Prime Time is a relatively new band but its members have been around a long time and that gives them the experience few new bands have.
Chuck Surack and Brett Kelsey, each of whom play multiple instruments, played together for nearly eight years in the Stardust Band, a local 14-piece big band that Surack started. Karin Martin, the bundle of energy from the Queens, New York, sang with The Answer for eight years before coming over to help form Prime Time.
Because of their versatility, Prime Time are comfortable performing in what seems to be every musical style except the exotic aliens lounge band in Star Wars and you probably shouldnt put that past them, either.
Prime Time came together only in April of this year. Already they have established themselves as the jack-of-all-trades in the local music scene, playing in venues from local clubs to private parties. On August 10, they appeared at the grand opening of Jefferson Pointe in Fort Wayne and were such a hit they were invited back on the spot to play a second set in the evening. They are available to play everything from concerts to weddings to corporate parties.
The years we played in the Stardust band led to Chuck and me getting together, said Kelsey, who plays trumpet, fluegalhorn, trombone and keyboards.
I had been playing with The Answer for about eight years and these guys approached me to play with them. They tried to break my arm, added Martin, with only a touch of overstatement.
The band plays what they call all the fun songs, the songs people love to hear.
Our variety is way bigger than other bands you see in this area. We do big band tunes and we do jazz, county and rock classic standards to things you hear on the radio today, said Surack, who plays saxophones, flute and keyboards. Were not really musicians, were entertainers.
From a singers perspective, Im glad Im not stuck in one little thing. This band gives me a chance to be very versatile, Martin said. She uses a wireless microphone to work the crowd, often getting them involved in the songs.
Older people in the audience at a Prime Time show sit alongside younger people. Each comes away happy, band members say, because Prime Time have a repertoire of some 350 songs. And they are willing to play them at the drop of a hat.
Lets let the players speak for themselves, as if they were taking turns to solo in one of their shows.
Surack is the founder and president of Sweetwater Sound. He grew up in Fort Wayne and graduated from Wayne High School. He claims that the only time he was ever punished in school was for playing Heart and Soul on the piano after the teacher told the class to remain quiet.
After high school, he went on the road to play in various bands, touring the country as a very young but professional musician on the club and Holiday Inn circuits.
After several years, I decided to return home and get a real job. I started Sweetwater in 1979 as a recording studio. We worked with a lot of the local bands and did a lot of corporate work, he said.
The company grew from a recording studio to where it is today, which is a major recording studio and a supplier of recording and other musical equipment.
The fortuitous purchase by Sweetwater of a new kind of synthesizer, the first one which allowed the digital recreation of actual recorded sounds and voices, brought Surack into close contact with many major stars who wanted advice and assistance on the instruments use in their own recordings. Think Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton and more recently Paul Simon and Matchbox 20.
All of a sudden all these people were calling us for technical help. I got album credits from Rogers and Stevie Wonder, Surack said. The retail side of Sweetwater started in this support of Suracks friends around the country.
Sweetwater even found a way to make B. B. Kings famed guitar Lucille digital.
Surack is self-taught on the instruments he plays, having taken exactly one saxophone lesson in his life. The technical/recording studio/computer side of his work came just as naturally.
Kelsey is a 1974 graduate of Elmhurst High School. He started playing guitar as a youngster but thought his fingers too short to play it properly so he switched to the trumpet. He began hanging around local jazz musicians such as Dick Quigley and absorbed as much as he could about the music and its mystique.
After he graduated from high school and attended IPFW for a year, he joined the Marine Corps to play in its various bands, spending three years of tough duty in Hawaii earning his stripes as a trumpet player.
In addition to playing in Marine Bands, I sat in as a trumpet player in a lot of other bands, Kelsey said.
Playing in a group as small as Prime Time has been a new experience for Kelsey, who cut his chops in larger bands, such as the local ITT Band.
I think it makes you play better. Weve gotten along very well, he said.
He now lives in Warsaw with his wife and niece and works at Bhar Associates in Fort Wayne, a local manufacturer of injection-molded plastic parts mainly for the auto industry. He probably hears rhythms in that work that no one else does.
If I had my druthers Id play full-time, but thats a hard way to make a living. I like the atmosphere in Warsaw and Fort Wayne. I dont think I could thrive in Los Angeles or New York, he said.
Martin did thrive in New York before moving to Fort Wayne in 1992. She was born and grew up in Queens on Long Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City.
Ive been singing since I was a little kid and my mother was my accompanist on the piano. I used to use a wooden spoon as my guitar and perform at family parties, she said.
Martin lived in a German immigrant neighborhood and much of her childhood was spent singing in church and other local choirs, sometimes in neighboring Brooklyn. She played piano for a while, then learned to play a real guitar.
