“My mother tells me that I was singing along with the radio and recognizing singers at the very early age of 2,” says Larry. His interest in recording artists, their record labels, and chart positions expanded from there into a full-blown passion for collecting vinyl, especially music from the 50’s, 60’s, and 70’s. He frequently draws from this bank of knowledge when introducing and arranging songs for the group to perform.
Larry began taking guitar lessons at 15, but quit when he became impatient to play the music that inspired him. Playing songs by ear, he founded and performed in several bands during his teens and high school days including later, a band of teachers that continued for 23 years over the span of his 33⅓ years of high school teaching.
“For me,” says Larry, “<<REWiND<< offers the opportunity to perform and share my love for these songs with those who feel the same.”
Music has been an essential part of Gord’s life for over 50 years, starting at the age of 7 when he first learned to play the drums. He performed his first professional gig with some “old-timer legionnaires” at the ripe old age of 9, and he has continued to develop as a musician ever since. In addition to his experience and skill as an accomplished drummer, his repertoire of instruments has grown over the years to include the trombone, trumpet, guitar, bass, and keyboards. “The more I played, the more I wanted to diversify,” he confides. And through his engagements with countless bands locally and abroad, performing everything from rock to jazz, he developed a love for vocal harmonies and a keen desire to focus on singing.
Gord has always been impressed with groups who can sing, realizing how difficult it can be to find that right blend of individuals with voices that work well together. “Luck has brought this group together… voices that are perfectly matched. Somehow this just happened.” He smiles as he shares his thoughts about the music of <<REWiND<<
“That ‘street corner harmony’, the doo wop-style music of the 50’s and 60’s has always been my preference. You just can’t help but sing along, tap a toe and dance to it!”
Linda Burgess Ruppel
Linda remembers fondly those sultry summer afternoons, walking down West Kildonan sidewalks, listening and singing along to 1950’s and 60’s rock and roll on her little black transistor radio. Although it has been quite a while since those childhood days, the memories, the lyrics, and their melodies come flooding right back whenever she “rewinds” and hears them again.
“It is such a pleasure for me to be performing these tunes with this wonderful group of talented people,” she enthuses.
Linda is no stranger to performance. She has an extensive background as an actor, director, and teacher of drama and theatre. But although the stage feels like home, she admits that performing as a singer is a bit of a departure and a welcome challenge for her.
“I’m having such a blast,” she says. “The music of <<REWiND<< not only brings me back, it makes me feel like a kid again!”
“It all started in a small 500 watt radio station in Fresno, California…actually it didn’t” quips Harvey. But then he admits, “It probably all started when my older brother brought home his first 45 record, Rhythm of the Rain by the Cascades.”
That may have been his introduction to the popular music of the 60’s, but Harvey’s love and pursuit of music was encouraged at a young age by his mother, who listened to Saturday afternoon opera on CBC Radio. He started singing in his Winnipeg synagogue choir with Cantor Brownstone, and he continues to enjoy choral music to this day as a member of the University of Manitoba Bison Men’s Chorus.
Harvey and Larry met over 30 years ago when they worked at a local high school and collaborated together as members of a staff rock and roll band. Their friendship grew through their mutual love for the music of the rock, pop, and doo wop era.
“The move to create <<REWiND<< was a natural,” he says. “I’m thrilled to be bringing back the music and the memories.”
Gloria has been singing since her preschool years. “I’ve always loved music,” she says. “I remember when I was a little girl and my mom would bring my sister and me with her to the Union Centre. I would spend the entire time beside the jukebox and people would put in quarters to listen to me sing along.”
Gloria spent her high school years at Glenlawn Collegiate, noted for its performing and fine arts programs. There she performed in as many vocal groups, bands, and drama productions as she could manage. Since then she has kept music in her life in a variety of ways, including working as a karaoke hostess and singing in rock bands with teacher colleagues. She is now thrilled to be a member of <<REWiND<<
She smiles, “Being a part of this group brings back some of the happiest memories of my life.”
“I cannot remember a time when music didn’t consume me,” smiles John. “In my earliest memories, I can hear the music emanating from the station wagon radio, mixed with the smoke from Dad’s pipe, while rambling down the highway to our summer vacation trailer. The destination was West Hawk Lake and I knew that every Saturday night I would be enraptured by the talents of yet another great band, as they filled Jack’s Dance Hall with their rock and roll.”
