The Vernon Jazz Club will be ringing in the new year with ‘70s soul, funk, disco, and R&B when Moni Funk takes over the stage Thursday, Dec. 31.
The band will be playing favourites such as Stayin’ Alive (Bee Gees), Lady Marmalade (Pattie Labelle), Le Freak (Chic), That’s the Way (KC and the Sunshine Band), and Dancing Queen (Abba).
Moni Funk is Monica Tracey (lead vocals), Carrie Edwards (vocals), Robert Escott (guitar), Stephen Buck (sax), Alex Buck (keyboards), Dan Summers (bass), and Brandon Campbell (drums).
Formed in 2009 by Tracey, Moni Funk is a dance review band whose motto is to have fun and entertain.
It all began when talented local players wanted to start a fun dance band with music that everyone would love.
“We were all seasoned musicians coming from different areas of music and decided it would be fun to get together and start a funk/disco band,” said Tracey. “The complexity of the music would be a fun challenge and it would also be filling a niche in the night club/party scene in Kelowna.”
You will often find Moni Funk dressed up in glitter and sequins to mark the excitement of the Saturday Night Fever era.
“The love of funk, soul, jazz, R&B, and dance music influenced us to do music from the ‘70s disco era as it includes all of the styles mentioned in one genre of music,” said Tracey. “We had been playing as a blues/soul band in a smaller form and decided to add a horn section and more singers to properly capture the essence of this genre.”
Tracey is a singer and pianist who is not only the lead vocalist and manager of Moni Funk, but also performs as a soloist and duo with the group Electric Freeway. She owns and teaches at Music World Studios located in Kelowna.
Edwards has been singing in the area for the past 15 years. She wrote the band’s first original, Dancin’ All Night and also fronts Fat Foot 5, a five-piece dance band.
Escott began singing and playing the guitar across Canada at the age of 18. After years of playing on the road with original and cover bands from Calgary and Toronto, he settled down in Kelowna. He performs with Tracey in Electric Freeway and can be heard playing throughout the Okanagan.
Stephen Buck is a graduate of the music program at the University of Western Ontario. He has played throughout Europe in London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Hamburg, and Cologne.
He performed on the Late Show with David Letterman in New York in 1996 and has performed with jazz greats Cleo Lane and Della Reese.
Since moving to Kelowna five years ago, Stephen has played with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra, Kelowna City Band, Night Owls Orchestra, Spectrum Singers, Las Vegas Rat Pack Show, and many more.
He hosts the weekly Jazz Jam at the Rotary Centre for the Arts, where he performs regularly on double bass and saxophones alongside his sons Simon (drums), and Alex (piano).
Born in Germany, Alex Buck began playing the piano when he was seven. He is currently a Grade 12 student at Mount Boucherie Secondary School in West Kelowna, where he is under the direction of local jazz favourite Craig Thomson.
Alex has become active in the Kelowna music scene both as a soloist and as a band member. Nationally, he was selected to play with Canada’s National Youth Jazz Band and in 2014 he was named the Jazz Education Network’s Canadian Youth Jazz Musician of the Year.
Summers teaches and performs in Kelowna. He is the owner and manager of the The Music Room, a music school in West Kelowna.
Campbell is a young drummer who currently plays with Kelowna City Band and the Lake Country Big Band. He has studied under Scott Grant and is currently working on the highest level of percussion in the London Conservatory examination program. He also plays with the original band Tell the Girls.
Tickets for the New Year’s Eve show with Moni Funk will include complimentary appetizers as well as a glass of Stoneboat Vineyards’ bubbly at the stroke of midnight.
Moni Funk hits the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st St.) at 9 p.m. Doors open at 8:15 p.m. and tickets are $50 at the Bean Scene and at www.vernonjazz.ca. Cash only bar.