Snoqualmie Valley Record


All-American live music coming to Carnation Fourth of July

July 2, 2013 · 1:56 PM

Local vocalist Rene Wolf performs at Tolt-MacDonald Park. She’ll sing ‘God Bless the USA’ before the fireworks. / Courtesy photo

By Kira Clark

SVR Intern

Be prepared to dance, rock-out and clap your hands during live music at the Carnation Fourth celebration. The electric lineup includes the acoustic rock, jazz and rock-n-roll.

Jeff Zuber

Jeff Zuber will be performing after the parade, at the Parade Stage. Zuber is a singer and song writer who will be playing a combination of familiar tunes and original pieces.

Recognizable music might include songs by James Taylor and Jimmy Buffet.

Zuber wrote one piece, ‘Blown Up on the Fourth of July,’ specifically for the Carnation celebration.

The song is about an older fellow who takes his lawn chair down to main street to watch the parade. When his wife finds out that he has been looking at the pretty girls she lays into him and blows up on the Fourth of July.

“It’s a comedy song about a guy who is enjoying the Fourth of July too much,” Zuber said.

Zuber has been playing music for more than 30 years and has performed at the Carnation Fourth the last three years. Whenever Zuber performs he tries to engage his audience.

“I have lots of good stories to go with the songs,” said Zuber. “I really enjoy the crowd and try to be very interactive.”

Brooks Band

Greg Brooks and his wife, Francie, perform acoustic rock, 5:30 p.m. at Tolt-MacDonald Park.

The Brookses’ music is a blend folk, rock and mountain blues. The majority of their songs are original compositions. Pieces were specifically chosen to create a warm and enjoyable concert. The Brookses’ songs include, the ‘Big Picture Show,’ ‘Your Life’ and ‘Seeing the Good Days.’

The couple began singing and performing together in college. They often tell the story of how they met during performances. While studying music at Bellevue College, Greg passed Francie in the lobby, waiting to try out for the vocal jazz ensemble. She was sitting on the ground, cross-legged, holding her jaw. Greg made a smart-aleck comment, to which she responded sharply. Several years later, they were married.

Their love of music drew them together and their repertory reflects it. Greg and Francie collaborate in nearly every aspect of song writing. One of Greg’s original pieces, ‘You’re the Best,’ was inspired by his love for Francie.

Both Brookses invite everyone to come out for some foot-tapping, rockin’, rhythmic, easy listening music.

“We really like to be out there in a big energetic way,” said Greg. “We’re going for a really big sound.”

Ben Parish Band

The Ben Parish Band plays at 6:45 p.m. at Tolt-MacDonald Park, performing jazz standards from the 1950s and 1960s.

Some of the tunes might sound similar to movie or Broadway soundtracks, like ‘Guys and Dolls’ or ‘Oklahoma.’ A standard is not song with scripted notes and rhythms, but more like a theme or tune that is improvised upon each time the band plays.

“Each band has its own flavor of how a standard is played,” explained Parish.

He believes one distinctive characteristic of jazz music is its spontaneity. A good musician grooves and adds to his fellow band members’ impromptu bars.

Parish and his fellow band members try to communicate to each other on stage and create a carefree and enjoyable atmosphere for their audience.

“We want to create something spontaneous and pleasing to the ear,” said Parish. “A lot of what we do up there isn’t planned.”

Jazz, much like the American spirit, is free and distinctively diverse. Jazz was born in the early twentieth century. During a vast migration of African Americans into Northern cities, classical music met blues in the clubs and dance halls of Harlem.

“Jazz is a really cool thing that was literally born out of separate cultures merging, which is a lot like America,” said Parish. “So I think it is fitting that we play jazz music on the day we celebrate America’s birth.”

Jack Ballard Band

The Jack Ballard Band plays at 8 p.m. June 4, at the Tolt-MacDonald Park. Their music will be heavy on the rock and blues with a little mix of pop, country, folk and original pieces. Their repertory will include Highway 61, Brown Eyed Girl, Moon Dance and Get Together.

Jack Ballard, who leads the band, has written and performed folk, rock, blues and country songs professionally since 1967. He was classically trained as a cellist. He joined his first cover band as a vocalist and guitar player at 17.

His older brother knew of a band needing a vocalists and recommended Ballard. Ballard got his start with Gary Gill playing at the Olympic Hotel in downtown Seattle. He has performed in nightclubs throughout the Puget Sound with a variety of bands. Now, in the Jack Ballard Band, Gill and Ballard are groovin’ together once again.

Rene Wolf

Rene Wolf will be singing “God Bless the USA” before the fireworks display at 10 p.m. on the Fourth of July at the Tolt-MacDonald Park.

Wolf chose to sing “God Bless the USA” because she believed the lyrics would be a good reminder of what it means to be free.

“It makes me really realize that I am glad to live in America,” said Wolf.  “It’s a celebration of our Independence.”

As a high school student living in a small town, Wolf realizes that her freedom to learn and grow should not be taken for granted.

One of the things Wolf is most thankful for is the freedom to sing. She sings in the Cedarcrest High School choir and on the worship team for her youth group at Redemption Church.

“I don’t play sports,” said Wolf. “So singing is kind of like my sport.”  Wolf wants to use her voice to bless and touch other people. She was glad to sing last year and is excited to sing again.


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