By Marsha Sandman, Concordia News

Concordia resident Luke Griffin is a teacher and self-described mountain climbing troubadour. He and seven other talented and dedicated fathers – and sometimes moms – make up the Vernon Dad Band. 

Five years ago the Vernon school choir needed back up musicians for the winter show singers, and the band was born. Each band member has a student or students at Vernon Elementary School.  

The band performs holiday favorites at the winter program with sing alongs that include Spanish and Jewish music. They play rock and roll cover songs at the Vernon Annual Fundraising Dinner and Auction.

There have been other band members and there will be others in the future. According to Luke. “As folks age out new folks come in.” 

The Vernon Dads are (left to right) Kevin Hendrickson, Turner Odell, Luke Griffin, Nate Flansberg, Tim Acock, guest guitarist Chet Lyster and Kyle Delamarter.

Luke is the group singer. Kevin Hendrickson, professional musician who has led a string of pirate-themed bands,  is a well-known composer and multi-instrumentalist who has created songs and scores for cartoons. Nate Flansberg is a guitarist, wine distributor and occasional Jedi knight. Michael Rhode works at the airport and is a nimble- fingered guitar player. 

Kyle Delamarter, who plays guitar and accordion, spends his days creating special effects for theatre performances. Luke describes him as a soundman extraordinaire. Tim Acock, bassist, is a photographer and aspiring fifth member of U2, according to Luke. 

Turner Odell is lovingly referred to as a big jungle beat mediator. David Coniglio, a talented musician, works at the Portland School of Rock.

Janet Strong heads the PTA and is an occasional singer with the band.

It’s all for a good cause. The big event of the year is the Vernon Annual Fundraising Dinner and Auction, which occurred in March. The annual gathering is a joint fundraiser put on by the Vernon Foundation and the Vernon PTA. 

It helps to fund about 27 different areas including the music program teacher, supplies and musical performances;  art supplies; library books; teacher grants; computers for kids; a garden program; and field trips. The goal this year is $85,000. 

For more information about the Vernon Dad Band, Vernon Elementary School, and annual fund raising, contact the Vernon PTA at

You might even be able to talk the Vernon Dad Band into playing at your next block party.

After living east, south, north and west, Marsha Sandman is home at last. And she wants to hear your story. Contact her at MarshaJSandman@

This story was reprinted with permission by the Concordia News.