The Salmon Armenians play the first concert of the Vernon Jazz Society’s 2016-17 season Saturday at the Vernon Jazz Club.

The Salmon Armenians play the first concert of the Vernon Jazz Society’s 2016-17 season Saturday at the Vernon Jazz Club.

Vernon Jazz Society starts its season with the Salmon Armenians

The Vernon Jazz Club is opening its season this Saturday night with Shuswap masters of R&B, soul, and funk, The Salmon Armenians.

The Vernon Jazz Club is opening its season this Saturday night with Shuswap masters of R&B, soul, and funk, The Salmon Armenians.

No strangers to the club’s stage, this band will be pleasing the audience with tunes from the ‘60s to ‘80s that feature sizzling vocal and horn lines such as Soul Man (Hayes and Porter), Hold On I’m Coming and Midnight Hour (Sam & Dave), as well as some Tower of Power and Aretha Franklin.

The Salmon Armenians are Lodi Kieken (keyboard/vocals), Debbie Reid (vocals), Doug Sonju (sax), Murray Holmes (bass/vocals), Mike Scharf (sax), Rich Thorne (trombone/trumpet), Jordan Dick (guitar), and Larry Keats (drums).

The Salmon Armenians have had a busy summer that has included a performance at the Salmon Arm Roots & Blues Festival. It was at Roots and Blues where the band was originally formed.

“One of the reasons the band was put together was to play at the Roots & Blues Festival in 1997,” said Kieken. “We had way too much fun to stop doing this and thus here we are almost 20 years later still having a blast.”

Kieken has been playing Hammond organ long enough to see it go through a full cycle of coolness. From being hip in the ‘70s to not-so cool in the ‘90s, and then to retro hip, he has continued to hone his skills as a performer.

After attending Grant MacEwan College, he toured for three years on the cabaret circuit in Western Canada. He moved to Salmon Arm in the ‘90s and bought Acorn Music, a music store as well as a teaching studio.

Reid has been singing and harmonizing since she was five.  She has played in numerous bands in the Shuswap including The Phantoms, Summer Wagers, and Eden Fire.

Sonju was the principal clarinetist with the Okanagan Symphony since the early ‘70s.  Well versed in jazz, rock, and blues, Sonju has also graced the Vernon Jazz Club stage with the Ugly Stepsisters and the Bob Rogers Quintet.

Bass player and vocalist Holmes began playing professionally in Vancouver with groups such as Duster and Cameron Molly and The Molly Gang. He later moved to the Thompson-Okanagan area, where he has continued to play ever since.

Growing up in Salmon Arm, Scharf played in jazz bands, combos, and fusion groups including Electric Lady Land, Liquid Chick, Pompous Frank and with the Shuffle Demons’ Rich Underhill.

Thorne, who is now a retired teacher, was the principle trombonist in the prestigious University of Idaho symphony.  He has been a member of the Salmon Armenians since the band’s inception.

Dick, who hails from Hamilton, Ont., is a guitarist, composer, educator, and promoter. He has studied with Bob Shields, Lorne Lofsky, Phil Dwyer, and Bill Coon.  He is also the artistic director of Jazz Salmon Arm, a non-profit jazz society.

Keats, also known as “The Slammin’ Salmon,” is another original member of the Salmon Armenians. He has played with big bands, jazz combos, rock groups, and musical theatre companies. During the day, he works as a musical therapist in the Shuswap.

You can catch an earful of the band at:

The Salmon Armenians hit the stage at the Vernon Jazz Club (3000-31st St.) Sept. 3 at 8 p.m. Doors open at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased at Expressions of Time (2901-30th Ave.) and at with a $5 rebate at the door for members. Cash only bar.

Upcoming shows at the Vernon Jazz Club include Julie Masi Sept. 17, Mud Bay Blues Band Oct. 1, Anita Eccleston Oct. 15, The Day Trippers Oct. 29, Melody Diachun Nov. 12, Michael Occhipinti Nov. 26, Poppa Dawg Dec. 10 and The Legendary Lake Monsters Dec. 31.


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson outlines the province’s three-year budget in Victoria, April 20, 2021. (B.C. government video)
B.C. deficit to grow by $19 billion for COVID-19 recovery spending

Pandemic-year deficit $5 billion lower than forecast

(Photo of an RV posted to Flickr by user Greg Gjerdingen)
Vernon dumps sani-station temporarily

City councillors voted to close sani-station instead of relocating it temporarily

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
67 new cases of COVID-19 in Interior Health

Thirty people in the region are hospitalized with the virus, 11 of whom are intensive care

Lumby resident Dan Hill was at Vernon’s Polson Park to celebrate 4-20 by giving away free marijuana joints to people of age April 20, 2021. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Lumby man back in Vernon with free joints, cupcakes on 4-20

Dan Hill is trying to help people of age relax during a stressful April with marijuana giveaway

Police are seeking the public’s assistance identifying a man who allegedly robbed a Vernon business the evening of Wednesday, April 14, 2021. (RCMP photo)
Police search for man who allegedly robbed Vernon business with weapon

The suspect is said to have threatened an employee before running off with two bottles of liquor

FILE – NDP Leader John Horgan, right, and local candidate Mike Farnworth greet one another with an elbow bump during a campaign stop in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday, September 25, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. won’t be using random individual road stops to enforce travel rules: Safety Minister

Minister Mike Farnworth says travel checks only being considered at major highway junctions, ferry ports

A man pauses at a coffin after carrying it during a memorial march to remember victims of overdose deaths in Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. announces historic half-billion-dollar funding for overdose crisis, mental health

Of it, $152 million will be used to address the opioid crisis and see the creation of 195 new substance use treatment beds

Children’s backpacks and shoes are seen at a CEFA (Core Education and Fine Arts) Early Learning daycare franchise, in Langley, B.C., on Tuesday May 29, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. budget to expand $10-a-day child care, but misses the mark on ‘truly universal’ system

$111 million will be used to fund 3,750 new $10-a-day spaces though 75 additional ChildCareBC universal prototype sites over the next three years.

Kate Budau’s flat tire outside of Glenmore Elementary School on Monday. (Contributed)
Kelowna mom searches for Good Samaritans who helped her change a tire

Woman looking for two dads who helped her after her tire popped in the Glenmore Elementary School drop-off area on Monday

John Wekking, Merritt Road Report - Facebook
 Coquihalla Road Report
Wildfire sparks off Coquihalla in Merritt

The wildfire is located near the Dollarama off of Highway 5

Mak Parhar speaks at an anti-mask rally outside the Vancouver Art Gallery on Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020. Parhar was arrested on Nov. 2 and charged with allegedly violating the Quarantine Act after returning from a Flat Earth conference held in Geenville, South Carolina on Oct. 24. (Flat Earth Focker/ screenshot)
Judge tosses lawsuit of B.C. COVID-denier who broke quarantine after Flat Earth conference

Mak Parhar accused gov, police of trespass, malfeasance, extortion, terrorism, kidnapping and fraud

A lit cigarette tossed from a passing car is believed to be the cause of a grass fire which was only held to a ditch by the quick action of passersby in Salmon Arm on April 19. (Pixabay image)
Passersby fight Salmon Arm roadside grass fire believed started by flicked cigarette

Dry conditions prompt warning from resident, fire department

Most Read