By Diane Urbani de la Paz
Peninsula Daily News
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As frontwoman for the Soulshakers, the quintet booked for the ninth annual New Year's Eve party at the Elks Naval Lodge, Lowder is in full voice.
Yes, she and the Soulshakers are about putting people on the dance floor with songs like Howlin' Wolf's “Smokestack Lightning,” Stevie Wonder's “Superstition” and James Brown's “Cold Sweat.”
They like to do Grace Potter and the Nocturnals' version of “Come into My Kitchen,” Tommy Castro's “Right As Rain” — and plenty of other boogie-worthy numbers.
“I'm a passionate singer,” said Lowder. “I was singing along with the radio for years, until one of my landscaping customers discovered me.”
That customer was Andy Watkins, and the discovery was some 20 years ago when Lowder joined Watkins' band, the Elements.
Later, she took up with the Soulshakers, the outfit she's sung with for a good six years now.
“I just feel lucky and happy that I'm able to do this,” said Lowder.
When she's not performing with the Soulshakers, she runs a landscaping business called Lawn Excellence.
Both Lowder and Arlene Blume, orchestrator of Monday night's dance, are eager to ring in 2013.
“I am so excited this year. You have no idea. The Soulshakers are such a great dance band,” said Blume.
Tickets, including dinner, are $40 per person or $280 for a table for eight; proceeds will benefit the Hilda's Hope Foundation.
Blume formed Hilda's Hope in 2004 after traveling to Uganda, where she met Hilda, an ailing baby girl.
Hilda did not survive, but Blume's organization did; funds from the Port Angeles charity have since helped send children to school and even college in Uganda.
Blume is putting together a feast of seafood chowder, fruits and cheeses, salad, spinach artichoke dip, parmesan-encrusted chicken with lemon sauce, beef tenderloin and, to cap things off, champagne and treats at midnight.
To reserve seats, phone 360-457-3355. Tickets have been selling well, Blume said; if any are left Monday night they will be available at the door.
Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., and a silent auction for the Hilda's Hope Foundation will run till 8:30 p.m. A dessert auction, prize drawings and a wine bar will also be part of the festivities at the Elks' upstairs ballroom, 131 E. First St.
“I'm dressing up the ballroom like a blues nightclub,” said Blume. “There will be 'Blues Brothers' sunglasses at every table setting,” so guests can slip those in a communal tribute to that 1977 movie with Dan Aykroyd and the late John Belushi.
They will also match Soulshakers keyboard player Jim Rosand, who gets in the mood by wearing a pair of the very dark glasses.
When asked what he'd like to give people as they dance into a brand-new year,Soulshakers guitarist and spokesman Mike Pace didn't hesitate.
“I want to give them energy,” he said. “I want to make them feel good.”