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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

For Peter Rivera, it’s a countdown to a dream at the Fox

Peter Rivera, renowned drummer and singer known for his time with the band Rare Earth, will perform Rare Earth songs and some solo tracks accompanied by an orchestra later this month at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.  (Tyler Tjomsland/The Spokesman-Review)

A life in the world of music was Peter Rivera’s only option after experiencing the Count Basie Orchestra 68 years ago in Detroit.

“I remember getting chills during the concert since there was just so much sound,” Rivera said. “There was so much going on and it was going through me. It had a profound effect on me.”

The former leader of Rare Earth has been a musician for 60 years but he has never played his rock tunes flanked by an orchestra. “It’s something I wanted to do since I saw the Count Basie Orchestra,” Rivera said from his Wandemere home. “I’m finally going to get the chance.”

Rivera, 78, will render Rare Earth hits, such as “Get Ready,” “I’m Losing You,” Born to Wander,” “Hey Big Brother” and “I Just Want to Celebrate” on Sept.ember 23 at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox. Rivera will also deliver solo favorites, like “Tobacco Road”and more while performing with a 40-piece R&B orchestra featuring the Whitworth String Orchestra and the Gonzaga Horn Section.

“It’s a dream come true,” Rivera said. “I’m counting down the days until the show.” The concert has been all consuming for Rivera. “I’ve been thinking about it all of the time. There’s so much for me to do. I have rehearsals to go to. There are the background vocal rehearsals, the rhythm section rehearsals and the horn section rehearsals. I deal with the sound and lighting people. This show is on my mind all of the time. But it should be on my mind. At my age I’m in the fourth quarter.”

Rivera looks at show preparation as if he’s getting ready for a game. “I have some plays to run and I think I can score with the orchestra,” Rivera said. “This is like a sporting event. I’m practicing every day.”

The charismatic vocalist-drummer admits to being nervious.

“I have these (irrational) thoughts at times, like the PA won’t work at the show or some other thing happens that messes up the set. But I know everything will be fine. The next two weeks I’ll do whatever I can to relax, whether that’s play the drums or cut the grass. I can’t wait for the day of the show. I’m flying in 12 members of my immediate family. It’s a big deal. This is going to be a show that I’ll remember for the rest of my life and I want it to be the best show possible for those who come out to see me.”

There is a VIP ticket which includes a seat closest to the stage in the middle of the theater. The VIP privileges include a private meet and greet with Rivera and some of his band members 90 minutes before the show begins, which will be held on the rooftop of the Chronicle Building. Fans will have the opportunity for autographs and photos.

Wine, creative drinks from Dry Fly, and soft drinks and light hors d’oeurves will be served. There will be copies of Rivera’s book, “Born to Wander” and an opportunity for it to be signed. There will also be an exclusive shirt that celebrates Rivera and rock’s other great drummers who also were lead singers.

“That’s going to be a great deal of fun,” Rivera said.

The event will benefit the collegiate music departments at Whitworth and Gonzaga, as well as Northwest Passage’s Community Journalism Fund.