

Cole says his experience reveals what daily life is like for black and Indigenous residents

Tubing, skating, light display part of new winter festival in Vancouver

Set to open Nov. 23, the six-week festival will take over Vancouver’s Concord Pacific Centre

Commercial trucks banned from left lane of Coquihalla

B.C.’s Ministry of Transportation has introduced a new program that hopes to prevent accidents and closures on the Coquihalla Highway.

Most Read