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Wellsboro series to end with blues concert

PHOTO PROVIDED Members of the Doug McMinn Blues Band include: standing, from left, Sean Farley, John “JT” Thompson, Bill Stetz and Joel B. Vincent, and band founder Doug McMinn, seated, front.

The third and last concert in the free Saturday afternoon outdoor series will feature the five-member Doug McMinn Blues Band at 3 p.m., Oct. 17.

The concert will be on the outdoor stage on the Central Avenue side of the Deane Center for the Performing Arts, 104 Main St., Wellsboro. It is free and open to the public.

With an eclectic repertoire that McMinn describes as “Big Tent Blues,” the band will play the gamut from Chicago to Texas blues to New Orleans rhythm and blues, mixing their original songs with modern and classic covers by famous artists, such as T-Bone Walker, Professor Longhair and Howlin’ Wolf.

This is the band’s first performance at the Deane Center and their fifth in 2020. Members are: Doug McMinn who plays guitar, saxophone and clarinet; John “JT” Thompson on keyboards; Sean Farley on guitar; Bill Stetz on electric bass guitar; and Joel B. Vincent on drums. McMinn, Thompson and Farley are lead singers and write tunes for the band.

The band has played at numerous top-drawer venues throughout North Central Pennsylvania, including the Elk Creek Cafe, the Bullfrog Brewery, the Berwick Brewing Co. and in Selinsgrove for the Rudy Gelnett Summer Music Series.

The Doug McMinn Blues Band was founded in 2011, when Bonnie Tallman invited McMinn to select an all-star group of regional musicians to close the show that year at the Billtown Blues Festival in Williamsport. Tallman, a Tioga County native who now lives in Muncy, is one of six people who founded the blues festival in 1990.

McMinn, widely known as one of the most flexible players in the West Branch area, plays and sings in popular groups like Lumpy Gravy, Black ‘n’ Blues, The AAA Blues Band, The Sirens and as a duo with Hannah Bingman. Before COVID-19, he led his jazz band in monthly gigs at the Bullfrog Brewery in Williamsport, and played solo guitar-vocal gigs in towns from Coudersport to Millheim and Berwick. He lives in Balls Mills.

For the other front line spots, McMinn chose Farley of Williamport and Thompson of Bellefonte.

Farley is one of the busiest musicians in the area, both as a solo performer and as co-leader of the Lynn and Farley 5. He made his name with Black-n-Blues, a Williamsport-based band, and The EG Kight Band based in Georgia. Farley also has a thriving, custom guitar and repair shop in Williamsport.

Thompson, a standout keyboard player and singer in the State College area, performs solo and with a number of bands including his group The Denicats, Natascha and The Spyboys, The Gill Street Band and The AAA Blues Band.

For the rhythm section, McMinn selected Stetz of Sunbury, one of the region’s top guitar bassists who has played with Queen Bee and the Blue Hornets, Garcia Grass and The Earthtones, and Joel B. Vincent of Williamsport, a top drummer who performs with the Gabe Stillman Band based in Williamsport and The Ann Kerstetter Band based in Northumberland.

Every member of the group has been a semifinalist in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tennessee, and has decades of blues experience.

For their performance at the 2011 Billtown Blues Festival, the band was called “Doug McMinn’s 30th Anniversary Blues Band” and played music to honor McMinn’s three decades in the bar band business. The rapturous response from the festival audience inspired the band to book other shows and record a well-received live CD.

Since then, the group has entertained crowds throughout the North Central Pennsylvania Region. McMinn began playing in the summer of 1980 and is now celebrating his 40th anniversary as a musician.

Bring lawn chairs and sit on the lawn in front of the outdoor stage or on Central Avenue, which will be closed to traffic to provide space to allow people room for dancing and social distancing.

This show is weather dependent and may start a little earlier.

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