Kool Ray and the Hip Katz


Formed in 2006, Kool Ray and the Hip Katz is an exciting show band with music that spans over half a century. Our catalog features top hits from the fifties to the present, with an emphasis on horn oriented arrangements. We are a group of experienced professional musicians that features a full rhythm section, horn section, powerhouse male and female vocals and great stage presence. Our mission is to provide an evening of entertainment for upscale corporate and private functions; Our group is perfectly appropriate for even the most formal affair in the most elegant of settings. We are equally at home entertaining an earnest crowd of die-hard party animals packing the dance floor song after song!

Screen name:
Member since:
Apr 06 2014
Active over 1 month ago
Level of commitment:
Years together:
Gigs played:
Over 100
Tend to practice:
1 time per week
54 years


"Kool Ray and the Hip Katz were very well received by the people that attended their concert in the Zinger Music Barn on Friday August 22, 2008. We have heard many positive comments from many people that attended this great music concert. They are indeed a fabulous entertaining high energy dance band and we are looking foreward to this group coming back to Coronation to perform again on Zinger's Outdoor Stage on July 4, 2009."
Claude Zinger

"We at REDI Enterprises had the pleasure of being entertained for our Christmas party by Kool Ray & the Hipkatz on December 1st 2007. I have not remembered the last time that the entertainment was so good at any of our Christmas functions. One week later I am still getting great responses from staff that I see saying what a wonderful Band we had and would love to have them back again any time. From the time they started to the time they finished there were always people on the dance floor busting a move to their great music. If anyone is considering having Kool Ray & the Hipkatz for a night of great music, they are well worth it and will have the dance packed where ever they play."..
Blaine Cheverie Chair REDI Enterprises Social Club

"On the weekend of Sept. 15/07 a bunch of fellow workers and friends were involved in a blast of a time. We were at the Bodnaruks "Ponderosa" well maybe not that big. However the event was a year wind-up "PIG ROAST and BOOZER" Our entertainment was the one and only Kool Ray and the Hip Katz. If you are into 50's,60.s 70's or just about any kind of rock with a hint of jazz, these guys and gal will knock your socks off. I defy you to just sit and listen. If you are a person who enjoys shaking it a little, you definitely will not be disappointed. I expect Kool Ray and the Hip Katz to be a very hard act to book , so if your undecided , give Ray a call and "Let the good times roll" if you know what I mean!!!"
Art Pinnell Captain , Medicine Hat Fire Dept

"The band was simply fantastic; everybody got up to dance and party, and it was down to their sheer brilliance, they made our night for us. I would highly recommend this band to make your party come to life.".
MJ WALLACE: Major, BATUS Engineer Park.

"The band sounded great – great energy and presentation and you even had people up dancing which for the first set is not easy."
Lyle Rebbeck: Producer, Medicine Hat Jazzfest

"Hey James and Ray,.. Adam and I just wanted to sincerely thank you and the whole band for an awesome night! You guys were so amazing and we had a blast! We had many comments that night about how great the band was. You did such a great job on our song as well, thank you so much for learning it for us. Thanks again. And please send our thanks and compliments to everyone in the band. Take care!"
Jodi and Adam Delday

Members Of Band

Will Nickel.. Will has been involved in music in the local area since he started playing trombone in his grade seven school band a few decades ago. He soon switched to the trumpet and after high school, kept his interest in playing his horn in various bands and venues. The only tradesman in the group, Will makes his living as a carpenter but has a real passion for playing music. He regularly plays in the Medicine Hat Concert Band, the Medicine Hat Big Band, The German Harmony Dance Band, musical productions at Hillcrest Church, as well playing weekly between two churches on Sundays. Other groups he was involved in included: Ritmo Caliente salsa group, the Medicine Hat College Jazz Band, as well as college brass quartets and quintets. Will has played with the Medicine Hat College symphony orchestras & choirs under the direction of Glen Harder and Joanne Collier; Handel’s Messiah, as well as MHC Concerto competitions, and at many other musical events. CHHS’s production of Bye Bye Birdie, was his first pit experience and most recently, he played lead trumpet in the MHHS production of Les Miserables. The variety of music played by the HIP-KATZ has both delighted and challenged Will to be a part of this great team of players.

