Music in the Park continues with the smooth, engaging sounds of Red Deer-based band Funhouse on July 19.
Performances in the series start at 6:30 p.m. on the Lacombe Memorial Centre’s Echo Stage.
Funhouse came out of another band called Porter, explained Haeley Porter Ginter, the band’s lead singer, who also works as a professional vocalist with both speaking and singing projects.
“Porter started around 2007, right around there. The core members were me, Dave Mousseau, and Peter Vruwink.” The three actually had a musical history that stretched back to the 80s.
Fast-forward several years. The three had become busy with careers, raising families – you name it.
Then one day, they were all attending a baby shower. “We hadn’t seen each other in years, and Dave was like, ‘Hey, you know, we should get together and play!’
“When you are a musician, it’s about the collaboration. There’s something about it I can’t explain. And you can’t let it slide,” she said.
“We really missed it. So it was that baby shower that brought us back together, back in around 2007. Dave had access to a space in downtown Red Deer,” she recalled. So it wasn’t long before they were jamming again, writing tunes and loving every minute of it.
Guitarist Peter Greaves soon signed on.
“Peter was an absolutely natural fit for the group. Just instantly you could feel it – the day he walked through the door.”
Accomplished local keyboardist Morgan McKee also joined the group for a time and eventually guitarist Greg Boulay came on board as did Ricardo Villacorta.
No matter who is lending their talents, the commitment is clear.
“Every single member of the group feels a sense of personal responsibility to the band – when we show up to every single rehearsal, everyone knows their parts – without fail,” said Ginter.
Rehearsing provides lots of time for tweaking and perfecting their sound – and just for kicking back and having fun. Thus the thoroughly suitable moniker ‘Funhouse’.
“When we get together, there is so much love between the members and so much respect,” she explained. “We’ve never had a cross word or an issue. I think people can see it onstage as well because when we are up there – we are having so much fun playing together.
“We literally just love what we do together, and we really look forward to it.”
For Ginter, a passion for music was there from the get-go.
“The attraction to music was there, but the main thing that pulled me into music was school band,” she recalled. She discovered the saxophone and was struck by its smooth, compelling sound.
And that was it.
“I think there are serendipitous moments in life that are burned in your memory,” she said of when she first saw her friend’s sax. There was something about it. “It was a moment I will never forget!”
Pretty soon, she was playing in the school’s band and loving every minute of it.
“From there, I joined the Red Deer Royals,” she added. The creative boundaries continued to expand as her superb vocal skills started taking shape, too.
And the rest, as they say, is history – with all of the ways Ginter has been entertaining audiences all over the place ever since.
She was also the anthem singer for the Red Deer Rebels for 13 years.
“When I approach a piece of music, I have so much regard and respect for it. It’s this combination of harmonics, emotion, and perspective. I can’t think of a lot of other things like that outside of the arts.
“There’s something that happens when you get on a stage, too. There is this complete attention and openness that happens. We are inviting the audience into this lovely collaboration that we have as a group,” she said. “We want them to be a part of it, too – to ‘link’ in.”
Meanwhile, as to the Funhouse sound, diversity is the defining term. They can serve up pretty much anything from classic country and rock to jazz to those instantly-recognizable, shimmering pop hits that never fade a whit in popularity.
But the ultimate goal is rather singular.
“We play music that gets people on the dance floor. That is the number one thing.”
Next up in the Music in the Park series, which is presented by the Lacombe Performing Arts Centre, is Alecia Aichelle on July 12.