BOOM! goes in an experimental direction 

Fundraising night for The Point brings four very different musicians together

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - Doctor and (new) friends Doc Fingers, Laurie Lyster, Simon Stribling and Rajan Das perform at BOOM! at The Point.
  • Photo submitted
  • Doctor and (new) friends Doc Fingers, Laurie Lyster, Simon Stribling and Rajan Das perform at BOOM! at The Point.

Stephen Vogler says exciting things can happen when you take a risk.

This is why BOOM!, the annual fundraiser for The Point Artist-Run Centre, which he manages, is going with the theme of collaboration and experimentation this year, its fifth.

Blues, jazz, roots and New Orleans swing will fill the air around the centre, located on Alta Lake in Whistler.

"It plays into the musical choice for the evening, having musicians who can cross over in styles. They're all great musicians and we're throwing them together into a pot. It will be fun to see what they will do," Vogler says.

Doc Fingers, who belts out boogie-woogie, rock, ballads and jazz on the piano, agrees. He will take the stage with percussionist Lauri Lyster, multi-instrumentalist Simon Stribling and bassist Rajan Das. It will be the first time the quartet has played together.

The house musician for the Il Caminetto di Umberto restaurant, Doc is intrigued by the prospect.

"Raj has sat in with me a couple of times with my band. I really like his playing. I don't know the others at all. It's going to be a total experimentation," Doc says.

The event — full name is BOOM! Boomers and Boomerangs Recall the Good Ol' Bad Days — takes place on Saturday, May 23, at the Point.

Doc adds that he plays with a lot of musicians in a lot of styles.

"I've been playing with musicians who don't know each other for all my life," he says. "I won't do it unless they are top players. If they are top players then it's never a problem."

It will be a case of standing onstage and discovering the talent of other musicians in front of an audience, something that is a lot of fun.

"It's also known as throwing yourself to the wolves, I believe," Doc laughs.

"I like doing it, absolutely. Whatever doesn't kill you makes you stronger."

Doc takes his own four-piece band and collaborators around the world; with connections built from many years of playing in Zermatt, Switzerland, to jazz festivals closer to home. Most recently he had a long residence in Zermatt at the opening of a new nightclub.

"It was the first time in 12 years that my quartet had played in Zermatt," he says.

He says his secret is that the players in his band tend to be better than he is.

"When I put a band together I want to be learning something. That is my mode of operation," Doc says.

His motto, which he picked up from rockabilly legend Ronnie Hawkins, with whom he performed, is to "play great, look great, and mix well with the customers."

Lyster is looking forward to the chance to play with Doc and the others.

"The whole concept of bringing together people in the community who don't normally play together is a neat idea," she says.

"It's not like we're going to rehearse 85 times, but we won't need to. We're in discussions right now about what tunes we like. It will be really fun to play with someone who already is firmly established in the artistic community.

"I'm very curious to see where the crossover is, looking on Doc's set list with a lot of pop tunes. We might just go off in different directions, too. That's one of the great things about collaborations with a tune that's well known in a certain way; we can take it somewhere else. We want to freshen things up."

Vogler says Das will be the "glue" that will bind the group together because he has performed with the other three artists.

There will also be a silent auction and a live auction of artwork by Lisa Geddes and Shelagh Thiessen, plus other donations.

A storytelling session, for anyone who wants to spend five minutes at the mic, is also on the bill.

"The stories that are good and fun are often a little risky, and it worked well last year. This year we are having prizes," says Vogler.

Dinner will be prepared by Joanna Faiella and Denise Hughes, with wines from BC Wine Studios and craft beer from Whistler Brewing Company.

Says Lyster: "Stephen is doing great work and we need to support that. Anything artistic in this community you need to support, or we won't have it. Same with seeing things at Millennium Place. It keeps good-quality music and theatre coming to the village... any chance to play and support Stephen, I'm in."

Tickets to BOOM! are available at www.thepointartists.com. Dinner tickets (only 60 available) are $40 and include food, show and an annual Point membership. Show-only tickets with membership are $25. Doors are at 6 p.m. for dinner and 7 p.m. for show only.

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