I did some community theater and in high school I focused on musical theater. That was where I learned to dance. I also had my own little singing group in high school, kind of a barber shop group, Martin said.
After moving to Fort Wayne, she began singing with The Answer.
We were very successful and had quite a good following. I started working in radio advertising and doing free-lance voice-overs. Ive been at Sweetwater for three years, where I sell time in the recording studios and, if I have to, do voice-overs, Martin said.
According to Surack, Martins strength as a performer is her ability to emulate the styles and abilities of the singers who originally did the songs that Prime Time performs. That means she can evoke everyone from Bonnie Raitt to James Brown.
I love performing and I love involving the audience. I like all kinds of music and that helps. I think my theater experience comes across in our shows because I love to get out there and sell a song and help people enjoy themselves, Martin said.
If you want to find out for yourself what all this is like, you can find video and audio examples of Prime Times work at www.PTBand.com.
Prime Time is seeking a comfortable level of work in the area. They make themselves available to play at almost any kind of event, but each member has a day job and family responsibilities. We dont want to play every night and every weekend, Surack said.
Prime Time already have spent prime time as a house band at Club Soda and played at Curlys Village Inn, two Fort Wayne watering holes that represent opposite extremes in entertainment. Other recent gigs have included the Mangy Moose at Paulas Seafood Restaurant, DID Fest on August 29, the recent Capn Cork Beer Tasting at Headwaters Park, Bananas Steak House and Harveys. They also played at a lake house party near Churubusco. That should give you some idea of their ability to play almost anywhere anyone wants them.
Look for Prime Time to play Friday nights during September at Jimmys of Covington Bar and Grill beginning at 8:30 p.m. If you want to book Prime Time, call Martin at Sweetwater Sound, 219-432-8176, or e-mail Info@PTBand.com.
Friday, February 24, 2017
Click on the headings below for full calendars
Click header for complete Things To Do calendar
Summerbruise w/Stay Away, Jess Thrower — Rock at Brass Rail, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., $5, 267-5303
All Fired Up — Rock at Latch String Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 483-5526
Chris Worth & Company — Variety at Arena Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 557-1563
Classic Voice — Swing/variety at The Venice Restaurant, Fort Wayne, 7-10 p.m., no cover, (260) 482-1618
Dan Smyth Band — Variety at Mitchell's Sports Bar & Neighborhood Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., $3, (260) 387-5063
Eric Clancy and Friends — Jazz/blues at Club Soda, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 426-3442
Evan Lee Trio — Variety at Deer Park Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 432-8966
The Hambricks — Acoustic vairety at Nick's Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, 8:30 p.m., no cover, 482-6425
Hubie Ashcraft — Acoustic at Country Heritage Winery, Laotto, 5-8 p.m., no cover, 637-2980
Joe Stabelli — Jazz at Don Hall's Gas House, Fort Wayne, 5:45-9 p.m., no cover, 426-3411
Kat Bowser — Variety at Don Hall's Guesthouse, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 489-2524
Makayla — Variety at Duesy's Sports Bar, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 484-0411
Morning After — Rock at Dupont Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., cover, 483-1311
Teen Rock Takeover — Variety at C2G Music Hall, Fort Wayne , 8 p.m., $3, 426-6434
Todd Harrold & Nick Bobay Duo — R&B/blues/variety at O'Sullivan's Italian Irish Pub, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-1 a.m., no cover, 422-5896
West Central Quartet — PAWS fundraiser/jazz at Cottage Event Center, Roanoke, 7:30 p.m., $12, 483-3508
Big Dawg Karaoke w/Brian — Variety at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Bradley Scott — DJ at Pikes Pub, Fort Wayne, 8 p.m., no cover, 478-6200
Bucca Karaoke w/Ashley — Variety at Tower Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-6310
Classic City Karaoke w/Bryan Lee — Karaoke at Pine Valley Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 490-9464
Classic City Karaoke w/Juice — Karaoke at Meteor Bar & Grill, Auburn, 9 p.m.-3 a.m., no cover, 925-6226
Dance Party w/DJ Rich — Variety at Columbia Street West, Fort Wayne, 10:30 p.m., cover, 422-5055
DJ dance party — at Rum Runners, Fort Wayne, 8:30 p.m., ,
DJ Shawn — Karaoke/variety at Club Paradise, Angola, 10 p.m., no cover, 833-7082
DJ — Variety at Piggy's Brew Pub, Angola, 10 p.m., no cover, 665-7550
Fort Wayne Karaoke — Variety at Tap Haus, New Haven, 9 p.m., no cover, 493-6622
