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The Rojo's set to hit Lacombe's Music in the Park stage

Concerts featured in the series are presented by the Lacombe Performing Arts Society
The Rojo's will be performing on June 26 as part of Lacombe's Music in the Park series. (Photo submitted)

The Calgary-based RoJo's are next up in Lacombe's continuing Music in the Park series on June 26.

Concerts featured in the series, which is presented by the Lacombe Performing Arts Society, start at 6:30 p.m. on the Lacombe Memorial Centre’s Echo Stage.

The RoJo's, a gifted group whose members deftly draw on elements of classic rock, country, and blues, started as a duo with Roli Mack and his wife BJ back in 1998.

A band soon formed with the inclusion of guitarist Terry Case in 2001, and over the years they've had a few different drummers, too. The couple's nephew, Cody Burrell has also been with them on and off for the past decade or so.

"One very special note is that our rhythm guitar player has now become our drummer," explained Roli of Burrell.

"This was especially crazy as we had no idea he had an interest or could play the drums! He is doing fantastic!"

Roli said the band has been steadily performing and re-connecting with audiences since the harsh impacts of the pandemic on the 'live music' industry, and things are going well.

The band's passion for music energizes and inspires them every step of the way.

"Music is a very funny thing - once you are hooked, there is no going back. As hard as it can be to make a living at this, the rewards on a spiritual level are unexplainable.

"When we are having a particularly great performance, we hit a zone where it is magical and spiritual at the same time. It's that feeling when the hair stands up on your arms - you get goosebumps! And once you have felt that you are hooked for the rest of your life.

"We are so grateful those moments still happen on stage when we are together."

Over the years, there have been stylistic changes here and there as well.

"Styles evolve along with our personal development as musicians over time," he explained. 

"This has been great because truly, we just keep getting tighter and better as a band. Two things never change with us - we concentrate on vocals and of course on our interpretation of each cover tune," he noted.

For Roli, sharing his passion for music with a roster of students also fires him up as an artist.

"I have been teaching music since I was in my late 20s, and have found that in addition to the exhilarating feeling of guiding students through the process of growing into being able to express themselves through music, it also hones and sharpens your skills as well.

"Plus, it always feels good when parents report back to you that their children are doing better in school - there is a scientifically proven correlation between playing music and improving math and language skills - and that taking lessons is helping them with other issues like ADHD or spending too much time on their devices playing video games," he said.

As to his personal appreciation for music these days, it's a sprawling sonic landscape.

"There are so many great musicians! Blackberry Smoke is phenomenal, Shawn Mullins is a great songwriter, Miley Cyrus is evolving into a wonderful artist and Teddy Swims is a vocalist extraordinaire. I could go on for hours."

Meanwhile, Roli describes The RoJo's as truly a family band.

"My wife and our guitar player have been best friends for over 37 years. My wife and I have been together for 27 years, and our nephew is our drummer. So we all know each other inside and out. Being on stage is truly our safe space; the place where we can laugh, love, and enjoy the music we are creating."

Roli also noted how once the band hits the stage, any negative feelings that may be rolling around inside for whatever reason just melt away.

"Once we are on stage, or even rehearsing, you can't help but leave any bad feelings out - the space just fills with love. I know that sounds corny, but it is true.

"For us, the ability to also move and connect with people is the best feeling in the world. The energy that flows back and forth from us to the audience truly fills our souls and makes every moment special."

Next up in the Music in the Park Series is Juke on Canada Day at Cranna Lake, and following that Off the Rails performs July 3 back on the LMC Echo Stage.



Mark Weber

About the Author: Mark Weber

I've been a part of the Black Press Media family for about a dozen years now, with stints at the Red Deer Express, the Stettler Independent, and now the Lacombe Express.
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