Soul 62 in tune for Alzheimer’s walk

It can be a cold, frosty morning for the annual Alzheimer’s walk, but a Belmont secondary rhythm and blues band helps people keep a spring in their step.

Belmont secondary students Melissa Thompson

Belmont secondary students Melissa Thompson

It can be a cold, frosty morning for the annual Alzheimer’s walk, but a Belmont secondary rhythm and blues band helps people keep a spring in their step.

For the fifth year running, Soul 62 is performing at the Walk For Memories event at the University of Victoria, which supports the Alzheimer Society of B.C.

“My own mother has Alzheimer’s,” said Glenn Whitney, a Belmont music teacher and band leader. “The event struck a chord with me. I feel the need to support it.”

“It makes us feel good to provide the background music. It’s often cold and brisk out, so the music gives a well-needed boost to an event like that.”

Soul 62, with 16 musicians including Whitney, has a full rhythm and horn sections and typically belts out 1960s and 70s rock, R&B and soul tunes — Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder are old favourites. They have a 40 tune repertoire in all.

Most of the Soul 62 kids have been with the band for at least three years, giving the group unusual depth and experience for a school band.

Many of the kids started with Whitney when he taught at Dunsmuir middle school in Colwood, before he was transferred to Belmont.

“They are definitely not a typical high school band. They are a great sounding band,” Whitney said. “It’s nice not having to rebuild every few years and I’ve found a very talented group along the way.”

Soul 62 will be out bright and early Sunday morning in Centennial Stadium at the University of Victoria. The Walk for Memories is Jan. 30, 10 to 11:30 a.m. Registration is at 9 a.m. For more information call 250-727-9191 or 1-800-667-3742.

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