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Phase II back at St. Paul’s Church in Charlottetown for early Valentine delight

John Clarke displays the pine chest donated by Phase II’s frontman, Gerry Hickey, to use in collecting donations of food and supplies for the St. paul’s Church’s outreach program in Charlottetown.
John Clarke displays the pine chest donated by Phase II’s frontman, Gerry Hickey, to use in collecting donations of food and supplies for the St. paul’s Church’s outreach program in Charlottetown. - Submitted

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – An evening of love and laughter, full of rock-’n’-roll, pop, gospel, comedy, and well, almost everything is planned for St. Paul’s Church in Charlottetown Sunday.

Billed as a wintertime pick-me-up, audience members can tap their toes to the peppy rhythms of Phase II and Friends. Described as “one of the most popular, grooviest good-time bands on P.E.I., Phase II will bring a musical program of love and laughter to St. Paul’s on Feb. 11.

Some of the band members have been playing together for almost four decades. An outgrowth of the Blue Crystals, Phase II got going in 1990 as a rock-’n’-roll band in dance halls, private parties, and conventions.

A couple of years ago they took to playing concerts as well, and “classed-up” with a pair of women singers, Keila Glydon and Jeanie Campbell. The other musicians are John McGarry on bass, Pat King on keys and sax, Ed Young on drums, Blaine Murphy on guitar, and Gerry Hickey as front man and lead singer.

Hickey calls himself “the luckiest guy on P.E.I. to be playing with this fine group of musicians.”

Phase II and Friends are known for their variety of lively musicianship, plus humour and an engaging patter between songs. This time there’s an added ingredient — the Valentine theme.

They have lots of romantic warmth planned, including The Beatles’ “All My Loving,” Ricky Nelson’s “Teenager in Love,” Queen’s “Crazy Little Thing Called Love,” and even Elvis’ “Don’t be Cruel.” There’s a Platters medley and a few Rankins and Anne Murray pieces, plus two or three gospel tunes such as “Turn, Turn, Turn” and “Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone.”

“We’re gonna make it pretty lively,” promises Hickey.

The members of Phase II and Friends love playing together, but they have an altruistic side too. That’s why they’ve given hundreds of benefit events to support community groups. The Feb. 11 gig will be a boost to St. Paul’s Church and its outreach and social justice projects, including practical food hampers for limited-means families.

Hickey handcrafted a pine chest, with a laser-engraved image of the church, and gave it to St. Paul’s to use in collecting donations of food and supplies for the outreach program.

St. Paul’s Church is one of the Island’s finest performance spaces. The historic Harris design provides amazing acoustical clarity plus the glorious warmth of its woodwork and windows. That’s why it’s a favoured place for instrumental recitals, chamber orchestras, choral groups, and the annual P.E.I. Jazz and Blues Festival.

Phase II and Friends perform from 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday at the downtown Charlottetown church on the corner of Grafton at Church Streets.

Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children. Tickets are available at the door, or can be ordered at 902-393-3251 (Gerry), 902-393-8379 (Blaine) or 902-892-1691 (St. Paul’s office).

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