George Webber may very well have the only Hammond B3 organ in Sarnia-Lambton.
The instrument was purchased in 1968 and George – with his wife Sue – hauled it to gigs all over Ontario and Michigan for decades.
“It’s huge. It weighs 450 pounds,” said Sue. “There was at least one time when a door had to be taken off its hinges so we could move the Hammond inside.”
The year they bought the Hammond B3 the Webbers got married and started touring as a duo and with various bands.
They’ve lived a charmed life, said Sue.
“It’s been rewarding to be with your best friend 24/7, playing together and having fun.”
These days, the organ stays put in one venue. George plays it every Sunday, and the Webbers host Live Music Cafes every second Friday of the month from September to June.
The cafes start up again Sept. 9 at Four Square Gospel church, where the free evenings of live entertainment have gained in popularity.
“We have been playing to a full house, packed with 65 to 70 people each month,” said Sue. “There’s nothing like listening to the old technology of George’s Hammond organ.
At each Live Music Cafe the Webbers are joined by a special guest. On Sept. 9, that will be Brian Grundy, an acoustic guitar player and singer.
Their music is varied but, at its core, is upbeat Motown from the ‘60s and ‘70s.
“We also tend toward R & B and gospel,” said Sue. “And we like to end every night with Joe Cocker’s With A Little Help From My Friends.”
The Webbers also play regularly with Sisters of Soul, a harmonizing group that includes Fran Schweitzer and Jaime Keelan. Schweitzer broached the idea of an all-female group, supported by George, who travels with a Yamaha keyboard these days.
Together they choose music that “not everyone else is doing and that suits our voices,” said Sue.
“We’ll do some blues and gospel by Ruthie Foster or Keb Mo, some Motown like Dancing in the Streets or Your Love is Lifting Me Higher, some Beatles, some Van Morrison, Jackson Five, and then there’s Aretha Franklin’s R & B.”
Sisters of Soul have two upcoming shows, first at the Canatara bandshell Aug. 15 at 7 p.m., then at Paddy Flaherty’s Aug. 21. Two more Soul Sisters will join the group onstage at Paddy’s including Cathy Landeryou and Cheryl McFarlane.
The Arts Journal features stories related to Sarnia’s cultural scene. Contact Cathy Dobson with any ideas at [email protected] or 226-932-0985.