A Santa Barbara based vocalist, Irene came from a musical family. Her inspirations were cultivated at a young age as she attended many talent shows that her sister, Ramona would win year after year. Being # 6 of 7 children, Irene’s ears were constantly tuned in to records, (yes, vinyl) her sisters Carla and Teri would spin. Most of Irene’s younger years consisted of being the “tom boy” of the neighborhood with her sister Toni as brother Rick as their personal coach. Just for kicks, Rick and Irene decided to take a break from playing sports and started playing guitar and singing together. That, was when Irene was bit by the “vocal bug” and the thought that they could be the next Donnie and Marie. [Symbol] It was also the start of the Rick and Irene duo that performed at every school concert from K-12. When Irene was just 14, Rick and Irene did their first “gig” at the Zaca Lake Lounge. Every weekend, mom and dad had to venture to gigs with us because we were under age. For the next 12 years, the Rick and Irene duo rocked the house with music from the 70’s and 80’s in most of Santa Barbara’s hot spots every weekend.
In the early 90’s, Irene was approached by bass-singer extraordinaire, Marty Kinrose. He needed an “alto” for his acapella Doo-Wop group, The Vocal Chords. It was during this fun, amazing four year adventure that Irene really developed her ear for sweet harmony. There was nothin’ like the sound of our 5 voices resonating strong chords as we performed all the classic street corner Doo-Wop tunes at fairs, festivals, car shows and other special events throughout Southern California. Of course dressed in 50’s attire!
In 1996, Irene responded to “seeking vocalist” add in the local paper. She had no idea what the band was about so she went to one of their shows and became too intimidated to follow up on the audition. After several nights of lost sleep over the chance that she would skip such an opportunity to perform with such gifted musicians, she decided to audition. Irene is proud to be a member of one of Southern California’s most in demand bands, Santa Barbara’s energetic classic, Soul, R&B, Funk, Disco and Old School band, the Soul City Surviviors. During her 16 years in this band, Irene has developed her voice as well as her love for entertaining and connecting with her audiences.
Other projects Irene has proudly been a part of are Sentimental Serenade – Jazz Standards from 30’s-40’s with Keyboardist – Kenny Weiss. 25 years of recording vocalist for Santa Barbara Singer/Songwriter, Mark Roberts – The Mark Roberts Band. Big Yellow Moon – acoustic guitar and 3 part harmony folk and original materials with Ernie Knapp and Anny Eastwood.
How did Irene become part of Do No Harm???? It’s all in the timing! Irene met drummer, Barry in Junior High School back in the 70’s when their musical paths crossed. In the early 80’s, Irene met bassist, Roger Runjavac when his then day job was to make periodic visits to the Auto Club where she worked. Never thought our paths would cross again. Many years later, in the early to mid 90’s, Irene was fundraising for San Marcos High School for her son’s soccer team. She asked if any parents that played music would want to form a band for one night to raise funds. That was when Jim Thomas and Tom Woliver stepped up. We formed a band just for the night that Irene wanted to call “One Night Stand” (but didn’t because it was for a high school event). [Symbol] We played a few tunes and raised monies for the school and that was that. We each went our separate ways and I never thought we’d meet again. Several years later, J.T. and Irene would run into each other and chat music. For almost 2 years, he persistently planted the seed for her to “jam” with him and his buddies on the weekends. Well, between busy life, work and gigs with other groups, Irene never “jammed” with them. Then early 2012, a window of opportunity came and she decided to “jam” with Do No Harm. Instantly, she became inspired by their musical talents, professionalism and how productive these “jams” became. Do No Harm is an exciting adventure and rockin’ addition to Irene’s musical family. Looking forward to the next level of growth and seeing what develops next in my vocalist journey. She is grateful!
In Irene’s spare time, she enjoys practicing and teaching yoga, rollerblading up and down Cabrillo Blvd., gardening, training her cockatiel – Sonny, cooking and chillin’ with her family.