In the name of rock

WonderChunk and Audiobox bring classic rock ‘n’ roll energy to New Year’s Eve show

By JASON KLOSE

Sun-Gazette Correspondent

HUGHESVILLE — Celebrate New Year’s Eve with a legendary guitar rock show, as WonderChunk, with special guests Audiobox, take the stage together for a New Year’s Eve Party, 8 p.m. Dec. 31 at the Muncy Valley Moose and Family Center, 875 Route 405.

Founded in 2011 as a duo, WonderChunk has evolved into a five-piece premier band specializing in legendary guitar rock. They perform up and down the Susquehanna River from Williamsport to Duncannon to Sunbury to Berwick and up to Scranton.

Leading WonderChunk is co-founder and bass guitarist/vocalist Jonny Vegas. Rounding out the band are co-founder Randy Moyer on guitar and vocals; drummer Ben Gebhart, who joined the band in 2013; guitarist/vocalist Eddie Ramirez, who joined in 2015; and the band’s newest member, vocalist/percussionist Shannon Halteman, who joined in 2016.

Vegas fronts WonderChunk with his green bass and a smooth baritone voice. Through circumstance, Vegas arrived in Pennsylvania in 2009 from his home in Arvada, Colorado, where he had written and performed original hard rock in a band called Lords of the Basement.

Although he played band instruments in school, Vegas said he didn’t get serious about music until he bought an electric guitar from a buddy while on deployment serving in the U.S. Navy.

“From then on, I’d jam with anyone I could to learn to play,” he said. “A good friend of mine in the Navy played bass exceptionally well and I got hooked on bass.”

When Vegas finally came home, he eventually started a band and performed all around Denver. His musical influences are wide-ranging, growing up loving classical music and film scores but also loving bands like the Beastie Boys and Guns N’ Roses.

“I am really into great music no matter what genre though,” he said. “Scroll through my iPod and you can hear Tuvan throat music followed by some Slayer. Top among my bass-specific influences would be Jerry Scheff who played in Elvis’ TCB Band and Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn.”

WonderChunk is a guitar-driven band, featuring mostly epic guitar songs, but also songs that they cover featuring keyboards. For these particular tunes, they create the keyboard arrangements for guitar so people hear the songs they know, only presented in a fresh way.

“We have created a block of songs from Pink Floyd’s ‘The Wall,’ and we have another medley of Rush,” Vegas said. “With Rush, it takes all five of us to create what that three-piece band does alone. You get everything that is in these songs — we just do it all on guitar. But we may have something new lurking on the horizon, so stay tuned!”

Aside from playing, Vegas believes what really sets the band apart is the fantastic singing within the group, with four vocalists and the two, three and four-part harmonies they use in their performances. But he admits that the band’s main focus first and foremost, is always aimed at putting on a great show for the audience.

“We keep the music going and get people up and dancing,” he said. “And our secret weapon is that we have an extra cowbell available for anyone to hit and play along.”

Another important element to WonderChunk’s success is the fact that they are more than merely bandmates — they are a family. Even outside the band and the music, they are all there to support each other.

“I think this comes through when we hit the stage,” Vegas said. “Even nights where we notice some hiccups for our part, we always walk away knowing we put on a really solid performance. We reinvest a fair percentage of our band proceeds right back into the band so we can keep making the experience better.”

Those attending the show can expect to hear WonderChunk perform great music from iconic artists that transcend generations; from early rock ‘n’ roll like Elvis, Roy Orbison and Ray Charles, to epic songs from Led Zeppelin, Heart, Pat Benatar and Janis Joplin, along with Pink Floyd, Rush and Blue Oyster Cult and so much more.

Based out of the Williamsport area, Audiobox includes guitarist/lead vocalist Matthew Colegrove; guitarist/vocalist Keith Randall, bass guitarist/vocalist Joe Reichenbach, and drummer Jason Maurer.

Colegrove got started in music playing in the school band and worship teams at church. His biggest influences are Petra, and The Smashing Pumpkins.

Audiobox, as a whole, is a multi-talented band, as every member can sing and play different instruments. Several of their songs have many different styles, and their cover song list includes just about everything.

“I feel what makes us stand out, when writing, is we all come from different musical backgrounds and different approaches to music,” Colegrove said.

The band recently added newest member, Keith Randall, which Colegrove said has enabled the band to open up a lot more musically.

“Our live shows are full on rock and roll with high energy,” he said. “We want the crowds entertained and the venues happy.”

Audiobox will perform originals from their first record, as well as covers from the ’70s to today’s music.

“Key songs of ours are ‘Stuck with the Clowns,’ ‘Sometimes I,’ and ‘Summer Days,’ “ Colegrove said. “We cover from The Who and Cheap Trick to Weezer and Nirvana.”

Audiobox is currently in the studio working on a new album, which will be out in 2018.

“People who don’t know us can check out or first album on iTunes, Spotify, or anywhere else you can download,” Colegrove said. “After the album comes out we’ll be adding a lot more shows.”

Audiobox expects a fun, high energy rock and roll show for New Year’s Eve.

“We’ve been doing gigs with WonderChunk since they came on the scene,” Colegrove said. “They have always put on a great show.”

Vegas promises the show to be an epic event, as they have a great relationship with Audiobox, who helped them tremendously when WonderChunk was a trio.

“They invited us to share gigs with them around this area and introduced us to new venues and people in this vibrant musical community,” he said.

“They are just great people and incredibly talented to boot. It’s an honor to have them join us.”

As for the New Year, WonderChunk will delve into some brand-new territory. In February, they are planning to take the month off from gigs to focus on learning new and ambitious material.

“Our goal is to bring the fun and zeal of WonderChunk to more people across PA and beyond,” Vegas said. “We may even kick around some ideas on original material. But our goal is always the audience first.”

The two bands have performed numerous shows together, work well together, and have fun together, so they plan on infusing a great energy on New Year’s Eve at the Muncy Moose.

“We will say goodbye to 2017 in legendary fashion,” Vegas said.

Visit WonderChunk’s website: wonderchunk.com, and like them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/wonderchunk

Keep in touch with Audiobox on their Facebook page: www.facebook.com/audioboxmusic.

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