Wambeke & Friends ward off winter cold

John Wambeke and Pat Ward are the masterminds behind the annual Cabin Fever Concert. Only 60 tickets remain for the Jan. 16 Dutch oven dinner event.

Only 60 tickets remain for Jan. 16 Cabin Fever Concert

By TAMMY MALGESINI

Community Editor

John Wambeke & Friends are back for an eighth year for the annual Cabin Fever Concert.

“It continues to be the highlight of the winter for us,” Wambeke said.

In addition to Wambeke’s familiar friends, a pair of new faces will take the stage. After hearing Abbi Hernandez, 11, perform at a winery last spring, Wambeke contacted her family to make arrangements to bring her to Hermiston as a special guest.

With a “mean version” of Taylor Swift, Wambeke said she has “American Idol” potential.

Also, Jimmy Creason of Irrigon is a newcomer to the Cabin Fever Concert. Wambeke said the 19-year-old has taken a number of lessons, yet he’s definitely a self-styled guitar player.

“Plus, he can sing ‘Marie Laveau’ like you wouldn’t believe,” Wambeke said.

The Dutch oven dinner show features a hearty beef stroganoff meal catered by Sharon’s Sweet Treats. It also includes a scrumptious, mouth-watering cobbler, Wambeke said. With seating for 400, Wambeke said only about 60 tickets remain.

The event is Saturday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m. at the Hermiston Conference Center, 415 S. Highway 395. Tickets are $38 and are available by calling Cottage Flowers at 541-567-4305 or stopping by at 1725 N. First St., Hermiston.

And, of course, Cabin Fever wouldn’t be complete without the on-going saga of Thelma and Eunice, played by Wambeke and Pat Ward. The “sweet” old spinsters of the Dibbley Parrish hit the road as Eunice is taking her first driving lessons. It seems as Eunice has aged, her anatomy has gone south just enough, enabling her to squeeze behind the steering wheel.

Ward, who prides himself on getting into character, also will get gussied up as Lefty’s mom. Pete and Lefty were characters created for advertising the show. It seemed a natural step to introduce the audience to Lefty’s mom, while giving Ward another opportunity to get in touch with his feminine side.

With the show billed as “a delightful mixture of music and humor,” Ward mostly is the funny man. Although he does possess musical talents of his own, Ward credits others in the show.

“I enjoy the music side of it,” he said. “The musicians are fantastic and they really know their craft.”

Among the talented musicians, Ward said, is Frazer Wambeke. The 2004 Hermiston High School graduate — oldest son of John and Jordawn Wambeke — was raised in a musical family. Also a graduate of Columbia Basin College in Pasco, Wambeke performs several gigs a week, including with the Frazer Wambeke Trio, which includes Frazer Wambeke (piano/guitar/vocals), Juan Hernandez (bass) and Derek Munson (drums).

Proud papa Wambeke is excited about what’s coming up for Frazer after this year’s Cabin Fever Concert. He’ll be heading to Chicago the first part of February for an open call audition for NBC’s “The Voice.”

“We’ve been after him forever,” Wambeke said about auditioning for the show. “So, we finally bought him a ticket and said, ‘You’re going.’”

For more information about the Jan. 16 concert and dinner show, search Facebook for “Cabin Fever Concert.”

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