As a young man, John frequented every live performance and dance his allowance could fuel. It didn’t take him long to recognize the explosion of talent on the Winnipeg music scene. It was at the Champlain Community Club where he first stood “in reverence” and watched the finger stylings of Randy Bachman. “My fervor to learn the guitar was set alight. I had to play.”
With a little help from his friends (who shared in his devotion), along with a Vox piggy-back amp and a Kay guitar, John formed a back-lane garage band and he began playing at community clubs and school dances. His band’s unwavering infatuation with performing brought so much excitement to his youth. “Friendship and music were all we needed,” confides John. “It was what we grew from.”
Fast forward many years…”Not that many!” he is quick to add… and his family’s shared love of music is inspiring him to continue his musical journey to this day. “When I was invited to play bass for <<REWiND<< I jumped at the chance to join this five-part vocal group that brings new life to all those vintage dance hall, record player, and car radio tunes of my youth.”
Friendship and music… John has been riding the musical wave of good times with <<REWiND<< ever since!
At first glance he may appear to be too young for a band that plays 50’s, 60’s, and even 70’s rock, pop, and doo wop. A member of the Baby Boomer Echo generation, his teen years coincided with the emergence on the pop charts of “boy bands” like Boyz II Men, rappers, and hip hop videos. But don’t let first impressions fool you! With his keen ear and great sense of rhythm, Chris behind the drum kit at a <<REWiND<< performance makes perfect sense! As sound engineer for both of the band's albums, Come Go With Us! and Let's Go To The Hop!, Chris has come to know all of the <<REWiND<< repertoire like the back of his hand. “I love that music!” he enthuses. “And knowing everyone in the band and all of the fun everyone has…well, it has just made it so easy to join and blend in!”
Chris remembers his very first exposure to the iconic tunes on the band’s playlist. “My mom had these crazy old headphones that were too big for her head. I was 3 or 4 years old and my brothers and I would take turns putting on the headphones to sing along to her music.” Chris grew up with an intense passion for music of all genres and styles, but he was already in his mid-twenties when he came to try his hand at drumming. One day at his cousins’ place, his wife Marie sat down at a drum kit they had set up in their basement. “She played a solid beat and a drum fill and I thought: anything you can do…!” He took a shot and enjoyed it, so he started teaching himself. Before long he was drumming for his first band Split Crooked, which featured his friend Randy on guitar and lead vocals, Marie on back-up vocals, and his brother Jared on bass. They performed together for 5 years until they disbanded in 2014, leaving the door wide open for Chris to join <<REWiND<<
“Music is necessary for me,” Chris confides. “I couldn’t live without it. It’s like the soundtrack for my life. I drive with music; I work with music; I play music. I’m playing and I’m having fun. When you see the crowd having such a good time, everybody up dancing…it blows me away! It’s hard not to have fun when that happens!”
At the tender age of five, Rick’s introduction to playing music was somewhat inauspicious. “My parents wanted me to take piano lessons, not because of music, but in order for me to improve my coordination!” he explains laconically. But by the time he was 12 and he walked into the music room at his junior high school, coordinated or not, he was excited and enthralled by the sound that struck his ears. There and then, he became determined to learn to play jazz and pop. “I walked in and they were doing a jazz jam on Louie, Louie and I really liked that!” He found he had been bitten by the bug.
Two older black friends of the family, Fletcher and Cleve Langford – brothers who had been born and raised near Halifax, Nova Scotia in the 1930’s – introduced him to gospel, blues, and boogie stylings. Their influence, alongside his parents’ suggestion to study music at the Brandon University School of Music, propelled him on his way to what he anticipated would be a career as a jazz pianist…or so he thought. Sometimes Life can steer us down alternate roads we can never prepare for or foresee, and in Rick’s case, his course was happily altered when the lovely young Music Education student, Michèle, walked into his world. Suddenly, the life of an itinerant musician was no longer so attractive. New plans to become a husband and father took precedence, informing his ultimate decision to become a music teacher. It is in this capacity that he found the opportunity to enrich the lives of others as well as his own, by instilling his love for music and performance in the hearts of hundreds of students over the course of his 30-year career.
