Peru-based band Just Us
If you go:
What: Say Goodbye to Winter bash
When: Saturday, April 20, 8 p.m.-midnight
Where: Bowl Mart, 277 State Rt. 11, Champlain
Cost: $3 per person or $5 per couple. Proceeds benefit the Samuel de Champlain Center Stage in Rouses Point.
Steve Merchant is sick of winter.
To prove it, he’s organized a “Say Goodbye to Winter” bash at Bowl Mart Lanes in Champlain on Saturday, April 20.
The event, which has more of a say “good riddance to winter” theme, is the second of its kind for the area.
Proceeds from the event will go toward improving the Samuel de Champlain Center Stage in Rouses Point.
The Peru-based band Just Us will provide music for the celebration.
The band has been around for 28 years, but rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist Joe Holland and bassist and vocalist Keith Collins are the only founding members still in the group.
Lead guitarist and vocalist Gene Palmer, who has been with the band for five years, and drummer Keith Bushey, who has three years with the band, will complete the quartet on Saturday.
The band’s members might have changed through the years, but some things haven’t—Just Us has always played classic rock, country rock and blues covers, and also likes to throw in some modern rock.
It’s all just a part of life for Holland, who has been playing guitar since he was 10 years old.
“It’s pretty much honed into me,” Holland said. “I think my dad was the first person to realize it. He bought me an old Sears Silver Tone guitar and I went through the blisters, got to playing, and have been doing it ever since.”
The desire to play music, and to keep playing music, is something Holland understands and wants everyone to have access to.
“Steve called me up and said he wanted to keep the stage going this year,” Holland said. “Whether our band plays or not, it (Center Stage) is good for the community. I would hate to see something like that fall to the wayside.”
And if Merchant is successful, Center Stage will never fall to the wayside.
The 20-foot wide by 30-foot long stage was constructed four years ago using a combination of grants and donations from local businesses and individuals.
To date, about $30,000 has been put into it, but it isn’t finished yet.
“We still want to finish up and put stage lighting in there, and possibly build a dressing room off the back,” Merchant said.
Money raised at the Say Goodbye to Winter bash will go toward putting the finishing touches on the stage.
The bash will also serve as a precursor to the Rouses Point Summer Series, which will begin in July and include a variety of weekly performances ranging from magicians to bands.
Merchant sees more than entertainment value in Center Stage, though. He believes it is an asset, and that it has given people a reason to visit Rouses Point.
“There’s so much talent in the North Country, whether it be young or old, and they never get a chance to perform,” Merchant said. “This stage is giving people a chance to get out there and showcase themselves.”