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Jay — Variety at Coconutz @ Crazy Pinz, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., no cover, 490-2695
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/Scott — Variety at JR's Pub, Leo, 9 p.m., no cover, 627-2500
Fort Wayne Karaoke w/TJ — at Chevvy's, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., ,
House DJ — Variety at Early Bird's Ultra Lounge, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 483-1979
House DJ — Variety at Flashback on the Landing, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m., cover, 422-5292
Karaoke w/DJ Chuck — Variety at DW Bar & Grill, Churubusco, 10 p.m., no cover, 693-8172
Karaoke — Variety at Coconutz @ Crazy Pinz, Fort Wayne, 9-11 p.m., no cover, 490-2695
Karaoke — Variety at Hamilton House, Hamilton, 9 p.m., no cover, 488-3344
Karaoke — Variety at Beamer's Sports Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 625-1002
Karaoke — Karaoke at Wrigley Field Bar & Grill, Fort Wayne, 7-11 p.m., no cover, 485-1038
Karaoke — Variety at Crooner's Karaoke Bar, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m.-3 a.m., no cover, 486-1979
Shooting Star Prod. w/Barbie — Variety at Uncle Lou's Steel Mill, Fort Wayne, 10 p.m., no cover, 436-5787
Sidecar Gary's Karaoke & DJ — Karaoke at 4 Crowns, Auburn, 10 p.m.-2 a.m., no cover, 925-9805
Sidecar Gary's Karaoke & DJ w/Kevin — Variety at Danny's Italian Grill, Fort Wayne, 9 p.m.-12 a.m., no cover, 484-4444
SureShot Karaoke w/David — Variety at The Green Frog Inn, Fort Wayne, 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m., no cover, 426-1088
Three Rivers Karaoke — at Bottle and Bottega, Fort Wayne, 8:30-10:30 p.m., no cover, 494-1020
Memphis — Fort Wayne Civic Theatre production featuring music from the underground dance clubs of 1950s Memphis, Tennessee, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, Arts United Center, Fort Wayne, $17-$29, 424-5220
Picasso at the Lapin Agile — Steve Martin’s absurdist comedy involving a conversation between Albert Einstein and Pablo Picasso in a Parisian cafe in 1904, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25 and 2 p.m Sunday, Feb. 26, USF Performing Arts Center, Fort Wayne, $10-$12, 422-4226
Stupid F*@%ing Bird — IPFW Department of Theatre’s performance of a comedic send-up of Anton Checkov’s The Seagull, 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25, Williams Theatre, IPFW, Fort Wayne, $5-$16, 481-6555
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet — all for One productions’ immersive-theater adaptation of the Shakespeare tragedy, 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Feb. 24-25; 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, PPG ArtsLab, Auer Center for Arts & Culture, Fort Wayne, $11-20, 422-4226
Click header for complete Movie times
22nd Annual Valentine’s Invitational — Works from local and national artists, Tuesday-Saturday and by appointment thru March 31 , Castle Gallery Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 426-6568
2017 Scholastic Art & Writing Awards — Award-winning works from northern Indiana and northwest Ohio middle and high school students, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Afros: A Celebration of African Hair by Michael July — Contemporary photography exhibit by Brooklyn author/photographer, daily thru April 14, D’Agostino Art Gallery, Indiana Tech, Fort Wayne, 399-8626
Beeswax & Baskets — Works of encaustic painting, basketry and woven sculpture from Ruth Koomler, Monday-Saturday thru Feb. 28, Orchard Gallery of Fine Art, Fort Wayne, 436-0927
Decatur Sculpture Tour — 31 original sculptures and 15 permanent exhibits on display, walking tour maps available, thru April 1, Decatur, free, 724-2605
Emily Geodesky — Contemporary photographs, Sunday-Friday thru Feb. 26 at First Presbyterian Art Gallery, First Presbyterian Church, Fort Wayne, 426-7421
Entropy — Daniel Swartz solo exhibition explores relationship between death and mourning through combinations of mythology, mathematics, multi-dimensional physics and pop culture, Monday-Saturday thru April 1, Jennifer Ford Art, Fort Wayne, 740-1309
Fort Wayne Artist Guild February Exhibitions — Works by Darlene Selzer Miller at Aldersgate United Methodist Church, Alice Siefert at Allen County Retinal Surgeons, John Kelty at Citizens Square (2nd and 3rd floors), Curtis Rose at The Einhaus Group for Women’s Health, Dick Heffelfinger at Heritage of Fort Wayne, Carolyn Stachera at Ophthalmology Consultants (Southwest), Linda Binek at Ophthalmology Consultants (North), Doni Adam at Rehabilitation Hospital of Fort Wayne, Anita Trick at ResCare Inc. Adult Day Service and Town House Retirement, Karen Harvey at Visiting Nurse Hospice and Brenda Baeumier and Randy Roberts at Will Jewelers, thru Feb. 28, fortwayneartistguild.org.
