When Waynesburg mayor, Brian Tanner, heard Ferris Bueller’s Revenge play during the Pittsburgh Penguins’ ’80s Theme Night at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh, he liked what he heard so much he suggested to Athena Bowman, Rain Day special events coordinator, that she book the band for Waynesburg’s annual July 29 celebration.
With his suggestion, the mayor made Bowman’s job just a little easier. After listening to the band on the Internet, she invited them in as the Rain Day headliner.
Starting in December each year, Bowman begins researching bands in the area for inclusion in the Rain Day spectrum of live entertainment, always trying for a mix of musical genres. Some she hears at area clubs in the Pittsburgh and Morgantown areas. Others she researches on the Internet, listening to them on YouTube and Facebook.
Working with a budget of under $10,000, which usually includes $2,500 for the main stage headliner, she also considers bands that contact her about a Rain Day performance and send her their CDs.
“This year, we’ll have two Rain Day stages — one on the courthouse steps, another on the lawn by the First National Bank,” she said. “I’ve heard Ferris Bueller’s Revenge, our headline band, on Facebook and am very excited to hear them live on Rain Day.”
Shawn Maudhuit, who plays guitar and sings vocals for Ferris Bueller’s Revenge, said the band formed 18 years ago, but took two years to find just the right combination of musicians. When searching for a name that fits their ’80s repertoire, he said he wanted something different and unique. He considered titles of popular films from the ’80s.
Ferris Bueller’s Revenge struck a chord because it pays tribute to an iconic film of the era and connotes the greatest hits from that decade — everything from Rick Springfield and Bon Jovi to George Michael and Poison.
“We’re a six member band from Pittsburgh that plays mostly ’80s hits like ‘Jessie’s Girl,’ ‘Footloose’ and ‘Whip It,’” Maudhuit said. “But sometimes we throw in something new or something older, but it’s still inspired by ’80s.”
Past performance venues include the Meadows Casino in Washington and the Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh as well as Jergel’s Rhythm Grill in Warrendale. The band will perform in Waynesburg for the first time on the Rain Day main stage from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m.
For a preview look, check out the band’s videos on Facebook and YouTube. If you miss their Rain Day gig or want to hear them again, they’ll be at the Meadows Casino in Washington the evening of November 17.
The Rain Day musical lineup will kickoff at noon on the main stage with His Royal Blood, a six member Southern Gospel group from Mt. Morris with “hints of old ’70s rock, music of today and contemporary Christian music.”
“We’ve been performing for five years now at churches, festivals, fairs and private parties,” said Candy Mayle, vocalist and lead guitarist. “We play just about everywhere because we love what we do.”
The band plays both songs composed by other artists as well by Roger Lemley, the band’s acoustic guitarist. Their album CD “Mountain “ was released two years ago and the single, titled “Sometimes It Takes a Mountain” is #5 on Praise Radio. To preview their music, go to YouTube.
Helping Bowman with the band selections, Lucien Schroyer, owner of LPS Guitars in Waynesburg, will perform on the second stage at 6 p.m. with Rodney Parson, a 2018 grad of West Greene High School.
“Rodney’s been a student of mine since he was 11,” Schroyer said. “He’s now 19, and his abilities have grown enormously over the years. He seems to have a natural instinct for music.”
The duo will perform a mix of genres - country, folk rock and even a bit of opera.
“We’ll take current rock music and add connotations of opera which makes the songs ethereal,” Schroyer said.
To open the second stage, Schroyer is bringing in Good for Friday, a country, classic acoustic rock band from Washington he heard on recordings. The band will perform starting at 3:30 p.m.
On the main stage starting at 1:30 p.m. three of Schroyer’s students will perform solos with him providing the accompaniment. Lexie VanDyne (guitar and vocals), Cassidy Chambers (vocals) and Courtney Ross (vocals) all hail from West Greene.
“These students are all young adults working so hard to be the best they can be,” Schroyer said. “They are all so good they could be playing professionally.”
Throughout the day, more than a dozen bands and soloists will perform on both stages. Additional performers include strolling juggler, Howard Mincone, and a balloon artist from JMS Balloon Art who will be making designs from balloons on the courthouse lawn from 1 to 4 p.m.