Creston’s Debra Mehrer offering eclectic range of music in solo concert

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Debra Mehrer will sing in her first solo show at the Snoring Sasquatch on Feb. 23.

Creston’s own Debra Mehrer will be singing in her first solo concert on Feb. 23 at the Snoring Sasquatch.

Mehrer has always loved music. She grew up listening to her parents’ records of jazz and the big band sounds, and retains an appreciation to this day. Having given up asking for piano lessons as a child (the family moved too much), she asked at the age of 13 for a guitar. What she got was a ukulele, but she learned to play it, and finally at age 15 she came to own her first real six-string guitar.

Her first public performance was at 15, where she devised and played a three-song guitar medley for the school’s Valentine Queen contest; that netted her the first runner-up position. After high school, working, marriage and children took up her time, but she satisfied her craving for music by being in various choirs and small vocal groups, the last of which was the quintet Softwear.

She took up the electric bass about eight years ago, saying, “I love those big, round low notes. I’m a soprano, so I can’t do that with my voice. Now I get both ends of the scale!”

Mehrer has been a member of the Creston Community Band and, more recently, the bassist for Peanut Butter and Jam, the Gone Country dance band and rock/blues band Fat Charlie.

She has provided backup harmony in Peanut Butter and Jam and some solo work in Gone Country, but as a recent graduate — “You can never graduate,” she said. “There is always so much more to learn.” — from the Buchanan Studio of Music, she was inspired by her teacher Geri Buchanan to reintroduce herself to the community as a serious soloist. She stepped into the limelight recently as one of the performers in Eric Johnson’s Songbird Suite.

Mehrer’s musical tastes and talents are eclectic.

“The songs I’m presenting in this concert are some of those I’ve loved over the years,” she said. “They’ve touched me, and I believe the audience will enjoy hearing them.”

Mehrer will be backed by Ken Gerding, Eric Johnson and Buchanan.

Gerding grew up in Vulcan, Alta., and was inspired to start playing bass after watching a Hawaiian hula group (dancers accompanied by ukuleles and an electric bass) perform. He moved to Creston in 2001, and currently plays with Full Circle and the Bellows and Bass accordion band.

Buchanan was born in Vancouver where she started teaching singing and piano as a teenager. She subsequently moved to Toronto where she earned her Royal Conservatory certification, and was involved in professional theatre in Burlington, Hamilton and Toronto. She has carried on with those activities since moving to Creston many years ago.

Johnson is a multi-instrumentalist, performing on guitar, vocals, drums and other instruments. He plays in a multitude of bands and is a mentor to many musicians, always patient and encouraging and extremely generous with his time.

Tickets are $10 in advance at Kingfisher Used Books and Black Bear Books, and $13 at the door, which opens at 6 p.m.; the show begins at 7.

—SUBMITTED

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