Ambrosia Headlines CalProg in Whittier

By Lorraine Kay

WHITTIER, CA – Just one week away and the excitement is building for CalProg 2010, in Whittier, CA. The annual event is being held Saturday, October. 2 and will begin at 11 a.m. in the Whittier Community Center, 7630 S. Washington Avenue.

The full day of great prog-rock from around the planet will be offered in a family-friendly atmosphere. Not just a concert, the music festival will be supported by vendors offering a variety of items for sale and merchandise for the bands. All-in-all it will be a great day for progressive rock and progressive rock fans.

In its seventh year out, CalProg traditionally offers a number of excellent bands for the enjoyment of progressive rock fans. The annual gathering of fans of the non-traditional music will again present a platform for family entertainment and for hard-core fans. This year’s music offering will be Ambrosia, District 97, RPWL, and miRthkon.

Ambrosia, an American band from the 70s, originally from California’s South Bay, headlines the day’s festivities. Once labeled America’s answer to the progressive invasion of such English acts as Yes and King Crimson the band went on to garner five Grammy nominations.  Originally a four-piece band, the band has evolved and will feature for this concert Doug Jackson on guitar, David Lewis on keyboards, Ken Stacey on vocals  Christopher North on guitar, Burleigh Drummond on drums, and Joe Puerta on bass.

RPWL, a German progressive rock band was formed in 1997 in Freising, Germany as a Pink Floyd cover band. The band’s name comes from the first letters of the original four members; Phil Paul Rissettio, Chris Postl, Karlheinz Wallner, and Yogi Lang. Obviously influenced by Floyd RPWL is also melodic, dynamic, and at times symphonic. They say their sound is all about textures and layers and never about shredding. While they have toured extensively in Europe, they have only appeared briefly twice before in America. This time out the band will feature two of the original four members – Yogi Lang on keyboards and vocals, and Karlheinz Wallner on guitars. Joining the band will be
Werner Taus on bass, Markus Jehle keyboards and, Marc Turiaux on drums.

District 97 is a Chicago based band formed in the Fall of 2006 by drummer Jonathan Schang, keyboardist Rob Clearfield, bassist Patrick Mulcahy and guitarist Sam Krahn. The foursome from Chicago honed a no-holds barred style of Liquid Tension Experiment inspired Instrumental Rock before deciding to complement their sound with 2007 American Idol Top 10 Female Finalist, Leslie Hunt. She is credited with pushing the band into a new direction that forged a unique marriage between accessible, catchy vocal melodies and an adventurous instrumental prowess.
But the band was not done growing. Next to join the band was Katinka Kleijn, cellist extraordinaire from the world-renowned Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Jim Tashjian one of Chicago’s finest young guitarists. Running the gamut from Meshuggah-inspired metal, the epic majesty of Yes, and the melodicism of the Beatles, District 97’s newest release, Hybrid Child, unveils District 97 as a true force to be reckoned with, and one that is poised to take the music world by storm.

The music of MiRthkon, Oakland, California’s latest entry into a rich tradition of anti-tradition, features an inimitable blend of quirky prog rock, avant-garde jazz, contemporary classical abstraction, thrash metal, and an uncanny pop accessibility that defies categorization. They will bring a multi-media presentation to CalProg, featuring Rob Pumpelly on guitars, Carolyn Walter on clarinets/saxes, Matt Lebofsky on bass and Vox, Jamison Smeltz on saxes; Matt Guggemos on drums, and Wally Scharold on guitars and Vox.

Over the past six years CalProg has been a treat by any standard for fans, who return year after year for this special event. “It isn’t every day that you can hear so much progressive rock in one place here in California. Progressive rock is all over the place in Europe with concerts and festivals all the time, but it is rare here and an event that cannot be missed,” said one fan.

The bands don’t just perform but are accessible to the fans between sets for autographs and for one-on-one chatting, Vendors will have a variety of items to support collector’s habits with hard to find CDs and other collectibles. One vendor who has been as much of the show and the musicians has been artist Paul Whitehead, known for his great fantasy art that graces the covers of some of the greatest albums ever, including Genesis and many others.

CalProg is produced by Jim Harrel, known as PapaJ by his friends. Joined by an all-volunteer CalProg staff, PapaJ promises to make sure you have the best possible concert experience. For tickets and more information visit www.calprog.com.