CONCEPTION BAY NORTH, N.L.
The Conception Bay Showband is bringing Newfoundland’s love of music to a national audience through the powers of social media.
Kevin Greenland, Lewis Parsons, Hedley Bradbury and Tony Vokey have made waves online and within the warm walls of the shed. The project dates back nearly 20 years when members Parsons and Bradbury initially set out as musicians taking their passion to the stage. Not long after the two began seeing success, Greenland joined in with his skills as a bassist, and, some years later, the trio became a group of four with the addition of Vokey and his vocal and guitar playing skills.
Conception Bay Showband performances have nearly become a weekly event for people near and far thanks to a mix of traditional Newfoundland hospitality and online opportunities.
“We do performances pretty much everywhere we can,” explained Vokey, noting they often book festival and benefit dates.
It’s the band’s Saturday night sessions that have garnered a lot of attention of late. Vokey explained that after his wife had recorded one of the sessions and posted it to social media, the band started sharing performances to a wider audience via Facebook.
Now, the Conception Bay Showband has taken to livestreaming their shed performances, which, as Parsons explained, always include a fine feast for everyone who stops by, all while giving viewers the opportunity to join in on the fun, whether they live in the Bay Roberts area or on the other side of the country. Some of the group’s videos have amassed upwards of 100,000 views each, with the band’s Facebook page alone reaching just under 3,000 members in a matter of only a couple months.
“We play a lot of songs that some people may not have heard in years,” explained Parsons. “Songs like ‘Nancy Spain’ are the ones people really love to hear, and then sometimes we’ll get into a song that’s really old – maybe something people heard their father or grandfather sing when they were young – and give it a bit of an upbeat feel.”
“We had some fans from Ontario reach out to us not long ago. They have no ties to the province – never been here before that week, they just love the music – and they were set to head back to the mainland that Saturday, but as it turned out, their flight got delayed until Monday,” Vokey added. “So, they messaged my wife asking if we were going to be playing that night, and if it would be OK for them to stop by. We never turn anyone down, so of course we told them to come on over. The more the merrier.”
Experiences like this are what keeps the group going, as the other members noted it’s the fun of the music and the enjoyment they get out of seeing people relish in the strum of the guitar or the sound of the accordion that makes them want to get together again the following Saturday to do it all over again.
“It’s all about having fun, at the end of the day, and we know that people are having just as much fun as we are,” said Bradbury. “If it’s not fun, then why do it, you know?”
For those wishing to join in on the group’s Facebook Live performances, they can be viewed through the group’s Facebook page. The group also frequently posts videos of previous sessions, as well as updates pertaining to the next performance the band will be doing in the near future.