In between their school work, jobs, cadets and music lessons, the young musicians in Hickelstock manage to squeeze in a practice at least once a week at their manager’s Port Coquitlam home.
They have to.
Since they formed five years ago, the requests to perform have been steadily increasing — so much so that manager Zdenko “Junior” Feigelstock worries how they’ll keep pace as the teens under his wing get older.
“It’s something that I think about often,” he said. “How long can this go?”
After every gig comes another call within the week, he said, as booking agents love what they hear at Hickelstock shows and see the audience appreciation for the young talent.
Within the Tri-Cities, Hickelstock has earned a name for itself, playing mostly 45-minute sets of cover tunes at the Canada Day festivities in Port Coquitlam as well as the car show and PoCo Grand Prix; RibFest, Golden Spike Days, Car-Free Day and the community fair in Port Moody; and the Ruben’s Ruckus race and at a Coquitlam Express hockey game in Coquitlam.
Last year, Hickelstock also helped to raise about $5,000 to send a Terry Fox secondary student with stage 4 rhabdomyosarcoma to California. The fundraiser for Karin Khuong allowed the cancer patient to see the Golden State Warriors basketball team.
Around Metro Vancouver, Hickelstock has been a crowd pleaser, too, at the Queensborough Festival in New Westminster, SFU, PumpkinFest in West Vancouver and the Khatsahlano Street Party in Vancouver, among others.
At the latter event, “we created a bit of a road block,” Feigelstock said. “People couldn’t believe the kids were making that kind of sound.”
A California native who is also one of the band’s guitarist, Feigelstock introduces the songs to the Hickelstock members who then learn them by ear — not with sheet music.
So far, their catalogue of about 25 tunes includes Train’s Hey, Soul Sister, Don’t Stop Me Now by Queen, Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi and the Journey classic Don’t Stop Believin’.
"Everybody sings along for that one,” lead singer Diego Hickman, 12, said.
Saturday, Hickelstock will play at the inaugural Party in the Park, an end-of-summer family-fun bash at Aggie Park in Port Coquitlam.
Organized by the PoCo Events Society — the same group responsible for this month’s Downtown PoCo Car Show and car cruise and the Last Dance at the Old Rec Centre, in May — there will be a string of bands performing on the Sound Stage with the Juno-nominated act Faber Drive, of Mission, headlining.
Besides Hickelstock, there will be other Tri-City-based ensembles, said co-organizer Dean Washington, a PoCo city councillor: The Banned, comprised of three city hall employees (Shane Jorgenson, Farouk Zaba and Larry Lorette) and drummer Gary Dowson, follow Hickelstock at 1:20 p.m. while The Faceplants, made up of Terry Fox secondary graduates, hit the stage at 4 p.m.
Feigelstock said he looks forward to when Hickelstock isn’t the opening band. “We have to earn our way up,” he said. “We’re working on it.”
Endless Summer - Party in the Park runs from 11 a.m. to 7:40 p.m. at Aggie Park (3050 Chester St., Port Coquitlam) on Aug. 31. Road closures on Flint and Chester streets and Coquitlam Avenue are in effect from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Call 604-674-2899 or visit facebook.com/pocoeventssociety.
Hickelstock: 12 to 1 p.m.
The Banned: 1:20 to 2:20 p.m.
Brick Yard: 2:40 to 3:40 p.m.
The Faceplants: 4 to 5 p.m.
The Pop Junkies: 5:20 ot 6:20 p.m.
Faber Drive: 6:40 to 7:40 p.m.