winter wayfarer at saturday in the park

Prog rockers Winter Wayfarer bringing high concept sounds to SITP

BY EARL HORLYK | Courtesy of the Sioux City Journal

Collin Hop makes his living by manning the audio board at Sunnybrook Community Church, yet he also performs music in a band called Winter Wayfarer, which will be opening the Main  Stage at July 1’s Saturday in the Park. So, what is Winter Wayfarer all about?

“Winter Wayfarer was based on images I had in my head,” Hop, a 27-year-old Le Mars, Iowa, resident, explained. “It tell the story about a heavily burdened character whose travel started in the 1880s, continuing into subsequent decades.”

Um, no, what is Winter Wayfarer really all about?

Hop isn’t kidding about his decidedly high-concept music, which he describes as a form of progressive rock.

Progressive rock (or prog rock, for short) is a genre of music that emphasizes ambitious compositions, concept-driven lyrics and experimentation over everything else. In other words, Winter Wayfarer is meant to tell a story. That’s similar to the bands Hop said he admired as a teenager.

“I liked Pink Floyd’s ‘The Dark Side of the Moon’ and everything by Frank Zappa,” he said. “Winter Wayfarer was very concept album-inspired.” However, prog rock also emphasized a level of musical virtuosity that Hop, a former choir kid, didn’t always have. I play music by ear and I started out on the drums, so I understood rhythm pretty well,” he said.

Hop later taught himself to play guitar, though playing keyboards proved less satisfying. “Actually, I was pretty gruesome on keyboards,” he admitted. Luckily, Hop had some talented musician friends to fill out the band. Plus he earned at Western Iowa Tech Community College and became a wiz on the audio board.

In fact, this will be Hop’s – and Winter Wayfarer’s – second appearance at Saturday in the Park. The group debuted on the Abe Stage at 2019’s SITP. So, is he nervous about the much larger Main Stage in Grandview Park’s Bandshell? Not really, Hop said. “I get really into my music and I zone out to everything around me,” he said. “Guess I’m not aware of the audience to get too nervous.”

On the other hand, SITP-ers may also become entranced by the continuing story of Winter Wayfarer? “If you like prog rock, you’ll like Winter Wayfarer,” Hop said.

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