Fort Wayne, American Monologue — A new body of Fort Wayne-based works by Oakland, California-based artist Brett Armory, Tuesday-Sunday thru Feb. 26, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Generations: A View of Who Was Who — Works by Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Alma Thomas, Jacob Lawrence and other African-American artists, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 9, Fort Wayne Museum of Art, $5-$7 (members, free), 422-6467
Glass: A Medium in Art and Automobiles — Dale Chihuly blown glass and fiberglass auto, daily thru Sept. 8, Auburn, $7.50-$12.50, 925-1444
IPFW Continuing Studies Professional Photography Graduate Exhibit — Photographs from 2017 graduates, Friday-Sunday thru March 5, Garrett Museum of Art, Garrett, 704-5400
Life in Full Bloom — Metal sculpture focused on a spirit of hope for women with breast cancer, Sunday-Friday thru Feb. 26 at First Presbyterian Art Gallery, First Presbyterian Church, Fort Wayne, 426-7421
A Mary Poppins Garden Party — Child-oriented garden exhibit, Tuesday-Sunday thru April 1, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
Moments in Time: Reflecting on the Human Spirit — Elizabeth Opalenik photographs from her recent Amish series A Journey Home and her Reflecting on the Edge exhibition, daily, Feb. 27-March 26 (artist reception and lecture, 5-7 p.m. Thursday, March 2), Visual Arts Gallery, IPFW, Fort Wayne, 481-6709
Outdoor Sculpture Invitational — Fifteen outdoor sculptures from regional artists, daily thru April 30, School of Creative Arts campus, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Patricia Biesen: Pastels, Ink Drawing & Acrylic — Works from Chicago-based artist recently relocated to Fort Wayne, Tuesday-Sunday thru Feb. 29, Foellinger-Freimann Botanical Conservatory, Fort Wayne, $3-$5 (2 and under, free), 427-6440
A Peek at the Studio Creations of Doc Wiedman: Traditional Carver of Wood Since 1980 — Nearly 70 original works by Huntington-based wood artist, Monday-Friday thru Feb. 28, Balentine Gallery, Arts, Commerce & Visitors Centre, Bluffton, 824-5222
RAW. Untamed. Unashamed. Visions of Freedom. — Abstract romanticist works in acrylics and epoxy from Kristy Jahn, Fridays and Saturday-Thursday by appointment, Feb. 25-March 25 (opening reception 6-9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25), The Gallery at Pranayoga, Fort Wayne, 423-9642
Semantic Sequences — Exhibition of letterpress prints by Stephanie Carpenter, assistant director of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, Tuesday-Sunday thru March 24, Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, Fort Wayne, 424-7195
Tim Brumbeloe Retrospective — A retrospective of local photographer’s works over the past 25 years, Monday-Friday thru March 17, Lupke Gallery, University of Saint Francis North Campus, Fort Wayne, 399-7999
Triangulations — Etchings and giclee prints, daily thru Feb. 28, Old Crown Coffee Roasters, Fort Wayne, 797-9821
A Winter Wonderland of Art — Works from over 20 artists including Norman Bradley, George McCullough, Austin Cartwright, Sayaka Ganz and more, Tuesday-Saturday thru Feb. 28, Crestwoods Frame Shop & Gallery, Roanoke, 672-2080
Woodcarvings by Dr. Larry Wiedman — “A peek at the studio creations of Doc Wiedman: traditional carver of wood since 1980,” Monday-Friday thru Feb. 24, Balentine Gallery, Arts Commerce & Visitors Center, Bluffton, 824-5222
Artlink Educational Programs — Art classes offered by Artlink Contemporary Art Gallery, dates and times vary, Artlink, Fort Wayne, fees vary, 424-7195
Fort Wayne Dance Collective Workshops — Workshops and classes for movement, dance, yoga and more offered by Fort Wayne Dance Collective, dates and times vary, Fort Wayne Dance Collective, Fort Wayne, fees vary, 424-6574
IPFW Community Arts Academy— Art, dance, music and theater classes for grades pre-K through 12 offered by IPFW College of Visual and Performing Arts, fees vary, 481-6977, www.ipfw.edu/caa
Sweetwater Academy of Music — Private lessons for a variety of instruments available from professional instructors, ongoing weekly lessons, Sweetwater Sound, Fort Wayne, call for pricing, 432-8176, academy.sweetwater.com
Tincture Trivia — Trivia night for teams of 4 or 6 people, 7-9 p.m. Tuesdays, Nick’s Martini & Wine Bar, Fort Wayne, free, 482-6425
Watercolor Instruction — Artist Tom De Somer of De Somer Fine Art Studio offers watercolor painting instruction 6:30-8:30 p.m. the first four Thursdays of each month, Indiana Wesleyan University, Fort Wayne, $144/four-week course, 805-328-8336, www.desomerart.com/classes