Cape band Shades of Soul makes early splash

Friday, May 18, 2012
Shades of Soul performs Saturday at the Pink Galleon in Cape Girardeau. (ADAM VOGLER)

A collaboration of several Cape Girardeau music scene veterans has already created a big stir in the area, and they've only played one show.

After their inaugural performance May 12 at the Pink Galleon, posts touting the sound of Shades of Soul came in droves on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Topix. Many were wondering just where this new musical juggernaut came from.

Shades of Soul describes their sound as bringing together a big funk sound with R&B and dash of hip-hop. Several of the band's musicians -- like Bill Shivelbine, Zach Priester and Darren Burgfeld -- are already well known from previous local acts. But their combined effort, Burgfeld said, came about due to a need to give the audience a larger-than-life musical experience.

"Bill and I started discussing the urge to play something big last fall. We wanted to put together a big experience; something that would be more than music to listen to, but rather wrap around the audience and really get them into the whole show," said Burgfeld, also a member of Tone Def All-Stars. "When we started putting it together, we decided right off the bat that we needed a crew that was not only stellar in their own right, but would be a real team players when it came to game time. I think we accomplished that with these players. Everyone is able to play off the others' strengths and abilities."

And according to those in attendance, the band "blew the roof off" the Pink Galleon last Saturday night during their first performance.

"It was absolutely amazing. I would say that was the busiest it's ever been in here while I've been working," said Pink Galleon bartender Chasity Watkins, who was working that evening. "I can't wait to see them again. I mean, they did a little bit of everything. People were dancing like crazy. The atmosphere they created was just awesome."

Shades of Soul is a rather large band, as far as local acts are concerned. The band has 12 members: three vocalists, two percussionists, two saxophone players, and one each on guitar, trumpet, keyboard, bass and trombone. Burgfeld said that, with this group of musicians, keeping everyone on the same page is easy.

People dance to the Shades of Soul performance Saturday, at the Pink Galleon in Cape Girardeau. (ADAM VOGLER)

"It's a trick, but we established early what we expect of everyone, as far as the level of professionalism. When we set this up, we chose artists that were already performing on that level so the learning curve is minimal," said Burgfeld, who plays trombone in the band. "The sound is very dynamic with the range of horns and instruments, not to mention the three outstanding vocalists. Having that range lets us touch everyone in a different way, whether it's the soulful sounds of ‘Natural Woman' or the funky drive of ‘What is Hip.'"

As far as their upcoming schedule, they will next play the Pink Galleon on July 6, then several gigs booked through summer and into early fall (they plan on announcing more show information in the coming days). Ultimately, however, they say they want to be considered the top choice for group and event entertainment.

"A musical group is sort of like a combination lock. When all the numbers are present and in the correct order, the lock opens easily. We decided that all the numbers were present and it was time to open the lock," said Shivelbine, saxophone player and owner of Shivelbine's. "The group is so big, and geared toward large groups and anything that grooves."

So what can one reasonably expect from a Shades of Soul show? Burgfeld says it's a party atmosphere.

"From the first downbeat, we're about dancing and having a great time. Every show is a celebration," Burgfeld said. "We like to pack the dance floor early and keep people going all night long. It all comes together with a 12-piece sound that will take your breath away."

Shades of Soul will next take the stage at 9 p.m. July 6 at the Pink Galleon. For show and band information, visit


Shades of Soul is:

Jay Contrino, drums

Sam Godwin, bass guitar

Zach Priester, guitar

Kent Miller, percussion

Scott Bierschwal, keyboards

Oral Friend, vocalist

Shari Boxdorfer, vocalist

Alanna Mills, vocalist

Chris Duessinger, tenor saxophone

Darren Burgfeld, trombone

Bob Bartley, trumpet

Bill Shivelbine, saxophone

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