Of the Keizertimes

This weekend’s free show at Keizer Rapids Park plays host to a reunion of all 1970s McNary High School graduates.

Set for 6:30 p.m. Saturday, July 9, the show at Keizer Rotary Amphitheatre features The Boomers, a classic rock quartet featuring Celt alums Mark Jones on bass and Finn Stovin on guitar. Both sing as well.

On drums is Dan vonTrapp, a South Salem High graduate, and guitarist/keyboardist/singer Frank McAuley came to the area after stops in Germany, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and South Korea with the U.S. Air Force.

Beer, wine and liquor are available for the free show, sponsored by KRA LLC and the City of Keizer. The group reunion was planned, Jones said, for those who couldn’t make their particular class reunion or just wanted to see friends who graduated a bit before or after. Tom Schuh helped mastermind the event.

About 200 people came last year, Jones said.

Jones’ mother would be familiar to anyone who took music classes at the school in that era: Alice Rose Jones was music director at McNary from 1966-1985. She co-wrote several original musicals for the school during her tenure. Jones accompanied the McNary Highlanders choir on guitar and bass, and the band that formed to play with the choir ended up performing at prom one year.

“She exposed me to a lot of classical music, but it was my sister who broke away,” Jones said. “She’s just shy of three and a half years older than me and was buying lots of pop and rock music.”

Mom also got him going early in piano and theory lessons, which led him to explore a career in music education while attending Oregon College of Education (now Western Oregon University).

“I don’t know what it was but the mix didn’t go well,” Jones said. “it wasn’t fun anymore and I wanted to have fun with my music.”

Finn Stovin moved from Regina, Saskatchewan to Keizer at seven years old. His new home, he recalled, had warmer rain and not-so-many accordion dances. So he learned after his dad had started him on accordion lessons.

“Lots of dances back in Saskatchewan had accordion players, he thought that’s what he’d like me to do, so when we moved here he got me started on that and realized there’s not very many accordion dances here,” he said.

So he switched to guitar at 13, and ended up playing the McNary High talent show his junior year.

“That kinda gave me the bug of wanting to be on stage and perform,” Stovin said.

The band plays gigs regularly in the area, having come off three shows on Independence Day weekend. But Jones said playing for his peers adds a special element.

“When they know you you’re much more approachable, as opposed to a regional band or even a local band no one knows,” Jones said. “After a show we’ll have 40 people come up to the stage, shake hands, give hugs, and that’s great. How could someone not enjoy when your music affects them that way?”