September Bluegrass Concert
Calvin Church is pleased to present a bluegrass concert featuring the Sunny South Reunion Band as the second performance in its 2017 Concerts at Calvin series on Saturday, September 30th, at 3:00 p.m.
Following the program, visitors are invited to enjoy a Bluegrass sausage supper, featuring barbecued brats, corn on the cob and other regional offerings. A free will offering will benefit the Calvin music programs.
The original Sunny South band was formed in 1980 by four Portland area musicians who loved the original sounds of early Bluegrass music as it was played in the 1940s and 1950s. The band, consisting of Sonny Hammond (Guitar), Dave Elliot (Mandolin), Mike Stahlman (Banjo) and Tygh Traschel (Bass), became one of the premier Northwest Bluegrass bands of the 1980s, and played many concerts, shows and festivals up and down the west coast and into Canada for 12 years.
The band dissolved in 1992 due to Sonny's declining health and subsequent passing, but it left behind many fans who remembered the close, four-part harmonies, and sparkling instrumentals, that had become the band's trademark.
In 1998, The Oregon Bluegrass Association (OBA) honored Sonny by naming its annual gospel show the Sonny Hammond Memorial Gospel Show, because of his love of gospel music and the band's performances of many early gospel tunes. In 2016, the OBA asked the surviving members of Sunny South, who had moved on to other bands, to do a memorial gospel concert and perform some of the old Sunny South material as a way of honoring the OBA's roots. Dave, Tygh, and Mike asked an old friend and wonderful singer, Steve Reischman, to take Sonny's place in the group. In January 2017, the Sunny South Reunion Band performed at the OBA Gospel show to a sellout crowd who loved hearing the old melodies once again. Since then, the band has been asked to perform at numerous concerts and bluegrass festivals and has brought the old sounds of early bluegrass gospels and secular tunes to many folks. The music they play harkens back to Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, The Country Gentlemen, and other groups from the 30s and 40s, and showcases close, four-part harmonies with acoustic guitar, mandolin, banjo and bass accompaniment. The music will make you smile and carry you back to simpler times.