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The City Journals

Taylorsville Dayzz Regulars Return to the Stage

Jul 15, 2016 08:08AM ● By Tori La Rue

By Tori La Rue | [email protected]

Ralph Myles’s band and Jenne Whipp and her friends have been performing at Taylorsville Dayzz since the early 2000s, and they came back for another round during this year’s celebration.

 “It is a hoot, it really is,” Myles said about performing at Taylorsville Dayzz. “They get the best crowds. Taylorsville City people are such a joy.”

Whipp agreed.

“It’s a fun hobby being here,” she said. “I think we’ve just signed the Taylorsville Dayzz performance application so many times that it’s become automatic.”

Susan Holman, Taylorsville Dayzz entertainment coordinator, said she counts on Myles and Whipp’s performances every year. Holman, who’s been coordinating for 10 years, said she always schedules Myles’s band, The Short Bus Band, for a two-hour set on the festival’s Saturday night. The group plays song after song until the carnival and celebration conclude around midnight.

“We cat called out to people who were leaving, and convinced them to spend some time with us because they’d have to wait so long to get out of the parking lot anyway,” Myles said. “We usually have about 300 or 400 people watching us, and they respond and we feed off of their energy. It turns into quite a bit of a little party.”

The Short Bus Band consists of five members – Dave Harris, keyboards; Effie Harris female vocals; Jon Harris, bass; Tony Mazza, percussion and drums; Pat Guy, lead guitar and Myles on rhythm guitar. The group met at church, and shortly thereafter saw a sign about Taylorsville Dayzz and decided to sign up. Four members of the band are comfortable singing in public.

“That gives us more diversity of what songs we can do because we’re not tied down to one person’s voice,” Myles said. “I love songs when I am screaming, but our female vocalist – she can do ‘Amazing Grace’ and just melt you, and those are her vocal capabilities. We’re all different like that.”

The band members range in age from mid-20s to mid-60s, and they play songs that any of their band members suggest – focusing on hits from the 50s to now.

One song Myles was excited to play at the 2016 Taylorsville Dayzz was Creedence Clearwater’s “It Came Out of the Sky,” because he changed the lyrics to revolve around Taylorsville’s surroundings, he said. The crowd really seemed to catch onto it, he said.

The Short Bus Band performs about once a month at different venues. Although they usually charge to play, they play at Taylorsville Dayzz for free because they love the environment, Holman said.

“Taylorsville is just one of those really awesome events to participate in,” Myles said. “The staff – they are flexible, and when a problem does arise, it is discussed and resolved.”

When Whipp’s three sons hear her practicing songs, they know that Taylorsville Dayzz is just around the corner, Whipp said. Whipp’s first performance in Taylorsville’s festival was in 2002. The first performance was a little “scary and awkward,” so she only signed up for 15 minutes, she said.

“I can definitely say I am a lot less nervous because I know how it works, and I go in prepared,” Whipp said. “I’ve never had a bad experience at Taylorsville Dayzz.”

In 2003, Whipp tried out for American Idol with a group of friends from Taylorsville and the surrounding area. Whipp, Adam Caula, Brittania Willams and Becci Perry camped in the audition line to secure their chances of singing for preliminary judges. Although none of them made it past the second round, they formed a close friendship.

Whip invited the three of them to sing with her at Taylorsville Dayzz, and they accepted. The group never adopted an official title, but Whipp said she called them AIR, which stand for American Idol rejects, even though her friends didn’t like the name.

Ever since 2003, some combination of the friends has performed at the city’s celebration. Because of family troubles and prior commitments, Caula, Williams and Perry were unable to sing with Whipp this year, so she performed with Juliet Darger, Williams’s sister. They sang several duets and solos, including “Let it Go” from Disney’s “Frozen” and Adele and Kelly Clarkson songs.

About Whipp and friends, Holman said, “I’ve watched her grow up and get married and have kids, yet she still comes back to perform for us. We love having her.”