Centennial organizers announce performers for September 8th Centennial Celebration

August 3, 2012

The Township of Esquimalt Centennial Celebrations Select Committee has announced the roster of performers appearing on the main stage at the Esquimalt 100 Community Celebration at Esquimalt Gorge Park on September 8th, 2012.

“Our Esquimalt 100 Celebration at Gorge Park will be one of the largest events we’ve ever hosted with wonderful and diverse musical acts,” said Mayor Barbara Desjardins. “We’re inviting the Township — and the entire region — to come out and celebrate our milestone year at Gorge Park, the jewel in the crown of our municipal parks system.”

The celebration will showcase some of the most popular bands on the local and national scene. Headlining the evening’s entertainment is Canadian power-pop legends Odds. Popular at festivals and events across Canada, the group was also the “house band” for the Vancouver Canucks during the 2010 and 2011 playoffs. Also on the evening stage will be two-time Juno Award nominee and acoustically-driven folk artist Jeremy Fisher. Rounding out the evening’s entertainment will be Wasabi Collective from Nelson BC, which has been wowing audiences across the country with its fusion sound. The band has been hailed as one of Canada’s best live independent bands.

The afternoon lineup includes innovative musician and staple of the west coast music scene Daniel Lapp; Chris Frye with the Georgia Basin Beat Collective, his rotating collective of the finest roots and jazz musicians in Victoria; local R&B favorites the Soul Shakers; jazz and blues vocalist Maureen Washington with her quintet; and Fraser Campbell, author of the Esquimalt theme song “Esquimalt Shines.”

The day’s program at this free family event also includes a Garden Stage with performers to be announced shortly; a Kid’s Zone with games and bouncy castle; the Centennial Plaza, with informative displays and food vendors, voyageur canoe rides on the Gorge Waterway; walking tours through Gorge Park; and more.

Click here for Gorge Park site map showing location of stages and other event features.

Click here for the program of events.

For more news and updates on the Esquimalt 100 Community Celebration, also please visit www.esquimaltcentennial2012.ca.

Biographies of featured performers


Odds’ journey began in Vancouver in 1987, when Craig Northey (vocals-guitar), Steven Drake (vocals-guitar), Doug Elliott (bass) and Paul Brennan (drums) got together for reasons they couldn't figure out. Maybe that's why the name stuck. They released their first LP Neopolitan in 1991 – the album was a precocious demonstration of the band's ability to craft songs anchored by addictive melodies, clever lyrics, and classic pop arrangements. Odds then returned with 1993's Bedbugs, which featured favourites like “It Falls Apart” and “Heterosexual Man.” 1995 brought a line-up change as drummer Paul Brennen left the group during the recording of their watershed album Good Weird Feeling. Old friend Pat Steward, who had previously manned the kit for Bryan Adams, walked right in. That year saw the band break into the mainstream with hits “Truth Untold” and “Eat My Brain.” They quickly followed up with Nest in 1996, which featured the irresistibly catchy “Someone Who is Cool” as well as “Make You Mad” and “Nothing Beautiful.”

Northey, Elliott and Steward continued working together on music in the coming decade, forming new acts like instrumental Memphis soul group Sharkskin and Strippers' Union with Rob Baker of the Tragically Hip. Joined by new guitarist Murray Atkinson, the revitalized group recorded the stellar Cheerleader (2008) album, featuring the single “My Happy Place” (as heard in the outro for the hit show Corner Gas). The band continues to perform regularly, mostly at festivals and events across Canada including the enviable gig as the Vancouver Canucks 'house band' for the 2010 and 2011 NHL playoffs. 

Jeremy Fisher

Listening to Mint Juleps, the fifth album by two-time Juno Award nominee Jeremy Fisher, is like ambling through the long and relaxed dog days of summer. The acoustic-driven collection of 12 songs reunites Fisher with his folk-drenched musical roots and is a veritable throwback to the golden era of the singer-songwriter. An ode to the glory of the record as a whole, the sophistication of Mint Juleps is in its inherent simplicity. Recorded live off the studio floor, this decidedly unembellished method of capturing the songs was a challenge for Fisher, but it was also a liberating experience.

Jeremy Fisher has never really been one to build his career by travelling down the most obvious – or easiest – paths. His commitment to touring by bike is a case in point. Since 1998 he has completed the journey across North America an astonishing three times, and in 2010 he launched a unique tour of the west coast called The Malahat Revue with fellow artists Said the Whale, Hannah Georgas, and Aidan Knight. Call him a renaissance man, or even a modern-day folk hero. Whatever you call him, it’s clear that Jeremy Fisher is bringing back the nearly forgotten art of making a great record from start to finish, and forging a career path that is built to endure.

