By Alan Paden
Hear the call, “Come one, come all, to the Woodmen Hall and have a ball.” Lopez Island will be coming together Saturday, Nov. 25 from 6:30–10:30 p.m. to raise money for the families of Russ Levine and Mike Conners. Levine has been a pillar of the Lopez community for three decades and was one of the original founders of the band Santos de Lopez which is reuniting for this benefit. Mike has resided with his family on Lopez and Waldron for a quarter century and is an important part of both communities. Both of these gentlemen were recently diagnosed with cancer. To help them out we are putting together this “old-school” Lopez Community Benefit Dance. Our mission is to bring the community together through dance and compassion to raise funds for these two families.
This event will feature three local bands.
• Santos de Lopez was a very popular 12-piece Caribbean dance band based on Lopez from about 1990–1996. It started as a ‘rhythm workshop’ hosted by Levine and Hawk Arps in 1989. Before moving to Lopez, Arps had been playing in and arranging for a steel drum band in Seattle, and Levine had been playing in a Cuban band in that Emerald City as well. ‘Santos’ incorporated guitars, horns, percussion, and singers with a deep foundation in Caribbean rhythms and it turned into a very lively band. At their first “gig” they presented 15 members at a time when the population of the island was approximately 1,500 people. Through the early ‘90s Santos de Lopez frequently played benefit dances to help raise funds for our Lopez neighbors who were struggling with health or other issues. At these events all ages would come together, usually at the Legion Hall (now known as the Woodmen Hall), and parents would boogie the evening away while children ran around playing, or danced, or fell asleep in out-of-the-way places. These events were truly a benefit for everybody involved, especially the vibrant Lopez community spirit which was nourished by the compassion of the islanders coming together in dance on a neighbor’s behalf. This event’s revived incarnation of Santos will feature 10 musicians.
• The Fieldboats are a popular quartet of Lopez musicians playing original songs with a ton of Northwest heart. The tunes are written by Chris Aiken and deftly arranged and harmonized by fellow band-mates Kevin Sullivan and brothers Don and Doug Poole. Their sound is unique and captivating, and leaves the listener with lovable and lasting ear-worms.
• MPPACT (Music Production and Performance Artist Collective) brings together the cream of the crop of Lopez High School musicians and features the extremely talented Sovelove brothers, Jack and Tyler, the ever-so-groovy Quinn Steckler, and the smooth vocals of Grace Zoerb, Matalika Lyons, and Isara Greacen. The youth band will perform indie-rock originals and R&B covers.
The event will include a silent and a live auction featuring one-of-a-kind pieces from artists Skyriver/O’Dell, Kestrel Tools, Heather Arps, and many others as well as important-to-get experiences (for when your family visits) like a weekend stay at a local cabin, boat rides for you and your guests, musical entertainment for your party, local food, hand-made gifts and much more.
So come on out to the Woodmen Hall on Saturday, Nov. 25, and party like it’s 1994. Suggested donation to this event is $15 for adults and $5 for teens, but any contribution will get you into the festivities.