Amelia Island News

Les DeMerle to Play Story and Song Bookstore

Bandleader/drummer Les DeMerle and Vocalist Bonnie Eisele will showcase their musical careers in an intimate setting upstairs at the Story & Song Bookstore Bistro on Saturday, August 18, beginning at 7:30 P.M.

Bandleader/drummer Les DeMerle and his wife, vocalist Bonnie Eisele, will showcase their musical careers in an intimate setting upstairs at the Story & Song Bookstore Bistro, 1430 Park Avenue, Fernandina Beach on Saturday, August 18, beginning at 7:30 P.M. In addition to highlights about their musical journey and Q&A, the evening will present live jazz by the Dynamic Les DeMerle Trio, with Eisele, keyboardist Doug Matthews and a few special guests that will include former Fernandina Beach High/Middle School Band Director/saxophonist Johnnie Robinson.

The evening will also celebrate the DeMerles’ 30th wedding anniversary and the upcoming 15th annual Amelia Island Jazz Festival, an event they founded. While Les was performing in the Chicago area with Las Vegas superstar, Wayne Newton, he met local vocalist, Bonnie Eisele, and the fireworks began. The story behind this unique encounter is sure to be a fun part of this show. He had toured with big band giants Harry James, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett and The Manhattan Transfer and later created ground breaking fusion music with his group, Transfusion; while Bonnie had toured the US and Europe with a Chicago original musical theater company and had studied music in Brazil which developed her vocal repertoire that featured rhythmic Brazilian compositions and distinctive renditions of jazz standards and more.

Their mutual passion for entertaining with classic jazz, Latin sounds and more led to marriage, a musical partnership, and a move to Amelia Island in 1991, where they were invited to be the featured act at the newly opened Ritz-Carlton Resort with their band ranging in size from a trio to their full, swinging 17 piece orchestra. Since then they have played locally, throughout the USA, and headlined on cruises worldwide. The DeMerles continue to maintain their Amelia Island residence plus an energetic and devoted stewardship of the Amelia Island Jazz Festival. In anticipating the presentation of two full musical careers plus an abundance of show business anecdotes, DeMerle commented that “one of the songs we plan to feature will serve as a theme for the night; it’s called ‘Here’s To Life’.” Tickets to the event cost $20 and can be purchased at Story & Song Bookstore Bistro or reserved by phone by calling (904) 601-2118.

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