The Woodshed Orchestra
exists to uplift people.

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How do we do this?

The Woodshed Orchestra mashes up classic dance styles from all over the world into a soulful celebration.

 Legendary Toronto drummer Dave Clark (Rheostatics, Dinner is Ruined, The WoodChoppers Association, Gord Downie and Charles Spearin) pilots a five-piece horn section, four-piece rhythm section and full-ensemble vocals through New Orleans Funk, 2nd line and Jazz, R&B, Ska, Soul, Reggae, Punk, Rock n Roll, Blues, Country, Surf Rock, Neo-Greek, Ranchero, Polka, Disco, Samba, Afro-Pop, Waltz, New Wave, Cajun, Tex-Mex, Power Pop, Klezmer, Torch Ballads, Tango and Calypso, in an extraordinary celebration. This band is a funky, uplifting and joyful ride every time it plays.

 What do we do?

“We are troubadours.
Weʼre true blue friends of yours.
We come here in peace to bring all relief from the troubles on your mind and the everyday grind.
We are troubadours.

Weʼre true blue friends of yours.
Weʼre here to light a spark of love and joy inside your heart.
So jump up on your feet and boogie to our crazy beat.”

 What are our roots?

Dave Clark has been immersed in music almost since he could walk. In 2005 he created The Woodshed Orchestra with passionate, courageous and joyful friends to play the music from his original songbook. A songbook that now contains over 200 original tunes. The Woodshed has done them proud.

 Who are we for?

We are for people who like to celebrate life by singing and dancing.

 What makes us different?

Dave Clark has written a wide variety of eclectic original classic dance tunes that are not restricted by genre or fads. The band is a powerhouse that can play this high-energy music for up to four hours at a time. Clark leads the band Levon Helm-style from the drumkit, singing and sharing the lead vocal duties with every member of the band. Absolutely everyone in the band sings along as much as possible. The Woodshed Orchestra is capable of improvising and turning tunes around on the spot to create unique frenzied moments that leave audiences awestruck and excited. The band can play out as a electric band with drums, guitars, horns, keyboards and vocals and just as easily break out into a New Orleans-type 2nd Line brass band, a Klezmer crew or Tex-Mex band of up to eleven players. Folks who come to Woodshed shows to dance and sing along joyfully with the band.

 What are we like?

Weʼre like your best friend who can make you laugh when youʼre feeling down. Weʼll make you shed tears of joy cause our love abounds. Weʼll get you celebrating every time we make our fonky sounds. Thatʼs who we are.

 What do we value?

We value the soulful heartfelt connections we make with our audience.

 What do we want?

The Woodshed Orchestra wants to get you dancing, singing and shouting out for joy.

 What do we guarantee?

The Woodshed Orchestra guarantees to play their music with all the love that they have in their hearts every time they take the stage.

 What do we promise?

The Woodshed Orchestra will uplift you.

Where have we played?

The Woodshed has toured the West Coast and East Coast of Canada, all over Ontario and in Quebec, headlining clubs, concerts and main stages at festivals from Hillside, Discovery Coast, TO Jazz fest, Guelph Jazz Fest, Cultura fest, Nuit Blanche to Music Des Traditions Du Monde in PQ down to playing sold out shows down in Brooklyn NYC. 

What are some of our gig highlights?

The Woodshed Orchestra has played with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe (USA), Etran Fiatawa (Eritrea), parade jammed with "The Screaming Eagle of Soul" himself, Mr. Charles Bradley (USA) and performed with musical madman Friendly Rich Marsella (Can).

What about our recordings?

2011 – “The Woodshed Orchestra”

2013 – “Buzz”

2014 – “The Very Next Day” w/ Gary Rasberry

2015 – “Brass Bandit”

2015 – “Guest Book” - Featuring Ron Sexsmith, Sarah Harmer, Kevin Breit, Dani Nash, Amanda Rhaeume, Suzie Vinnick, Sam Cash, Friendly Rich Marsella, Amanda Balsys, Victor Bateman, Stephen Fearing and Myk Freedman.

 *We’ve even got an impromptu recording with Jon Langford of the Mekons (USA/UK) made at Sappy Fest – Sackville NB.

What are some of our video highlights?

Our loving ode/video "Geddy Lee" to Geddy Lee of Rush got the thumbs up from Geddy himself!

Our video "Love Letter to New Orleans" got the thumbs up from legendary New Orleans drummer John Vidacovich (Dr John, Professor Longhair, Astral Project).

 Who is usually in the band?

  • Dave Clark – leader, drummer, lead vocalist & composer
  • Michael Herring – bass, bass drum/cymbalist & vocals
  • Ken McDonald – bass & vocals
  • Joe Lapinski – guitar & vocals
  • Tania Gill – keyboards, accordion & vocals
  • Jason Kenemy – keyboards, bass drum/cymbalist, accordion & vocals
  • Rebecca Hennessy – trumpet & vocals
  • Karen Ng – saxophone & vocals
  • Julia Hambleton – clarinet & vocals
  • Scott Thomson – trombone and vocals
  • Nic Buligan – trumpet, tuba & vocals
  • Susanna Hood - vocals
  • Paul Kolinski – guitar & vocals

Anybody else join in?

  • Karl Silveira - trombone
  • Tom Richards – trombone & sousaphone
  • Tom Howell – violin, keyboards & vocals
  • Trix – sousaphone
  • Myk Freedman – lap steel guitar
  • Pete Bowers - drums
  • Jeff Burke – oboe & theramin
  • Gord Allen – trumpet
  • Nichol Robertson - guitar
  • Lowel Whitty – bass drum/cymbalist
  • Paul Newman – saxophone
  • Teppei Kamei - trumpet
  • Joe Ernwein - bass
  • Paul Metcalfe – saxophone
  • Jay Burr – tuba

Special guests?

  • Ron Sexsmith – vocals
  • Sarah Harmer – vocals
  • Kevin Breit – guitar & vocals
  • Dani Nash – guitar & vocals
  • Amanda Rhaeume - vocals
  • Suzie Vinnick – guitar & vocals
  • Sam Cash - vocal
  • Amanda Balsys - vocals
  • Victor Bateman - vocals
  • Stephen Fearing - vocals
  • Friendly Rich Marsella – vocals
  • Felicity Williams – vocals
  • Martin Tielli - guitar & vocals
  • Jay Burr - tuba

What about band alumni?

  • Blake Howard – drummer
  • Chris Banks – bass
  • Lewis Melville – guitar
  • Pam Bettger – viola
  • Lina Allemano – trumpet
  • Mike Overton – bass
  • Doug Freisen – bass
  • Monica Fedrigo – cello