Presented by Billings Symphony
Alberta Bair Theatre
December 31 | 7pm
Billings MT- The Billings Symphony Orchestra & Chorale proudly presents the last great party of 2016, Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. Celebrate the New Year with The Bucky Beaver Ground Grippers, The MidLife Chryslers, and Ellen & the Old School.
The Bucky Beaver Ground Grippers, named after a golf shoe invented in the early 1940s, was originated by Joe Link and George Devries while playing a round of golf at Pryor Creek Golf Club in 1992. The Five original members are: Joe Link (lead guitar), George Devries (rhythm guitar, lead vocals), Kirk Brumfield (bass), Rich Lutton (vocals), and John Link (drums). John Link was later replaced by Jason Foster.
The band has entertained thousands over the years, including the Prince of Monaco. They have opened for such acts as McBride and the Ride, Montgomery Gentry, Little Texas, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Restless Heart and Diamond Rio, just to name a few. They play a wide variety of music ranging from George Strait to Led Zepplin, from funk to blues. The Bucky Beaver Ground Grippers are a fun group, who enjoy helping people have a great time!
In 1997, a small group of physicians began gathering regularly to play music and relax away from the pressures of their vocation. Bob Snider, Mac McClave, and Doug Ezell would play and sing old folk tunes and rock standards. It was pretty ragged at first. After a while though, they were sounding pretty good and added two more doctors: Hal Forseth and Jim Epler. They had a great time and began to sound almost good. Paula McClave joined. Then for Christmas 1999, their shifty wives booked them a gig! It was to be the following April at the Club Carlin. They Panicked! They practiced! A Lot!! They came up with a name. The MidLife Chryslers were born!
Playing for a few friends and loved ones went pretty well, and a few more gigs were added. A few more electric guitars and amps were added too, and they began to sound more and more like a real rock band. Epler retired from the band and late in 2000, Mark Moak joined as drummer. Just as they were getting going, the death of Bob Snider in March 2001 dealt them a major setback. After a few months off however, the music and the spirit of Bob called them back and the Chryslers reformed. With the additions of Russ Harvey and Cathy Hansen Brown, the MidLife Chryslers took another form.
In 2006, Mac and Paula left the band; Hal moved over to bass and Scott Millikan came on to share lead guitar with Russ. Then Cathy departed and in April 2007, Holly Malloy Hanson joined the Chryslers as lead female vocalist. In 2008, four horn players joined the band, adding a new sound to the Chryslers: Laurel Linde on saxophone, Steve Patton on trombone, along with Laury Sealy and Kevin Mc Bride on trumpets.
In 2011, Ellen Moak was asked by the Alberta Bair Theater to perform in their Wild West Soiree. Ellen, a nursing student at MSU, who also holds a degree in vocal performance from Rocky Mountain College, didn’t have a band to sing with. She called her dad, drummer for the MidLife Chryslers and Art professor at Rocky Mountain College, Mark Moak. Together with Scot Ninnemann (The Innocents Abroad,) on vocals and guitar, and Sam Hamm on bass- Ellen & the Old School were formed.
Brendan Fox took over for Sam Hamm when he moved to Seattle in the summer of 2014. Fox is a music graduate from Rocky Mountain College and plays with the RMC Jazz band.
Ellen & the Old School currently play for various local fundraisers in the Billings area. They also play for events like the St John’s Summer Concert Series, the Billings Clinic Classic and the Beartooth Ball in Red Lodge. Ellen also won the 2015 Billings Symphony’s Country Idol contest and performed with the orchestra in March 2015’s concert Gone Country.
Rockin’ New Year’s Eve is brought to you by: BNSF, Billings OB-GYN Associates, Bill & Nancy Boyer, Exxon Mobil, and Computers Unlimited. Media sponsors are MOJO and KTVQ-2. The 2016-2017 season is proudly sponsored by The Oakland Companies.
For more information about Rockin’ New Year’s Eve billingssymphony.org