Above:  Carlo on trumpet, Don on trombone, (doubling on keyboards), John on trumpet, and Nick on sax
The band was back at the Gladstone for another show a few months later, but this time, the evening had a much different ‘feel’ to it.  Band trumpet player and one of the original founding members, John Willett, let us know in the early summer that he had been diagnosed with cancer and the doctors had given him just a few short months.  This early June 2013 show at the Gladstone Tavern in Hamilton would be John’s last with the band. The lighting was very poor in the Gladstone that night and that, plus the general mood in the room left little opportunity to take pictures.
It was a bittersweet night as many of John’s friends from 50 years in music shared the stage with the band.  Sadly though, it would be the last time John would take the Powerhouse stage -- a band he founded, 30 years ago -- as he lost his battle with cancer by Labour Day weekend.
A week or so after the second Gladstone show, the band was in East Hamilton’s Gage Park to headline the annual St. Anthony of Padua Summer Festival.  The band brought a number of shows to the park that day -- opening with their regular Powerhouse show, followed by a 7-song set of Italian favourites with Frank Rondell.  After a number of other acts took the stage, the band was back with Dave Battah and his Rod Stewart tribute show.  The band finished their shows with an evening set of Chicago Transit just before the evening-closing firework display.  All in all, it was an excellent and rather long day at the George R. Robinson Bandshell in Gage Park.
Once John Willett left the band, the decision was made to not replace him -- either his vocals or his trumpet.  The band vocal arrangements would be redone and from this point forward, the Powerhouse horn section would be the three-piece unit -- Don on trombone, Nick on sax and Carlo on trumpet.
Following the opening Powerhouse show and after a number of other acts took the stage, it was Frank Rondell’s turn (pictured, right) to ‘wow’ the somewhat biased crowd with his selection of Italian favourites. Next up was Dave Battah and his Rod Stewart trubute show (pictured, far right).  Dave always ‘nails it’ and this was no exception. It was far too dark to take pictures of the closing Chicago Transit show, but word has it that the players and instrumentation looked very similar to the players and instrumentation of the opening Powerhouse band.
A few weeks after the Gage Park shows, the band was off again with Dave Battah and his Rod Stewart show to, what was becoming one of the band’s favourite long-distance stops -- the Bay Mills Resort and Casino in Brimley, Northern Michigan on the southern shore of the rather cold waters of Lake Superior.  Since it was the July long holiday weekend, everyone travelled north in a different way -- some in the band truck, some went up a day early to do a round of golf at the Bay Mills G.C. Still others travelled with their families to put a mini-holiday around the Saturday night Rod Stewart shows.  We all linked up in the casino for soundcheck, then dinner, then the evening shows.  We do seem to be able to get some of our best band pictures during soundcheck when the boys are relaxed and in their civvies.  The lighting is certainly much better.
Above:  Roger behind the drum kit, Steve on guitar, Mike on bass and Tony on keyboard
2013 would turn out to be another very difficult year for the Powerhouse band.  To start the year, our guitarist, Mark LaForme let us know he would be leaving the band to continue his own very lucrative musical career.  In steeped long- time Hamilton guitar tradition, Steve King brought an impressive resume with him and he played his first show with us a few months into the year as we returned to a favourite local club, the Gladstone Tavern. It was another great gig to open the year with our new guitarist at the Gladsone Tavern in Hamilton.  We would return here a few months later under much different circumstances.
Lighting in the room was a bit of a challenge for picture taking, but Dave quickly had the crowd rocking to his somewhat flawless Rod Stewart tribute act.  It was another great weekend up north at the Bay Mills casino.  The Michigan Upper Peninsula was becoming one of our regular band stops.
The band closed out the year by taking their Powerhouse, Chicago Transit and Rod Stewart shows down the road to Sparta, Ontario to the grounds of the beautiful Quai Du Vin Estate Winery.  This was a truly impressive venue.  Amid rows and rows of vines, a large concrete platform had been built  behind one of the barns.  Overhead was a rain covering and in front were laid hundreds of square floor coverings to form a rather huge dance floor.   Tents for the guests were everywhere with a beautiful lush forest behind.  It was a terrific place to spend the day making music.
By the time the show started, the park had filled up nicely.  The band opened with their Chicago Transit show, went off-stage for a bit, changed their shirts (laughing, here), then came back on with their R&B Powerhouse show.  The people seemed appreciative and it was another excellent night in Del Crary Park. It was another great day of music and a great way to close out the year.