Rod and Friends

Rod & Friends at the March 19 event

Rod & Friends were a huge hit at the Perogies & Jam session on Saturday night at the Vegreville Train Station. The venue was packed to a full house (over 90 attending) with the audience calling for an encore of their country and gospel music.

“Embracing Local Musical Talent” is the best description and vision of volunteer run Perogies & Jam, and this was clearly evident from the Young Talent through to the Open Mike session at the end of the evening. In addition to the Vegreville area, audience members came from Edmonton, Sherwood Park, Sedgewick and Galahad areas.

Rod & Friends members consisted of Rod (vocals and guitar) & Juanita (vocals) Werezuk of Vegreville, Darrell Ball (electric guitar), Doug Grovet (drums), Vivian Grinde (keyboard), and her daughter Leanne Grinde (fiddle). The group performed for an hour with country and gospel favourites and special numbers to a very appreciative audience.

Leeland Bachelet | Photo by Don Harfield

15 Year Old Leeland Bachelet – First performer at the first night

The evening started at 6:30 with young fiddle players Jean Galandy, Harmony Myshak and Leeland Bachelet, and young singer guitarist Piper Stoyko warming up the quickly growing crowd. At 7:00, the country & gospel band added their professional sounding touch to the evening. What soon became evident was a greater need for seating, and not long into the Rod & Friends set, all the tables disappeared to make room for additional chairs, and some preferred to stand at the back of the room with a clear view of the band. The group did such a great job of performing, the audience clamoured for an encore.

Shortly after 9:00, the Open Mike session started with fiddle players, and a special treat from Darrell Ball as he brought out his saxophone for a couple of light jazz numbers which enthralled the audience. Singers Piper Stoyko and Gabrielle de Gouw entertained with their youthful passion for singing, and Jean Galandy danced to the fiddle playing of Heather Soldan. Unexpected guests Jennifer De Forest and Johanna Zerbinos sang beautiful harmony accompanied by their guitar, banjo and mandolin. Near the end of the evening were a few sing-a-long folk and country songs led by Don Thompson, Mike Dalton and MC Don Harfield. Closing off the evening was Leanne Grinde on the fiddle with a couple of sweet sounding tunes for lingering melodies in everyone’s ears.