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Soul Shakers bring the boogie back to Oak Bay park

Summer concert series kicks off June 29 at Willows Beach Park
Soul Shakers lead singer Joyce Allensen hits a high note while performing with guitarist Sean McCool at Willows Park in 2021. (Black Press Media file photo)

The tradition of dancing in the park returns with the Soul Shakers kicking off summer music at Willows. Oak Bay Parks and Recreation brings its summer concerts back Wednesday, June 29 with the Soul Shakers from 6 to 8 p.m.

The concert series highlights local musicians with emerging artists as opening acts, starting the series with seasoned performers that organizers call “one of the best dance bands on Vancouver Island.”

Over a 15-year career, the Soul Shakers have performed at countless festivals and concerts all over the Island and produced two original albums including their most recent release Ready For You in November 2019.

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After the opening concert, music shifts to Thursdays as Hoppin’ Mad Jazz Band performs July 7. Billed as a group of serious musicians who don’t take themselves too seriously, the band is steeped in traditional jazz fronted by Australian-born trumpeter and saxophonist Simon Stribling.

Freeze Frame is on tap July 21 taking the outdoor audience on a trip to the 1980s and beyond.

Singer-songwriter Sarah Smith performs Aug. 4. Recently relocated to Pender Island from Ontario, Smith is a full-time touring artist, performing all over the world, whether it’s just her and her acoustic guitar or her full band. Check out her website for all of her music and touring dates.

Peach and Quiet, the Pender-based duo of Heather Read and Jonny Miller, opens the Sarah Smith show. In 2019 they discovered the joy of singing together, which extended into songwriting.

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Summer concerts at Willows close with Impulse Response Thursday, Aug. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Dubbed Victoria’s funkiest soul, pop band, Impulse Response is fronted by vocalist Shanna Dance and vocalist/keyboardist Alexander Ferguson. The band has released an original EP Light Waves. They also put their spin on songs from artists such as Bill Withers, Joss Stone, John Mayer, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, and Ray Charles. This group has been delighting audiences across the Island and beyond with their unique soulful sound including performing at the TD International Victoria Jazz Festival, opening for St. Paul and The Broken Bones at the Royal Theatre.

Dashel Scott, a 12-year-old singer/songwriter based in Victoria, opens the show.

Concerts run 6 to 8 p.m. at Willows Beach Park. Visit for a full list of events.

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