“Some people get together once a week to play bridge. We get together on Monday afternoons to play music,” says Mike McCann, for whom the band [email protected] is named. He and his seven fellow musicians gather at his place each week, bringing their assorted instruments and raising the roof in McCann’s oversized garage.
That musical talent will be transported to the Rotary Stage on Grand Bend’s main beach on Wednesday, August 29, at 7:00 p.m. for the final concert in this season’s Wednesday Familiar Favourites series. This is the fifth concert of familiar music this year, organized by the West Coast Lions Club of Grand Bend.
With McCann, who plays rhythm guitar, is Jordan Grainger on guitar, John Goodwin on bass, Dave Grainger on bongos and congas, Randy Menard on keyboards, Don Mehagan on drums, Jos Bervoets on harmonica, mandolin and percussion, and Mark Stegall on saxophone. Almost all of them provide vocals.
The members of [email protected] are all local to Grand Bend and are all good friends. “We work together on the arrangements and we all agree on the songs,” explains Goodwin, “We’ve never had a problem getting along.”
The group began about four years ago, when McCann hosted a Sunday afternoon party at his home, which turned into a jam session. A few friends continued to jam on occasional Sunday afternoons, calling themselves [email protected] As the group and the music evolved, they set Mondays as rehearsal day, and the name changed to [email protected] Soon they booked gigs at the Grand Bend Legion and the Colonial Hotel. They gathered fans and found an audience for their music. [email protected] is versatile – they cover rock ‘n’ roll hits of the 1960s and 70s, as well as blues, jazz, pop and even reggae.
“We like to have fun and we offer entertainment value,” says Goodwin. They want to make sure that while they are enjoying themselves, the audience is having fun, too. “Dancing is encouraged,” Goodwin adds.
The group includes a father-and-son team. While dad Dave Grainger is keeping rhythm on bongos, son Jordan Grainger is playing guitar. Drummer Don Mehagan points out that there is a 50 year age difference between himself and Jordan, who at 23, is the youngest member of the band. This is a testimony to the fact that the music they play crosses generations and erases any age differences, with its enduring appeal. “The songs are recognizable and everyone knows the tunes. We play everything from Hank Williams to Bob Marley,” Jordan says.
This marks the fourth time [email protected] has performed on Grand Bend’s beach. Twice they have appeared at the Optimists’ Beach Fest, and last year they opened when the Tragically Hip’s concert was on the big screen.
[email protected] performed at the Zurich Bean Festival on Saturday, August 25 prior to their Grand Bend appearance on August 29.
The West Coast Lions Club is working to ensure greater use of the Rotary Stage. The Municipality of Lambton Shores, NextEra Energy, Grand Bend Community Foundation, Royal Canadian Legion Branch 498, and Tourism Sarnia-Lambton are financially supporting the Concert Series. In addition, several community-minded businesses are sponsors: Geo-Teck Heating & Cooling; Physiotherapy Alliance; Hair Bend’rs; akSence Café, Catering & Gift Boutique; T. Harry Hoffman & Sons Funeral Home; and Denny’s Drive-In.
“Sadly, this is our last concert for 2018, in the Wednesdays’ Familiar Favourites Series,” says organizer Mary Alderson, “But if we can get the same support from our sponsors next year, we’ll be back again. We are so pleased with the community sponsorship and the huge crowds that have come out to support these concerts. And I want to give a shout out to my fellow Lions Club Members who work hard to put it all together.”
The West Coast Lions Club encourages everyone to come and asks that you please pay what you can to help with the costs. The Lions will have their popcorn cart on hand, with the freshly popped treat on sale. “Bring your lawn chair and enjoy the beautiful Lake Huron sunset,” Alderson adds. On Wednesdays, Beach Parking is free after 7:00 p.m. and Main Street Parking is free after 5:00 p.m. In case of rain, the concert will be moved to Huron Shores United Church at 25 Main Street.