Wassabi Collective

Wassabi Collective is a spicy five-piece from the arty, alternative-thinking small town of Nelson, B.C, and has been busy spreading their positive west coast vibes. The band's sound fuses everything from pop, rock, hip hop, roots reggae, funk, jazz and everything in between, wrapping it all up with their own identifiable twist that has captivated dance floors and won them legions of fans across the country. Together, Melissa Meretsky (vocals& percussion), Brent Hongisto (vocals & guitar), Jimmy Lewis (vocals & drums) Rahj Levinson (keyboards) & Andrew McCormick (bass) are hailed as one of Canada's best live independent bands, having placed in the Peak Performance Project Top 20, they are ready to take the world by storm.

Daniel Lapp

Daniel Lapp has been an innovator, mentor and staple of the west coast music scene for over 20 years. Since learning his first tunes from his farming/fiddling grandpa, his work on the fiddle has garnered him praise from critics around the world and he has appeared on various prestigious world stages including the 2010 Opening Ceremonies where his ‘punk mohawk’ look captured the imagination of the country.


He has performed worldwide and shared the stage with symphony orchestras, Rickie Lee Jones, Beth Orton, Spirit of the West, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, John Hammond, Bowfire and Van Dyke Parks to name a few. His most recent project, Polkastra, co-lead with Lara St. John and an array of classical musicians from New York City has just recorded a follow-up album to their acclaimed sophomore album, Apolkalypse Now”

Georgia Basin Beat Collective

The Georgia Basin Beat Collective (GBBC) is led by Chris Frye on vocals and guitar and Brooke Maxwell on vocals, sax and piano. Both Brooke and Chris are proud residents and homeowners in Esquimalt, Chris since 1997 and Brooke since 2001. The group is a rotating collective of the finest roots and jazz musicians in Victoria and has been performing at select special gigs for the past 17 years.  Featured also for the Esquimalt 100 Celebration at Gorge Park are: Richard Moody, fiddle/vocals; Joey Smith, upright bass/vocals; Bill Hicks, drums/vocals. All of the members of the GBBC are renowned across Canada and North America at some of the finest in their craft, Chris and Rich with JUNO nominees The Bills, Joey with the Marc Atkinson Trio and the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and Bill with just about every great blues and R&B band in Canada.

The GBBC plays a rhythmic and rockin' mixture of jumped up music from 1930 to 2050! With a few original songs thrown in for good measure (listen for tunes with nods to Esquimalt in this show!).

The Soul Shakers

This six-piece band is fronted by Victoria's Queen of Soul, Joyce "The Voice" Allensen. This powerhouse vocalist loves to get the crowd up on its feet - not only with her knockout singing but her good humoured banter. The all-star veteran line-up includes saxophonist Scott Ramsay, guitarist Sean McCool, bassist Henning Kanstrup, drummer Matt Vause and keyboardist Peter Willing.

The Soul Shakers' brand of gritty, energetic R&B and soul includes contemporary tunes by Susan Tedeschi and Delbert McClinton as well as soul sanctified classics by Aretha Franklin, Sam & Dave, Stevie Wonder, James Brown and others. It is irresistible dance music — perfect for clubs, conventions, weddings, parties... anywhere where folks gather with a yen to boogie!

Maureen Washington

Maureen Washington Quintet

She slips easily from sassy to sexy within a single line of lyrics, at times echoing the haunting tones of Etta James and Carmen McRae, then faster than the mind and ear can make the transition, Maureen Washington exudes the impish irreverence of Jann Arden and the vocal agility of Holly Cole. And yet, with all splendor attached to such comparisons, Maureen’s musical style remains distinctly her own.

With more than a half dozen discs to her credit, Maureen is a popular performer at a wide range of events and venues around Vancouver Island, including the Victoria International Jazz Fest 2008 - 2012. Maureen was named Monday Magazine’s Jazz and Blues Artist of the Year, and was nominated for the Vancouver Island Music Awards’ Female Vocalist of the Year. Maureen will be backed by co-songwriter Daniel Cook, guitar; Sean Drabitt, bass; Damian Graham, drums; and Bryn Badel, trumpet. Both Daniel Cook and Bryn Badel work in Esquimalt and are excited to be showcasing their musical side to the community!

Fraser Campbell

Fraser Campbell wrote the Esquimalt Centennial theme song “Esquimalt Shines,” which has become an anthem and signature for the centennial year. Campbell is a gifted songwriter and recording artist whose songs radiate with passion and energy. Inspired to write music that is dynamic, original and edgy, Campbell has placed a strong emphasis on pushing the creative envelope in pop and gospel music while writing songs that are melodically attainable and memorable.

For more information, please contact:

Ritchie Morrison, Esquimalt Centennial 2012 Coordinator

Tel: 250-414-7122