Music

Woodstock's North Street band does it for love of music

North Street band vocalists Kathy Bruhnke (left) and Christy Sturm rehearse at a band member's home on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 in Woodstock.
North Street band vocalists Kathy Bruhnke (left) and Christy Sturm rehearse at a band member's home on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 in Woodstock.

WOODSTOCK – Woodstock resident Kathy Bruhnke loves to sing. From Little Big Town to Fleetwood Mac to ABBA, Bruhnke and her North Street bandmates just plain love to perform, with a style that is all their own.

“We have a very eclectic mix,” Bruhnke said. “We do country, rock, rhythm and blues, pop and jazz. We try to make the current songs we do ours – put our spin on it by enhancing the vocal or the background music.”

North Street band consists of four female singers and four musicians who play synthesizer, saxophone, clarinet, keyboards, rhythm guitar, upright and electric bass and drums. The members practice weekly at Bruhnke’s North Street home in Woodstock, hence the band’s name.

The group is a spin-off from Jeweled Ice, an eight-singer vocal group formed from a church choir in 2004. The group parted ways in 2012 and North Street was born. Bruhnke and singers Christy Sturn, Dora Tippens and Kat Freese of North Street, are original Jeweled Ice members.

North Street took a short hiatus in October because of a medical issue with their drummer, who since has recovered. The group will be back on stage this month.

“We used that time privately to work on vocals, but he’s back with us and doing well,” Bruhnke said. “Our gig coming up is our first one since the hiatus. We got together a month and a half ago and regrouped and worked on some new music, so we’re back on track and ready to go.”

North Street returns to the stage from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 19 at Kingston Lanes in Woodstock. The band will do trivia during their show with prizes. Kingston Lanes will feature a signature drink at a special price during their set, the Ruby Dee, named after Bruhnke’s Min Pin Westminster terrier mix.

Bruhnke describes North Street as a listening band that plays danceable music. The group covers songs across genres as well as centuries, their repertoire filled with hits from the 1920s through today.

“Our music books are ginormous,” North Street vocalist Dora Tippens said. “We always laugh like ‘Kathy, really? Another three-ring binder? How many more songs are we going to be learning?’ Kathy’s always on the hunt for new music.”

Tippens said she appreciates the way Bruhnke challenges and inspires the group.

“She has quite a vision,” Tippens said. “She’s provided me with an outlet to do something that I really, really enjoy. When you get into a groove with the team, and everyone is contributing his or her part, it takes you away into another space. It’s kind of addictive. Chocolate, wine and North Street. That’s me.”

The group has had success performing at Stage Left Café, Kingston Lanes, Best Dam Bar and corporate events, but Bruhnke’s goal is to make it on to the festival scene for 2019. It’s no easy task, but Bruhnke is confident in her band’s ability to leave the audience wanting more.

“My favorite thing about performing is playing good music, engaging with the audience and simply having fun,” Bruhnke said. “My band is everything to me and we want to play out more.”

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