BEST BETS: Chainbreak all over the musical map

Members of the band Chainbreak, from left, Jeff Thompson, Tom Baker, Steve Parsons and Ricky Parsons, will perform at Dover’s Cowboy Up Saloon tonight starting at 9. (Submitted photo)

Playing in bands in his 20s and 30s, Mr. Parsons took an almost two-decade break from music to raise a family, go back to school and start a business.

In 2009, the itch to play again returned and he and the band Chainbreak have been going strong ever since.

Looking to get back in the music game, Mr. Parsons, a vocalist and bassist, hooked up with bass player John Farber and brought Mr. Parsons’ son Ricky into the mix.

“I had gone 19 years not playing in public. I’d play with my son in the home environment. He was in school pursuing a mechanical engineering degree and I went back to school for (information technology),” Mr. Parsons said.

“I had responsibilities and music wasn’t the number one thing in my life anymore. But I reached out and found John and he pretty much had the same story. My son finished his schooling and we all got the urge to start playing.”

These days Chainbreak is a four-piece outfit. Mr. Farber passed away in 2015. Initially Tom Baker replaced him on bass but then moved over to guitar and keyboards when Jeff Thompson joined the band and took over on bass guitar.

“I actually didn’t know if I wanted to continue after John died. Tom jumped in to help us out until the end of the year and I just called him to see if he could help us wrap things up,” Mr. Parsons said.

“But then we decided we didn’t want to quit. Things were working well. Tom recommended Jeff to join us on bass and it turns out Ricky and Jeff knew each other from being on the (Dover) high school band together.

“Tom lives in Eden, Maryland which is almost in Princess Anne so I didn’t know how long he wanted to stay with us. But he works in Georgetown, which isn’t too far a drive to most of our gigs and he’s stuck with us,” Mr. Parsons said.

Staring out playing in the former W.T. Smithers in Dover, Chainbreak has been a mainstay in places like Fraizer’s and Cowboy Up in Dover and The Green Stinger in Woodside.

They’ve also started playing more private parties and weddings.

“Our goal is to get into some of the higher-end establishments — casinos and things like that,” Mr. Parsons said.

He thinks the eclectic nature of the band helps their appeal.

“Our music has morphed over the years. It used to be more ’70s and ’90s heavier rock but now we’ve reached into other genres,” he said.

“We often refer to ourselves as a radio station where you can spin the dial and whatever you hear is what we’re playing.”

The band swings from older and newer country to bands like Linkin Park, The Who, Journey and Seven Mary Three.

“We’re all pretty eclectic. Tom likes the ’80s stuff a lot so we’ve added a bunch of that. We’ve always been all over the place where three of us (Mr. Parsons, Mr. Baker and Mr. Thompson) share the vocals for the most part,” Mr. Parsons said.

“We all sing together well and pride ourselves on our three-part harmonies.”

Chainbreak is a band that likes to keep fans guessing.

“We do a plan but it’s a living thing and we try to listen and watch and see what people are responding to,” he said.

“Venues always ask ‘What do you play?’ and we say ‘What do you need to hear?’ We can reach back and pull out Rush if we need to. If they say ‘Don’t play any country,’ we can accommodate that. We haven’t pushed ourselves too far in a hole where we can’t not play country. We really do try to mix things up.”

When not on stage, Mr. Parsons owns an audio-visual business and Mr. Thompson is band director for Central Academy in Milford.

Mr. Baker founded Frets 4 Vets, a group that gives guitar lessons to veterans with PTSD, depression and other mental health struggles in order to develop healthy coping skills.

Eventually, they receive a guitar built by Mr. Baker, who along with Mr. Parsons and Mr. Thompson offer their time giving lessons.

Along with being able to get back on the local music scene, Mr. Parsons, a Laurel native who now lives in Dover, says he is grateful for the chance to play with his son.

“It’s a gift as far as I’m concerned,” he said.

“I don’t take that for granted and I know that can end at anytime. When he’s ready to move on, that will probably be my cue to bow out and move on. We’ve had fill-in drummers and not to put anyone else on a lower shelf, it’s just not the same without him driving the music.”

Farndale Christmas

Erin Rich, left, and Elizabeth Roe star in the Second Street Players’ production of “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of A Christmas Carol .”

Second Street Players presents “The Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Production of A Christmas Carol” by David McGillivray and Walter Zerlin Jr. loosely based on Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”.

Performance dates are tonight through Sunday, as well as Dec. 1, 2 and 3. Curtain is at 8 p.m. for the Friday and Saturday shows and 3 p.m. for the Sunday shows.

All performances will be held at The Riverfront Theater. 2 S. Walnut St., Milford. Tickets are $17 and can be purchased at brownpapertickets.com or by calling the box office at 800-838-3006.

In a festive mood, the ladies of the Farndale Avenue Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society mount another assault on the classics with their stage version of “A Christmas Carol”.

They enthusiastically portray a dizzy array of characters from the Dickensian favorite (and a few which aren’t), engineer some novel audience participation while bravely contending with an intrusive PA system and in a real Farndale first, wrap their vocal cords — and feet — around two original songs.

Rehoboth tree lighting

The official kickoff to the 2017 holiday season will be the city of Rehoboth Beach’s Tree Lighting and Sing-Along at the bandstand tonight from 6:30 to 7.

The sing-along will be hosted by Clear Space Theatre and officially illuminate the city’s most famous tree at 7 p.m.

For event information, visit rehobothbandstand.com or contact the Communications Department at 302-227-2772 or communications@cityofrehoboth.com.

Milton Tree Lighting

The town of Milton invites all to the annual Park and Tree Lighting Saturday at 6 p.m.

This year’s lighting is hosted by The Milton Community Foundation and they will be providing cookies for all. The Milton Lions Club will have lots of hot chocolate.

The Water’s Edge Church will be providing music from the park gazebo stage. with strolling carolers.

The town’s public works team led by Gregg Wingo will be decking the park in over 30,000 lights to brighten up the night.

For more information, call 302-684-4110.

Fellow Travelers in Milton

The Fellow Travelers featuring Brad Stevens will present “A Celtic Christmas” at the historic Milton Theatre on Saturday at 8 p.m.

“A Celtic Christmas” recreates the joy and innocence of a night before Christmas, when the neighboring families gather around the fire to grace the wintry night with the haunting melodies of traditional Irish Christmas carols, to raise the rafters with the joy of their music and to knock sparks off the flagstone floor with traditional dances, and to fill the night with the laughter of their stories.

Fellow Travelers is composed of Michael O’Loughlin, Dave Kohut, with father and son Mickey and Keagan Justice.

Tickets are $15 to $25 and available for purchase online at MiltonTheatre.com, via phone by calling 302-684.-3038, or at the event itself.

The Milton Theatre is at 110 Union St.

Christmas in Harrington

The annual Harrington Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on Tuesday at 6 p.m. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served. Rain date will be Wednesday at 6 p.m.

The Harrington Christmas Parade will be held on Friday, Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. Rain date will be Saturday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m.

To register for the parade, visit hprnews.com and click on Harrington Christmas Parade located in the menu on the left side of the page.

Now Showing

New in theaters this weekend is the animated “Coco 3D,” Denzel Washington in the suspense-thriller “Roman J. Israel Esq.” and the holiday film “The Man Who Invented Christmas.”

On DVD and download starting Tuesday is the heist film “Logan Lucky.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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