By Dan Rankin
Special to the St. Marys Journal Argus
Very late on the evening of Dec. 21, or perhaps very early in the morning on Dec. 22, will mark a fork in the road for members of the St. Marys-based band Dress Rehearsal. It will be the sixth time Dress Rehearsal has performed at the annual Parkview Creamery Christmas party, but the last time bassist Josh Doherty will do so as a member of the band.
Brothers Kevin and Sean Graham, guitarist Ryan Watson and Doherty have comprised the band since 2010. In that span they toured Eastern Canada, were regulars in bars and taverns around Toronto and Guelph, and never let too many months go by between appearances in their hometown of St. Marys. This past June, the group was a featured act during the North by Northeast music festival in Toronto.
But while most of his Dress Rehearsal bandmates live in Toronto, Doherty has taken up residence in Paris, Ontario, where he works and is close by the members of his band Among Millions, for which he sings and plays guitar (Among Millions is also on the bill at The Parkview Creamery on Dec. 21). Eventually, the strain of balancing work with doing the practicing and necessary preparations for two bands were becoming too much for Doherty.
Around Thanksgiving of this year, the members of Dress Rehearsal came to a mutual decision that after they finished the year together, Doherty would leave the band.
“There wasn’t enough time and, with the distance, I wasn’t able to focus enough on it,” said Doherty. “It’ll just allow me to focus more on what I’m doing and not have to worry about letting those guys down. They can hopefully find somebody else that’s better for them that lives closer and can be there.”
Dress Rehearsal singer and guitarist Kevin Graham said that, from the first shows Doherty played with them, he had a calming influence on the group.
“I remember especially on tour, him being very knowledgeable about what it was going to take to put everything together,” Graham said. “He has a certain professionalism about him, having been in the scene for as long as he has; he knows how to talk to people, and what to do sound-wise if something’s not going right.”
For their last show together, the band promises a long, high-energy set filled with covers, old and new original songs, and guest musicians and friends taking part. “I’d like to think that the show’s going to be a culmination of three years of us being together,” said Graham. “If you’re going to go out, try to go out with a bang – and that’s what we’re going to try and do.”
And even though Doherty may no longer be sharing the stage with Dress Rehearsal after the Creamery show, there’s no reason that Among Millions and Dress Rehearsal can’t share a bill again, he said.
“It’s too convenient for us to play together for that not to happen again,” he said. “We’re just too good of friends. We’ve come from the same place. I think the chances of that not happening again are pretty slim.”
Tickets for Christmas at the Creamery on Saturday, Dec. 21 are on sale now at the Parkview Creamery. Tickets are $5. It is an age of majority event.