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Screech Owls to perform country classics at Williams Lake barn dance

The Screech Owls will entertain with original songs, classics at Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo
Cole Patenaude shreds the electric guitar while performing in Centennial Park last week at the opening of the 2023 Parks Alive Summer Music Series. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)

A local band is set to bring handcrafted music to this year’s indoor rodeo.

The Screech Owls will be performing at the second annual Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo in Williams Lake, which will take place April 19, 20 and 21. The band will perform original songs and classic tunes during a barn dance on Saturday night.

The band was officially formed in 2022 when singer and guitarist Cole Patenaude moved back to his hometown of Williams Lake from Langley, where he had his three kids. While in Langley, he also released two albums with a previous group which he calls “absolute gems,” called The Cole Patenaude Band. As he explains, music has been in his family ever since he was a little kid.

“My family, The Patenaudes, have been performing music in the Cariboo and elsewhere for a long time now, with my dad, Geoff Patenaude, getting the family band rolling when I was three, and myself and all three of my sisters releasing music of our own since,” he explained.

As the loudest member of his family band, Patenaude said he is trying to get as much music in as he can before he fully inherits the family deafness.

With the Screech Owls, Patenaude performs on vocals and guitar. The rest of the band is made up of Connor Dolighan on vocals and guitar as well, Alex Tranq on bass and Kevin Easthope on the drums. Patenaude explains that recently, the band has had Dolighan’s brother, Rowan, join them for a few shows, as he’s a multi instrumentalist who can play everything from the banjo to the keyboard.

“Plus, he’s a great singer, so the three part harmonies are coming along ‘real nice and good’ — one of the many sayings we have in the band thanks to the esoteric genius of band manager Kevin,” Patenaude said.

Patenaude, Easthope and Tranq are old “frenemies” from school, and the band played their first shows at a house concert in Beaver Valley and the Medieval Market in 2022. The Screech Owls have been performing together ever since, with notable shows including headlining Arts on the Fly in Horsefly and opening the 100 Mile Centennial Park concert series in 2023, as well as many shows with Williams Lake First Nation.

All four original band members work for the Ministry of Forests, with two in the district office and two in BC Wildfire, and Patenaude said that at some point, all four will end up working with Wildfire in the busiest months. Rowan also works for the city as a swimming instructor and standard lifeguard at Cariboo Memorial Complex.

“We’re all local boys, growing up either in Williams Lake and Horsefly,” Patenaude said. “Three of us, so far, are dads and raising our kids with nature, dirt bikes and music here in the Cariboo.”

According to Patenaude, the Screech Owls plan on recording some all-original songs this fall, as well as touring as far as the wildfire schedules will allow them, in support of their new music.

“We are very excited to share our musical craft with the 2024 Indoor Rodeo faithful,”he said. “We’ll be bringing both our absolute top-shelf, handcrafted original songs along with our versions of some of the finest country tunes ever made.”

READ MORE: Plans underway for Williams Lake’s Indoor Spring Classic Rodeo

About the Author: Alexander Vaz, Local Journalism Initiative

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