Rick joined <<REWiND<< in the summer of 2015. His keen, expert ear is a boon to our five vocalists, and his participation on keyboards, saxophone, flute, and electric guitar brings the band’s sound to a fuller and more sophisticated level. The solo bits that Rick plays “are the crucial character parts that make the tunes so memorable, which opens up a whole new world for the<<REWiND<< sound.” Rick feels a responsibility to “bring the flavor of the original songs to the audience”.
Becoming a member of <<REWiND<< is providing Rick with one more opportunity to engage with musicians and to perform for appreciative audiences. “Music is my life. I can’t imagine living without it!”
At the age of 10, Ken became interested enough in music to want to play guitar, so his mother brought home a $5 guitar and the adventure began. After struggling for a year on his own he was able to start lessons, which served as the beginning of a lifelong endeavour of playing and singing for anyone who would listen. The music of entertainers such as John Denver, Harry Chapin, Cat Stevens, and Valdy became a huge influence in the development of his style of play. Then at the age of 19, what started off as a dare to go on stage with a band in a bar became the launching point for a 40-year career playing in lounges around Winnipeg, southern Ontario, and even the Grand Canyon! “In 1979,” Ken recalls, “I was asked to perform at the Centennial Concert Hall for Country Jam 79, and after playing a set of John Denver songs I was given the nickname Kenny Denver! Far out!”
When asked by <<REWiND<< to handle the sound duties for the band, Ken was surprised and humbled at the same time. “I’m enjoying being on the other side of the microphone for a change,” he admits, “and I derive great pleasure in helping to provide the best possible sound for such an immensely talented group!”
Reflecting on where the future will take REWiND on its musical journey, Ken says, “It’s anyone’s guess. But it’s sure to be a fun ride! Hope to see you soon at a concert near you! Cheers!”
It was at a Guitar Hero video game competition, at the Polo Park shopping centre in Winnipeg, that 10 year-old Kasey Kurtz invited his uncle Larry to see him play. “He was wearing a cool Santana T-shirt,” recalls Kasey, and coincidentally Kasey was to play a Santana song in the contest. Having mastered the challenge of the video game, young Kasey found himself asking the question, “Now what?” The answer came quickly. “Do it for real!”
He had already been trained in music fundamentals, having taken piano lessons since the age of four. After the competition, Larry introduced Kasey to the guitar. Soon Kasey began formal guitar lessons. In middle school he formed a band with two of his buddies, with Kasey on guitar and vocals. They called themselves “The Minority” (after a Green Day tune), and they continued to rehearse and perform pop-punk and rock tunes, with a few originals thrown in the mix, for the next 7 years. Eventually his friends pursued careers in health care, while Kasey decided to follow his passion for music at the post-secondary level. His high school music teacher and lead trumpet player for the Winnipeg Jazz Orchestra, Jeff Johnson, sang Kasey’s praises to the professors in the jazz program at the University of Manitoba, and encouraged Kasey to audition. He was invited to enroll with enthusiasm and a full-tuition scholarship. Steve Kirby, former Director of Jazz Studies at the U of M, would later refer to him as “the next #1 jazz guitarist in Canada!”
Over his 5-year period of studies at the U of M, Kasey credits one of the best jazz guitarists in the city and his professor, Larry Roy, as his mentor and the most influential teacher, but he also cites others who have inspired him, including Wes Montgomery and Pat Metheny. He recalls being privileged to play with New York jazz pianist Christian Sands as “one of the most inspiring and memorable moments I’ve experienced." Yet given his talent and enjoyment playing jazz, Kasey still loves the 50's, 60's, and 70's music in REWiND’s repertoire. “I’m really happy to get a chance to play it, rather than to just listen to it. It’s nice to be able to take out that old rock guitar!” Kasey also plays keyboards and saxophone for REWiND, and notes that maintaining proficiency on multiple instruments supports his career goal of becoming a high school band teacher.
<<REWiND<< may be committed to reviving the so-called Oldies, but the band’s look just keeps getting younger! Especially with the introduction of our newest member, Kasey Kurtz, who has now come full circle, from playing the music of Santana on Guitar Hero to playing Black Magic Woman with <<REWiND<<. Doing it for real!