By Pat Young
For Hometown News
A passerby outside of Charlie Poplees' Port Orange townhouse in the evening might recognize the familiar strains of "Someday Soon" wafting from within as an eclectic group of musicians in the Rolling On Band practice.
They perform songs from their wide repertoire of music, from classic rock and folk to country and originals written by some of the band members. "Someday Soon" just happens to be a crowd favorite.
The band itself comes from a wide range of backgrounds. Mr. Poplees, who plays lead guitar and keyboard, is a retired international banker and originally hails from the Bronx, N.Y. The quiet, unassuming musician, sporting a graying ponytail, said, tongue in cheek, "I was born at an early age."
Then, in a more serious mode, he went on to say that he worked at financial institutions in and around New York City, worked in Singapore for three years as a project manager, among other things. He started playing the guitar at 14 and has played ever since.
Mr. Poplees moved to Port Orange 13 years ago and met the other band members at an open mike night he read about in Hometown News. He gives guitar lessons and dabbles in gourmet cooking in his spare time.
Marcia Buckingham, who plays bass, worked at the Space Center in the shuttle program. The petite long-haired blond is an aircraft mechanic and worked in quality control on the shuttle program. She was also a multi-engine pilot, helicopter pilot and a flight instructor. Not ready to fully retire yet, she is also a web designer. Mr. Poplees taught her to play in 2007, and she became an accomplished bass player.
Ms. Buckingham and her husband, Gus, own the Hot Spot Coffee Shoppe on Ridgewood Avenue in Daytona Beach, where jam sessions take place at 6:30 p.m. every Tuesday. Beginners to advanced musicians are welcome, and Ms. Buckingham said, "participation is amazing." Some come to play instruments or sing, and some come to just listen.
"Some advanced musicians like Charlie help new people," she added. "It's a real incubator to learn and play, and we make a lot of friends that way."
Yvonne Peterson, the lead singer and percussionist, is also a hair stylist and an accomplished artist. Blond haired with a winning smile, she said she started singing at age 3. She sang in church choirs and performed in musicals in community theater. Her watercolors and oils hang in professional buildings throughout Volusia County, and in one local museum. She also wrote a children's book, "The Bichon Run," and a song, "Mr. Bo Gangles, Dance" about her dog by the same name.
Ms. Peterson also created the artwork on the band's business card, a Florida paddle wheel boat rolling on, illustrating the band's name. For "something different," she tried sky diving in tandem. Her husband, Atticus Black, also tried sky diving.
Mr. Black, who plays guitar in the band, is a retired Bell Atlantic Telephone Co. worker. Born in Texas, he lived in France for a period of time, and was a fireman in the U.S. Air Force. As a child, the amiable musician sang Jimmy Rogers songs to his mother and has written music since high school. He is one of several of the Rolling On Band members who write music. He started playing the guitar when he was in his 30s. Mr. Black also hosts a variety show on GoliathRadio.com (WELE, 1380 AM) at 6:15 on Wednesdays called The Atticus Black Show, where the Rolling On Band performs occasionally.
Mr. Black and Ms. Peterson met at an open mike night in Ormond Beach. They wrote and sang their own wedding song when they were married on 10-10-10.
The band is "evolving," all four musicians agree.
"Our strong points are lead guitar and female lead singer," Mr. Black said, glancing at his wife.
All four members of the band sing, and Ms. Buckingham said, "Atticus is a crooner."
Mr. Poplees added, "We don't mind saying that our harmony sets us apart."
Ms. Peterson added, "Our diversity (also) sets us apart."
But it's not just that this diverse group of musicians admires each other's talent, they aim to please the public as well. Though their backgrounds are diverse, their passion for music is the glue that binds them. Even one of Mr. Poplees' cats, Squeak, seemed to enjoy their music from her perch on top of the speakers.
"We like people to enjoy and recognize our music," Mr. Black said. "If the crowd is rowdy at the start of a song, and you can hear a pin drop at the end, you're doing it right."
The band members wrote their own theme song, "Rolling On," adapting it from an American classic.
The melody from "Someday Soon" remains in this writer's mind long after listening to their practice session. It must be the sign of a good band when the music stays with you.