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Arts in River Park presents a New Year’s Eve-Eve party

Party hats and horns are part of the outfit this time of year, but they’ll be doubly appropriate Friday, Dec. 30, when Arts in River Park presents a New Year’s Eve-Eve party that celebrates 10 years of the arts-and-music festival organization.

And talk about horns – musical entertainment at the event will be provided by ReUnion as Bump City, a Tower of Power tribute band. Just like Tower of Power, this tribute band is funkified and horn-driven. ReUnion was begun in 2005 and began its Bump City tribute to Tower of Power in 2009, quickly becoming one of the few TOP tribute bands. Its repertoire includes all the familiar TOP hits, including “Down to the Nightclub,” “So Very Hard To Go,” “What Is Hip?” and “Still a Young Man.”

The concert and attendant arts show and sale (which also will mark the birthday of Arts in River Park co-founder Brenda Waters) will begin at 7 p.m. at Central United Methodist Church, 5265 H St. Tickets are $15, and checks may be made payable to Arts in River Park, P.O. Box 191312, Sacramento, CA 95819.

Saxophonist/singer Billy Sims, one of the founders of ReUnion, is a protégé of Tower of Power’s original lead trumpet and trombonist Mic Gillette. “ Being the son of a sax player and having an uncle who was a member of Lionel Hampton’s trombone section, I grew up listening to big band music,” Sims said recently. “When I reached my teens, James Brown and Ray Charles had big bands that featured horn sections. Then there was Blood, Sweat & Tears and Chicago, too. When Tower of Power arrived, with their five-piece horn section blending with the tight rhythm section and vocals, I wanted to play in a band just like that.”

When fellow ReUnion co-founder Matt Martinez suggested a Tower of Power tribute, Sims was immediately on board. The group, whose other members include Sacramento native (and CSUS music grad) Christopher J. Tootle and Stockton-reared vocalist Jerry Littlejohn, “eats, sleeps and drinks Tower of Power’s music,” Sims said. “Mic Gillette is our mentor. He even helps contribute arrangements to our music. And when Mic attends our practices, I call it boot camp,” he said.

ReUnion’s Bump City tribute also includes music of another horn-driven Bay Area musical group, Lydia Pense and Cold Blood. Singer Christine Acosta dispenses the Pense vocals.
The Arts in River Park organization spent its first two years as the H Street Festival, a multimedia event (arts, crafts, information booths and entertainment) held first at a shopping center in River Park and then at the Masonic Scottish Rite center. Its first event was a multicultural fair held exactly one year after 9/11. For the past eight years, it has functioned as Arts in River Park and staged a couple of events a year.

In addition to music by ReUnion, the Dec. 30 event will feature handmade items including ceramics by Robyn Slakey, crafts and paintings by Deborah and Michael Smith and Joy Gee, jewelry and art by Matrix Arts, jewelry and crafts by Sister Sheba and purses by Anastasia Kryukova.

For more information and reservations, e-mail Brenda Waters at BjewWaters@aol.com or call her at (916) 457-3337.

About the author

Jim Carnes

Jim Carnes has masters degrees in English and journalism and is a former National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow in popular culture at Stanford University. He has covered Sacramento arts and entertainment for more than 20 years. He currently writes about and reviews theater, dance, music and events in the Sacramento area.

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