WELLINGTON—Performance due Kirk Russell and Ebony Deschaine are scheduled to perform at 9 p.m., Saturday July 11 at the Regent Theater in Wellington. The concert is a homecoming for the musicians who reconnected during the COVID-19 shutdown period.
With Russell on acoustic guitar, they will sing duets of such pop hits as "Landslide," "I Love Rock n’ Roll" and "More Than Words," along with some newer songs that don’t get as much play, such as "Shallow" from the Lady Gaga/Bradley Cooper version of the movie, "A Star is Born."
"We do a really wide variety of songs, a lot of things I don’t hear a lot of other bands or duos performing," Deschaine said.
Russell and Deschaine have performed in Wellington and surrounding areas, but separately with other bands. Deschaine is lead singer for Groove 42, a Wichita band that plays mostly Top 40 dance music. Russell plays drums for Tribe, another Wichita area band that performed at Wellington’s New Years Eve party at Memorial Auditorium last year.
"Both groups kind of follow in the same shoes," Russell said, adding that they play similar styles of music and venues.
Although they knew of each other, growing up in Wellington, there was a five year age difference between Russell and Deschaine and they didn’t run around in the same circles.
It wasn’t until later in life that the music scene brought us back together," Russell said. He has substituted as a drummer with Groove 42 and Deschaine has filled in as a substitute soloist with Annie Up, a band Russell used to play with.
COVID-19 left Deschaine, a middle school vocal music teacher, feeling bored, not being with her class or performing with her band.
"I’d been sitting around," she said. "I was getting restless. I called Kirk. I said, ‘I really need some music ‘cuz I’m getting stir crazy.’"
Russell was as itching to play as Deschaine was to sing. They formed a duo and as small venues have gradually opened up, they have played at such Wichita establishments as YaYa’s, the Chicken and Pickle and the Candle Club.
"I never imagined myself being a performer like I am now," Deschaine said. "I was always a pianist. My musical career started at age 5, taking piano lessons from Hankie Holefelder."
Now entering her 23rd year teaching music, she began her career, teaching band and choir at a Catholic school in Hutchinson. Then she taught choir at Marshall Middle School in Wichita for nine years. For the past 10 years, she has been teaching choir at Wilbur Middle School.
In her late 20s, she was invited to be the lead singer of the band, Blue Eyed Soul, and her singing career took off from there.
Russell has recorded two solo albums at Greenjeans Studios in Wellington - "Evolve" and "In the Wake." He played all instruments on the albums.
So will Deschaine and Russell ever record an album together?
"It’s possible," Deschaine said. "We don’t have anything planned at the moment. There’s no reason why we can’t do it."