Feature Story                                                                                                           Friday, August 30, 2013


It's Only Rock 'n Roll

Party in the Park wraps up with stellar performances

Staff/Voice photos


Heart of Stone takes a bow after an energetic show. Below, talented Kianna Nicholson, 14, sang to an appreciative crowd.


he final Party in the Park, hosted by the Downtown Business Improvement Association, went beyond expectations with superbly crafted performances from Kianna Nicholson, Mike Bertini, Dixon Road, Dave Martone with Kadabra and Heart of Stone.


The event kicked off with the 14-year-old Nicholson whose strong vocals and a naturally relaxed presence, made it easy to see why she was chosen to sing at the event.


According to Nicholson’s mom, Dayle, who was also at the show, her daughter has been singing and dancing for most of her life, but turned it up a notch when she started vocal training about 4 years ago. She’s also picked up some piano and guitar along the way.


Earlier this summer, Nicholson advanced to the semi-finals in the coveted Valley Voices Vocal Competition.


“On August 2, she sang two songs live on stage at the Abbotsford Agrifair and then went on to make the finals as one of the top six,” explained the proud mom. “The top six performed with a live band for the final and she was crowned the winner.”


Nicholson has been making quite an impression all up and down the Valley. The talented young performer has also been featured on Joy TV and Shaw On the Go. Watch for her singing the national anthem at upcoming Chilliwack Chiefs games.


Following Nicholson on stage was singer and guitarist Mike Britini who made the trek to Chilliwack from North Vancouver.


The Bertini's have music coursing through their veins.


Bertini’s sister Cristina recently returned from a trip to New York City, where she had the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall as part of "The American High School Honors Performance Series".  


Even though Bertini is a relative newcomer to the music scene, he’s already inked a two-year deal with the Darcy D Music Group. But for now, he’s in the trenches getting material ready for production.



Mike Bertini put on a solid performance. Below, Dixon Road play their unique brand of C&W.


“For the past couple of years I've really been getting into writing and just signed with Darcy and am going to be working with him for two years,” said Bertini. “He has a lot of connections, so we’re going to work on my career as an artist and hopefully get a record deal by the end of it.”


Bertini’s parents fully back their son’s musical ambitions.


“I think it's great, he's got a good road ahead,” said Bertini’s dad Rob. “He's doing a great job and my wife supports him totally.”


Popular local band Dixon Road were next up on stage and treated crowds in the Central Community Park bowl to their own exceptional brand of country music.


Dixon Road is comprised of lead singer/guitarist Frank Ratzlaff, his wife Julie on vocals, Rod Penner on bass guitar and percussionist Dave Rader.


The band has been getting radio airplay with songs like “Diamond Ring” and  “Long Ride”.


A review on their website says “Dixon Road's unique style in both song writing, and delivery, will put them on today's country music map. There's a new road on that music map, and it's Dixon Road.”


They’ve played at Mountainfest in Merrit and have been nominated for three CAMEO awards.


Another highly anticipated feature act was Dave Martone and KaDaBrA. When this band is on stage, you can count on them to burn it up. Last year they played Party in the Park and were well received.


Some reviewers have called Martone one of the country’s best guitarists. Last Friday, he put on a clinic and had the crowd on their feet. Imagine Jose Feliciano on steroids. This guy is so blistering fast he that has to put a damper on it so his band can keep up with him.



Dave Martone put on a stunning guitar show again this year. Below, Mick Believe and Heart of Stone played a convincing set of classic Rolling Stones songs to wind up the evening.


Together, KaDaBrA is a dynamic unit. The guitar work of Paul Poulsen and bassist Myles Bigelow compliment Martone’s style and a Cajun box drum give the band a unique festive sound.


Also featured in the final show was the five-piece Vancouver band called Champagne Republic who play classic and contemporary soul, funk and R&B.


The band formed last year around lead singer Emily Chambers, who together with guitarist Marty Majersky, keyboardist Philip Laessoe, bassist Eric Lipshultz and Nathan Whylie on drums have played at various festivals around the Lower Mainland including the Vancouver Music Festival.


Chambers released a single called Feet on the Ground after busking her way around Europe.


The group released a debut album of original songs earlier this year with the title track called Let's Get It On.


If you like the Rolling Stones music then the final act of the year, Vancouver band Heart of Stone, was well worth waiting for.


The group is billed as one of the best Stones tributes in the world and not only does dynamic lead singer and master showman Steve Stone, a.k.a. Mick Believe, look like Jagger, but he also has the moves like him. Stone has also appeared as Jagger in the movie “The Watchmen”.


This guy eats up the stage with explosive energy and had the audience pressing the stage in an arm-waving frenzy as the band rattled off classics like Under My Thumb and Angie.


Other convincing look-alike members are Elio “Keef” Martelli, Garry “Wyman” Koenig and John “Charlie” Cody.


Together with all their sponsors, including Coast Capital Savings and Safeway, the BIA put together a wonderful series of events and made the summer a memorable one.


See more photos highlights below.



Darcy D Music Group - Event Promoter



Downtown Chilliwack BIA



Stage and lighting by Tractorgrease Multimedia



Sound by Go Audio




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