Cheers to 30 Years, Wine with Sue!

 Cheers to 30 Years, Wine with Sue!

By Katie McFadden

In 1994, when there wasn’t much of a local music scene, a bunch of guys with long hair got together to play some tunes. There’s a lot less hair now, but those guys are still going strong, keeping the party going and Rockaway on their dancing feet. On Saturday, June 15, local party band Wine with Sue celebrated their 30th year with an epic anniversary bash.

On Saturday, friends, family and fans gathered at the Knights of Columbus to take a trip down memory lane with their favorite local cover band. The band had some special guests including local music legend Gerald Bair and others. The event also served as a reunion for their past and present band members. Today, Wine with Sue is made up of vocalist John Burke, drummer and vocalist Don Sautner, guitarist Mike Schmitt and bassist Neil McLeod, all of the original members that started back in 1994. McLeod is a relatively new old member as after a more than 20-year hiatus, he rejoined the band when longtime bassist John Fabry retired last year, to pursue another musical project with his daughter, Alannah—Rock Soup, which made their debut this summer. Wine with Sue was also joined by their third bassist, Kenny Argent, who came from New Jersey to play on Saturday. Each bassist took turns playing with the band. Throughout the night, in between songs, singer John Burke shared stories and memories from the band’s long tenure.

The event doubled as a fundraiser for St. Camillus Special Olympics. As Special Olympics director Joe Featherston said, “I want to thank everyone for supporting us. We are totally nonprofit, and we rely on the community to allow us to do the things that we do. We never ask anyone in the government for anything, it’s always the community that supports us, so thank you very much. Thank you, Wine with Sue for doing this for us.” To help support the organization, a 50/50 was held and $760 went toward Special Olympics, along with a little extra as a donation from the lucky winner.

Before blowing out candles on a 30th anniversary cake, Sautner made a brief speech saying, “Thank you for sticking with us all these years. Support local music. Cheers to us, and those who would like to be like us.”

Wine with Sue will be all around Rockaway this summer, continuing their 30th anniversary tour at local establishments. And maybe, if Rockaway is lucky, they’ll have a few years left in them to keep rocking.

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