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Peter Rivera’s concert at the Fox is a family affair

Peter Rivera’s cozy Wandermere rancher is bustling with activity 72 hours before the former leader of Rare Earth performs with a 40-piece orchestra at the Martin Woldson Theater at the Fox.

Coffee is served as the morning sunlight warms the kitchen as 11 people, many still in their bathrobes, chat about his upcoming concert. It’s obvious that Rivera – aka Peter Hoorelbeke – is ecstatic about checking an item off his bucket list Friday evening. However, the Detroit native is just as pleased hosting his family. Rivera picked up the tab for flights for his brother, their spouses and children. His brother Philip Hoorelbeke and his wife arrived from Detroit. His son Casey Hoorelbeke, his wife and daughter flew in from Atlanta. Daughter Blake Maser, her husband and two children, made the trek from Alabama and his son, Jesse Hoorelbeke, and his son took time from their life in Denver.

“I recently read that people over 60 shouldn’t save money to leave for their children,” Rivera said. “Children will get along just fine. The money I have should be spent to bring them to Spokane for this event.

“Some members of my family haven’t seen each other in years. So this is incredible. They’re all here and they’re having a great time but they’ll all be gone by Sunday. I understand they have to live their lives but for four or five days, it’s going to be amazing. I told them that they will probably never see me perform in such a big show again. I want my grandchildren to see me perform since they’ve never seen anything like this.”

Rivera hopes the impact for his children will be similar to what the vocalist-drummer experienced when he witnessed the Count Basie Orchestra at the height of its powers performing at the Fox Theatre in the Motor City 68 years ago.

“I can go back to that performance in my mind anytime I want to,” Rivera said. “It changed my life. I would love it if something like that happened to one of my grandchildren.”

The members of Rivera’s band and those who helped assemble his concert are viewed as family by Rivera.

“I’m very humbled by the support from my friends,” Rivera said. “First off, my band is like extended family. Joe Brasch on guitar, Danny McCollim on keyboard and Dave Hutchinson on bass are simply the best.

“If I say that we’re going to practice on Tuesday, that’s fine. There’s no arguments. That’s the difference between what I have now and the last days of Rare Earth. There were constant arguments in the final days of Rare Earth. What I do with this band is fun. And then there is Dave Cebert, who is co-producing this show with me. Dave has been absolutely tireless. He just keeps it going. Thanks to him and Joe and Danny and Hutch, there will be a show.”

It will be a concert with plenty of Rare Earth hits, such as “Get Ready,” “I’m Losing You,” “Born to Wander,” “Hey Big Brother” and “I Just Want to Celebrate.”

“I’ll play the Rare Earth classics, some fan favorites from the last 30 or 40 years, like ‘Tobacco Road,’ ” Rivera said. “It’ll be a special evening. We’ve had some string elements on our albums with Rare Earth but I’ve always wanted to play the songs live with an orchestra.”

Rivera, who will be flanked by a 40-piece R&B orchestra featuring the Whitworth String Orchestra and the Gonzaga Horn Section, is thrilled that the show is happening in his adopted hometown .

“I was telling my lady, Patrice, last night, that there are big shows with the London Philharmonic with Elton John and that’s nice,” Rivera said. “But I’m thrilled to be doing a show like this with all of my friends in Spokane. This is a show for the Spokane community and money will be going toward the music departments at Whitworth University and Gonzaga, as well as Northwest Passage’s Community Journalism fund.”

Cebert hopes for a strong turnout.

“I would love to see the Fox packed since I love Peter,” Cebert said. “He’s two people. Peter Rivera, the incredible singer and drummer and then there’s Peter Hoorelbeke, who is one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I guarantee that the show will a memorable event.”

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