Western Lights will play bluegrass tunes in concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Woodland Opera House, Second and Main streets in downtown Woodland.


Western Lights plays Opera House on Saturday

By June 6, 2011

The Woodland Opera House will present bluegrass band Western Lights in concert at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the theater, 340 Second St. in downtown Woodland.

Western Lights’ music has strong roots in traditional bluegrass with three- and four-part harmony vocals and solid banjo, fiddle and mandolin as primary lead instrumentation. Beyond bluegrass, however, the band enjoys playing Western swing music and other related styles.

Western Lights Band is a group of  friends who got together about 10 years ago to jam with other pickers at the Fifth String Music Store in Sacramento. From there, they began to meet for regular jam sessions and eventually evolved into a band.

Leader Bill Ward is a native of Sacramento and began flat-picking bluegrass music in the mid-1970s. He also sings lead and harmony vocals for Western Lights.

Melvin Fong, whose background includes classical music, plays lead and harmony fiddle and hammered dulcimer, and sings baritone harmony.

Mike Brooks, of Tulare, plays mandolin and banjo; some of his earliest memories are hearing his grandpa play old-time fiddle tunes.

Bobbie Kuhn plays stand-up bass, and is described as equally adept with the hard-driving base lines for the band’s bluegrass numbers, as well as the moving bass lines required for its Western swing repertoire. She lives in Folsom and teaches elementary school in West Sacramento.

Gene Mason, on banjo, is from Placerville. He has played guitar and toured with a rock-and-roll band, and sings both lead and harmony parts for Western Lights.

Tickets are $17 for adults and $8 for children and youths 17 and under. Tickets are available online at http://www.woodlandoperahouse.org or by calling the box office at (530) 666-9617.

Enterprise staff

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