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If “Where there’s smoke, there’s fire”, then the Lake City Smokin' Section is a blaze!

This talented and energetic band is in demand, and is being showcased for many reasons. The band is 8 members strong, including vocals, instruments, and entertainment galore…

Lake City Smokin’ Section

Lake City LogoCorey Hulst describes their sound as blues inspired rock, classic rock, and variety in between. Lake City Smokin’ Section (LCSS) makes music for all ages and preferences. They even cater to your themed event, designing the perfect song list and adding their special touch.

Here’s how they came to be: A few of the original members saw an ad posted at a local music store for musicians who would like to jam with a young drummer. Paul Javorina began playing the guitar at ten years old, and played in bands in high school and college. Married musicians Corey and Leah Hulst were familiar in the music scene, with Corey playing in bands since he was 14. Leah was a self-proclaimed band wife/roadie and sound board operator. The three met the drummer one rainy evening at a former auto repair shop in the central hillside of Duluth. Things seemed to click for them after running through some very basic tunes. The drummer, though, was into the heavier metal type music, and the rest veered toward classic rock and rhythm and blues. After searching for and finding another drummer, the small group started a band called 5 Bricks Short. They played in exchange for some meals, t-shirts, for fun, and kept on doing what they loved to do. As time passed, they replaced
the drummer and guitarist with Dave Christensen and Barry Schwartz, respectively. Keyboards were added, and Dan Radosevich rounded out the progressive sound, with a kickin’ blues organ. The name was then changed to Lake City Smokin’ Section. Schwartz, a well seasoned guitarist, is no longer with the group. Christensen decided he wanted to take a break from the band recently, and
he has been replaced by Shaun Waggoner. Shaun is also very skilled, and a longtime professional drummer that has played for many bands over the years. LCSS then added a horn section. Brian
Langlee is on trumpet and vocals, Bobby Purdy, vocals and sax, and Tyler Nordberg is on the trombone, plus vocals. These great additions give the group a show band vibe and fuller sound.
Javorina sings, plays lead and rhythm guitar. There’s even a rumor that he turned down a singer named Robert Zimmerman, (Bob Dylan, for you not-so-die-hard fans). Paul said, “the guy just couldn’t sing.” Corey Hulst plays bass guitar and some vocals, and thrives on performing. He was a stage hand at a Fargo event center, and is part owner in the band’s sound gear, and the band mates share in the lighting equipment. They come fully equipped with everything needed at a venue….large, small, or in between. Hulst’s wife, Leah, is the vocal powerhouse, singing the majority of the songs in her smoky alto to second soprano ranges.

The highly sought after group performs at many different events throughout the year such as Sidewalk Days, Music in the Park at Chester Bowl, Fourth Fest at Bayfront Park, and various private events ranging from company parties to weddings. They have recently begun a monthly series at the Rex in the Fitger’s Complex where they play on the third Thursday of each month. Something that sets the LCSS aside from other groups is their willingness to work with organizations on music and themes. As an example,
The Duluth Rotary club booked them for their Academy Award night, so the group learned ten different movie themes to play that evening.

Javorina and the Hulsts relayed that they do just as many benefits as regular gigs because they are passionate about giving back to the community. They play at the American Chapter of Diabetes event at Treasure Island Casino in Hastings, MN, and have lent their vast talents and performed on five of the annual Christmas by the Lake CD’s, which benefits the Bluebird Foundation, a non-profit that supports youth in the arts. Other charity events include Guns and Hoses and We Need More Cowbell, both held in Duluth that support the Northern Lights Foundation, a non-profit that addresses the needs and wishes of Northland children with life-threatening illness.

In the past 7 years, the Northern Lights Foundation has raised over $100,000 with the Cowbell fundraiser. Brian Daugherty, president of Grandma’s Restaurant, created the concept with the foundation’s goals in mind. “I remember thinking to myself that not everybody can sing, but anybody can play the cowbell” he said. “That thought led me right to Paul Javorina, an old co-worker of mine, and a great group of musicians and a bunch of fun-loving spirited people. So I first bounced the idea off the NL Board of Directors with the goofy thought of Celebrity Cowbell. They were crazy enough to love it! I then said I would follow up with what I felt was a perfect fit of musicians.

Secondly, I called Paul about the idea and he was more enthusiastic than the board…or me! He either told or sold the idea to the other musicians and they said ‘we’re on!’” Everyone went forward with the project, local “celebrities” volunteered, and many others helped to make it a monumental success!

Michelle Lee, well-known friendly news anchor for Northland News Center, shared this with EventPro: “The band is an amazing cover band and certainly works the crowd. I was one of the cowbell performers two years ago. I had the song Pink Cadillac. The woman vocalist (Leah) nailed it with her own personal take on Aretha Franklin’s big hit. The Cowbell Event is a wild and crazy scene that delights the eyes and the ears. The audience is very generous in its affection. The event has become an iconic fundraiser in the Northland. When I was finally asked to participate I felt honored….in fact it was one of the high points in my career!”

Dan Hanger, exuberant FOX 21 news co-anchor, expresses his feelings about LCSS, also. “I’ve worked closely with Leah and Corey Hulst to prepare for the We Need More Cowbell fundraiser, and let me tell ya, the two of them are involved 100 percent from beginning to end. They care and love to share their talents to help raise money for such a wonderful cause. If you want entertainment with a big-city feel, this is your band! They are absolutely fantastic, full of energy and in tune – literally.”

I asked Javorina if they will continue playing together, and he stated “as long as they can.” Most lifer musicians feel that way. According to the membersthat were interviewed, they are like family, and their rehearsals on Tuesday nights are like free therapy with a gathering of good friends. Even though hauling the equipment may seem to get heavier over time, and the nights seem longer, they wouldn’t have it any other way. Leah sums it up beautifully, “I love being a part of this band! It gives me an outlet like no other, and allows me to share my passion with others. I really couldn’t ask for more.”

Keep on smoldering, Lake City Smokin’ Section!