For the past couple of years, music lovers in the Danville area and in Person, Caswell, and Halifax counties have been treated to entertainment by a band that can and will play pretty much any kind of music its audiences want to hear. The band regularly performs at private events as well as at several local public venues.
Kenneth Thornton of Boulé– pronounced “boo-lay” – Instrumental Band said the seven members of the group don’t have a favorite genre they prefer to play. “We sing it all,” he told me.
Although the musicians have known each other for over 20 years, and have also performed for more than two decades, they formed Boulé just two and a half years ago. Before that, they were all members of a group called The Ole Skool Band, Thornton explained. After a few years in Ole Skool, the current members of Boulé then decided to form an instrumental band of their own and later began featuring singers.
The newly-formed Boulé Band’s first appearances included a birthday party and a funeral, Thornton told me. But their gigs have since expanded to include regular shows at Crema & Vine in Danville along with performances at Tunnel Creek Vineyards in Roxboro; the TMJ Community Center in Cluster Springs; First Friday in Yanceyville, and Milton 66 Beer Garden in Milton. In addition to Crema and Vine, the group has performed at Culture Restaurant, The Bee Hotel, Thee Arc Family Life Center, Bikes on Main, Westmoreland Park, The Danville Conference Center, and Tuscarora Country Club in the Danville area.
The group’s philosophy is to “try to look and sound professional and try to provide enjoyable music for all age groups and all genres,” according to Thornton.
“We do old school and Motown,” he said. The band’s offerings “range from The Temptations to Chris Stapleton, LeeAnne Rimes, Aretha Franklin, Kool and the Gang, Rod Stewart, Michael McDonald and Chris Cross, gospel, jazz and a variety of others,” he told me. The group is also in the process of composing some original songs. Thornton added that the musicians work hard to constantly improve their performances.
The band consists of four musicians and features three singers. “Jerry Davis, who has been singing for a long time, offers a smooth singing voice,” said Thornton.
Sterling McCain is the group’s veteran singer, he added. McCain has been singing on the road for over 40 years and is the lead “Motown Man.”
Katrina Forest is a female vocalist who offers a wide range of female-led songs. “She has been singing since high school and is a very talented individual,” Thornton continued.
Darrell McClean is “one of the best saxophonists in the area,” and Robert Freeman, lead guitarist, “sounds just like Ernie Isley,” according to Thornton.
John Jones is “Mr. Everything,” his bandmate said. Jones plays bass and keyboard and is the drum programmer. He also has his own recording studio.
Thornton serves as the keyboardist for the group, and said he has several recorded projects.
Each member of Boulé is also a church musician. The name Boulé means “God’s Purpose, God’s Plan,” Thornton explained. “Our purpose is to put smiles on peoples’ faces through good entertainment.”
The group’s most memorable venues and performances include “Festival in the Park, Homeplace Vineyard, Tunnel Creek, Crema & Vine, and Beer Garden in Yanceyville, just to name a few,” Thornton told me. The most rewarding appearances thus far include National Night Out, a national community-building event that promotes police and community partnerships. The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Danville and Halloween at the Museum of Fine Arts in Danville are also highlights for the group, Thornton said.
The group has a number of private events coming up over the winter months, and, after Halloween at the Danville Museum of Fine Arts, public events will include Christmas on the Plaza in Danville on Dec. 1.
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