Jim Hudak led the four-piece band, and Round Hill Country Club's first ever presentation of a dinner-concert was a tremendous success Saturday night. Performing before a capacity crowd of 100 members in an intimate room-setting, Hudak displayed his considerable talents on piano, guitar, and vocals, with lots of humorous and engaging banter mixed in to the delight of the crowd. "It was like a coming out homecoming concert for me," said Hudak after the show. "I could relate to the audience in quite a different way than in my usual fashion as the club's background pianist. It was also so much fun to have such a great ensemble of musicians who joined me for the concert." Indeed, most in the crowd had no idea that this was the first ever performance by this quartet. Performing with Hudak for their first time were Sue Draheim, on violin/fiddle, who thrilled the audience with some stunning solos and an electric violin, and Gary Minadeo, who brought a wide array of drums and percussion instruments to the show. He added just the right sound at the right moment throughout the evening, and continuously provided the steady beat that helps keep a band on track. Veteran bassist Dennis Tuohino, who has performed with Jim Hudak on numerous occasions in the past, once again brought his top-notch musicality to the event. Tuohino also added some impressive background vocals to several of the songs, as did Draheim. "Having the vocal harmonies from Sue and Dennis was a nice touch," Hudak said. "It really adds a lot when you've got some well placed vocal harmonies here and there." The evening began with Jim Hudak performing alone on piano, then one by one adding the musicians for a mostly instrumental based first set. Then, following intermission, he switched to an amplified Martin acoustic guitar, and the show took on a distinctive country-rock quality with lots of singing and swinging. The band displayed a solid chemistry between the performers, with lots of smiling, movement, and interactive playing throughout the evening. One of the many highlights was the band's rendering of the song "Steppes." Recorded on Jim Hudak's latest CD, 'Bridging Textures,' the piece was co-written by Hudak with Jim "Fingers" Schlauch and Zubito Huascar, who comprise the three founding members of the Northwest based eclectic band "The Spunkies." Saturday night, the song was given a Latin-Caribbean feel, and received a particularly raucous response from the crowd. "It was an indication that 'The Spunkies' music lives on," Hudak said. "We always had a certain sound that was our own, which has proven to be timelessly hypnotic in various applications." The entire event went well, with a typically fine meal served by head chef Jon Fink and excellent service and teamwork from all who had a hand in the event. "The evening was both artistically and commercially successful," Hudak commented. "It more than paid for itself, and I'm grateful to the club for giving this type of an event a chance to succeed. The feedback from the members has been overwhelmingly positive, such that I would guess there might be additional dinner-concerts at the club in the future." Hudak and the band members hope to use this concert as a springboard for other performance opportunities. "We got some pictures of the band, and some recordings, too. Hopefully we can put together a little promotional package now and get some more gigs. These are some really good players to perform with, and it's nice that they took to a good number of my original compostions with such committment and skill." If their first ever concert is any indication, this foursome should have no trouble securing additional engagements. With a sound that crosses numerous musical genres from jazz and classical to rock, pop, and country blues, it's a musical unit that offers something for everyone. It just could be that those lucky enough to have attended Saturday night's inaugural performance were witnessing something that will prove to be historic.

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