PERU — Mission of Hope gets by with a little help from Towne Meeting.
Once again, Dennis Hulbert (12-string guitar and vocals), Miles Moody (six-string guitar and vocals), Rich Sutphen (lead guitar, vocals and percussion), Justin VanCour (bass and vocals) and Gary VanCour (vocals, guitar, ukulele and percussion) are performing a benefit concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at St. Augustine’s Church in Peru.
“The band, in general, feels the Mission of Hope is a really good cause,” Gary said. “We know for years they have been doing good things for the people of Nicaragua. Judy Charland (benefit-concert organizer) called us three years ago. She heard our music, and she knows a lot of our music has a message to it. We said, ‘Yes, it sounds good.’”
Towne Meeting is rooted in ‘60s folk but adds country and acoustic rock to the mix. The band’s name is derived from Gary’s wife’s family surname, an old New England name. The band formed in 2006, when Gary retired as a social-studies teacher, Miles retired as a math teacher, and Dennis retired as a physics teacher. Rich, Gary’s brother-in-law, used to work for Comcast in Burlington, Vt.
“Justin is still working,” Gary said of his son. “Some of us have been playing together since high school. In college, we had a trio. We got busy with jobs, family, and there just wasn’t time. We used to have family reunions for my wife’s family. Inevitably, the guitars would come out, and we would start singing.”
When Dennis left Plattsburgh City School and Miles and Gary retired from Beekmantown Central School, they got together for the fun of it.
“My son joined in,” Gary said. “Dennis’s daughter, Kalena, sang with us until she moved to Idaho. We’re down to five. We just really enjoy it.”
They sing a few originals, but most of their repertoire is covers. They have released three CDs: “Stillwater,” “A Christmas World” and “Looking Back.”
“We put our own stamp on it. We’re most known for our vocal harmonies, often four-part, sometime five-part harmony. We’re not a bluegrass band. We’re a folk group. We do some of the Eagles. We do Prairie League, Alan Jackson, Everly Brothers and others. It depends on what the song is. We do a lot of Kingston Trio; Peter, Paul and Mary; Ian Tyson; and John Denver. And, some old standards from the Weavers. It’s really a mixture.”
Towne Meeting hopes to draw a large crowd at the benefit.
“We really appreciate what the Mission of Hope does, the humanitarian aspect of it,” Gary said.
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