Mark Sellers describes the music his band Wildhorse plays as southern country rock with a soulful rhythm-and-blues feel.
“I always add southern to it because I grew up in the South and that is really where country rock came from — you have the Eagles and the Allman Brothers and Creedence Clearwater Revival — so we play ’70s classic rock,” Sellers said.
But they shake things up with Motown hits like “Heard It Through the Grapevine” and R&B; tunes such as “Soul Man” — music that inspires people to dance.
“I'm a southern soul shaker,” he said.
The band also plays original songs such as “Ables’ Road.” Sellers wrote the music and lyrics. It's about Cline Ables, a minister he knew while growing up in northern Alabama. Ables used to take Sellers along with him to church, to a Shetland pony stable or to deliver fruit or hens to the local seniors home.
“I would ask him, ‘Why do you do that?’ And he'd say, ‘Because a lot of those people don't have anyone — their children don't even come see them,’” Sellers said. “When you are a kid, you don't understand a habit for humanity.”
Watching the preacher tend to people in the last days of their lives impressed Sellers and that stayed with him, so he felt compelled to write the song after Ables passed away.
“It was a way that I could say ‘thank you’ for what he did for me when he was here,” Sellers said. “He was a unique man.”
Those who are intrigued can hear the band play during the Road Kings’ 24th annual Picnic in the Park and Charity Car Show from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at Johnny Carson Park.
“The music we play goes well with hot rods,” said Sellers, who lives in Toluca Lake.
A pancake breakfast cooked by members from Kiwanis for Fun will begin at 8 a.m. The breakfast will be followed by the opening ceremony at 9 a.m. featuring the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Gino Gaudio.
At 10 a.m. and continuing throughout the day, hot rod owners will turn their ignition keys and let their 2,500-plus horsepower engines roar for the Nitro Fest, said Road Kings spokesman Don Baldaseroni.
More than 300 classics, hot rods and muscle cars will be displayed, along with vintage boats and motorcycles. The Burbank Fire Department, celebrating its 100th year, will be showing its 1913 Moreland Fire Truck and its 1915 Christie truck pulling a 1905 Steam Pumper.
Admission is free for spectators and participants. Lunch will be barbecued by Kiwanis members and vendors will be displaying car-related items. There will be drawings for gift baskets and Road Kings memorabilia, honoring the car club's 61 years of racing and rodding.
Charities benefiting from the show are the auto shop classes at the local high schools, Verdugo Hills chapter of Boy Scouts, and the Burbank Police Foundation, which supports the Burbank Police Department's K9 and mounted units.
“People don't know how much money it takes to care for the horses and police dogs,” Baldaseroni said.
For more information, visit roadkingsburbank.org.
University Women give scholarships
The Burbank University Women presented scholarships to three Burbank high school seniors at the annual Scholarship Tea at the home of Marcia Baroda last month.
The recipients brought along their parents and other family members to the tea. Members introduced themselves by telling the young women where they had gone to college and what careers they had followed, said Rose Essick, publicity chairwoman.
The honored students were Melissa Pagela from Providence High School, Jane Chew from Burroughs High School and Nicole Sassounian from Burbank High School.
Melissa has been a member of the California Scholarship Federation for four years as well as a member of the French Honor Society and the Medical Focus Program. She has competed in mock trial contests and tutored other students in French, math and science, as well as volunteering in the Providence St. Joseph emergency department.
Jane, a three-year member of the California Scholarship Federation, holds a certificate of merit for “Level 4” in piano. She is involved in the California Rangers Equestrian Drill Team and volunteers at the Glendale Centre Theatre. She has also worked as a student assistant at the Cal State Northridge Department of Kinesiology Center of Achievement.
Nicole has participated in basketball and martial arts, and has obtained her second-degree black belt. She started the Jewish Student Union and has maintained her California Scholarship Federation membership for three years. She has also been involved with Girl Scouts and Sea Scouts. She volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club, including the organization’s program to transcribe videos for the deaf and hard of hearing.
The scholarship funds are raised at the Burbank University Women’s annual card party each April.
Film festival is Zonta's new project
Helping to advance the status of women, the Zonta Club of Burbank Area is hosting its first Lunafest, a festival of short films by, for and about women, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the Laemmle Noho 7 theater, 5240 Lankershim Blvd., North Hollywood.
The Lunafest is an annual film festival of award-winning short films that travels to more than 150 cities and screens in front of 20,000 people. Zonta members promise this two-hour event will be thought-provoking but also fun, with door prizes, Luna bars and other surprises.
“This is a great new step for our club,” said Nickie Bonner, president of the Zonta Club of the Burbank Area Foundation, the fundraising arm of the local organization. “It raises money but also awareness about women's issues, which fulfills our advocacy mission to advance the status of women.”
Proceeds will support breast cancer research through the Breast Cancer Fund as well as service projects by Zonta Club of Burbank Area. Everyone is welcome, including husbands, boyfriends, fathers and brothers.
Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by calling Bonner at (213) 700-1029. Tickets are also available at the Laemmle theater box office.
For more information, visit www.lunafest.org or www.lunafest.org/northhollywood0608.
JOYCE RUDOLPH can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.