Artist Spotlight – The Doe Ray Meees

Did you happen to catch the Victoria Advocate article about Victoria’s coolest new girl band? Let’s be honest, these gals a far from girls! These women have captured a sound that has captured the hearts of Victorians.

This month’s spotlight is on the Doe Ray Meees. Catch their article on the Victoria Advocate website by clicking their photo below.

Come see the Doe Ray Meees at JAM Fest on April 21, 2018. They begin filling DeLeon Plaza with music at 3PM.

 

Hum right along with the Doe Ray Meees

Victoria Advocate Article by Guest Columnist Dustin Starrak

A group of talented local women has brought an eclectic blend of country, folk and rock music to the city of Victoria. I met the three of them at a holiday party hosted by a mutual friend, and, intrigued by their casual flair and engaging personalities, I offered to take in one of their recent shows at the grand opening of Aero Crafter’s gastropub, and it did not disappoint.

As one well-known philosopher once said, “Without music, life would be a mistake,” and I agree. Arriving just in time and settling into a corner table nearby, I see Debra Chronister wave to me and say, “Hi, Dustin!” into her microphone. Debra stands poised but relaxed, with ukulele in hand, smiling to the crowd as she introduces herself, and the show begins. “This isn’t our usual venue,” she jokes mirthfully. She began singing at area events within the last year, and an official trio was formed when the two other women musicians expressed interest in joining her performances. A ceramics instructor at Victoria College since the early 2000s, Debra has made a name for herself with her inspired pottery designs and the yearly Empty Bowls art show she organizes.

Blazing through standards and other popular traditional songs, Debra’s clear, light voice carries an authenticity that matches her earthy personality. Flanking her on either side are Claudia Quintero, seasoned guitarist and graphic artist, and Anita Brunsting, a Victoria ISD choir teacher and classically trained pianist. Claudia’s bluesy vocals complement her signature grit, and Anita grounds the three as an anchor with her quiet presence, third-part harmony, and the added accompaniment of her “lagerstaff,” nicknamed Mr. Natural, a hybrid instrument she created that is equal parts tambourine and rain stick.

All three women are highly educated professionals and have extensive backgrounds in the performing and visual arts. They are all funny, intelligent, strong individuals who each bring something different to their collective effort. They seem at home on the stage, and it makes for an enjoyable performance filled with palpable verve.

The group is still in its infancy, having completed several shows at the PumpHouse Restaurant earlier this year. But the members of the “Doe Ray Meees” have a genuine zest for bringing entertainment to the people. They bring a sense of lightheartedness with their artistry, and their gift for performance is infectious in its enthusiasm. Claudia counts John Lennon, Arlo Guthrie and her father as her earliest musical influences. She is currently working on some original songs as well as learning to play the banjo. Her main focus, she says, is to keep churning out her own compositions and to evolve as a musician. Anita is big on lush-sounding harmonies and bringing the fun element to the group’s efforts. It works, and their set list contains many crowd favorites such as “Ring of Fire,” “Tupelo Honey” and “Dance Me to the End.”

They plan to keep playing shows in Victoria and surrounding areas, but only as time allows. Scheduling rehearsals and gigs can be tricky, as each of them balances their full-time careers with their lives outside of work. Be sure to catch the Doe Ray Meees April 15 at the upcoming JamFest, a free showcase of local talent sponsored by the Victoria Fine Arts Association.