Erika Bodnaruk.. Erika comes to us as an experienced musician from Brandon, Manitoba where she received her Bachelor’s of Music Education from Brandon University. While Erika’s primary instrument is the flute, she plays additional instruments such as piano and saxophone. She likes to kick back and sing as well. Erika has experienced playing in bands with many styles from classical to rock. As the only female member of the band, she gives the “Hipkatz” it’s softer side. Using the musical influence of many musicians and their genres, Erika is influenced by a wide variety of musical styles and uses this in her own playing. Playing in the “horn section” of the band has proved exciting and challenging to Erika as each song provides an avenue to celebrate the many musical styles of our time.

James Evangelos..Whether it's Rock, Jazz, Country, Funk, Fusion, Latin or R&B, his flexible artistic demeanor and powerful time feel, coupled with a talent for finding unique solutions for practically every situation, has kept this drummer busy on the bandstand for more than two decades. A graduate of the Grant MacEwan Music Performance Program, James has, as a freelance and studio musician, performed with a truly diverse list of respected artists around Southern Alberta and Saskatchewan. While best known for his work with the Wichita band, a partial listing of his performance credits include; The Tim Herman Band, The Lyle Rebbeck Trio, The Medicine Hat College Jazz Band ,The Grant MacEwan Percussion and Mallet Ensembles,The Medicine Hat Symphonic Society, Reese Kliaber, Tracy James and Soul Farmer He has performed as a drummer / percussionist for Handel's Messiah, Medicine Hat Musical Theatre's production of Peter Pan, Chicago, Little Shop of Horrors and South Pacific. Hatterland Theatre's production of Robin Hood. Don't Miss It Production of You're a good Man Charlie Brown. James has shared the stage as an opening act with such artists as Ian Tyson, Williams and Ree, Chris Cummings, Rick Tippe, Brian Hughes, Glass Tiger, Dwayne Steel and Julian Austin.

Teague Bates.. Teague studied trombone performance at the Cleveland Institute of Music and the University of Calgary. He has played with the Band of the Ceremonial Guard and Ottawa’s Governor General’s Foot Guards. He has played in the Halifax Tattoo and the Boulder Colorado Highland games. He was a member of Altius Brass, the Calgary Wind Ensemble, the King’s Own Calgary Regimental Band and the University of Calgary Red Band, the Medicine Hat Allegro Band and the Case Western Reserve University Jazz Ensemble. He has played for such dignitaries as Queen Elizabeth and Oscar Peterson. In the Webster's Children's Dictionary under trombone, there is a picture of Teague, I kid you not.

Peter Mueller.. Peter was born in Hagen, West Germany and like many native Germans began Accordion instruction at age 9. After immigrating to Medicine Hat in 1967 instruction commenced. In 1972 Peter was approached by the local branch of the United Conservatory of Music to become a “teacher assistant”, and consequently on his 17th birthday Peter enrolled for guitar instruction as he pondered a fulltime teaching position with the Conservatory. At age 19 he became owner/operator of United Conservatory of Music, which today is the cities largest and oldest music school and the cities largest retail music store. Peter’s performance career began at age 14 with the German Canadian Junior Harmony Band. From 1974 to 1988 the local trio ’Tequila’ was the focus while occasionally freelancing on guitar, bass, drums or keyboard. 1988 to 2003 was spent as half of the local duo ‘High Fidelity’ which later changed format to become the ‘Shigbits’. Over the years musical styles consisted primarily of Top 40 cover tunes and some Country. Side projects included limited writing and recording of originals, bassist for an ‘Elvis’ Tribute band and guitarist for Bo Diddley at his local performance. Musical influences and inspiration are too many to mention but range from the many local musicians to the Beatles, Paul McCartney, The Happy Feeling & the Eagles. Favorite artists/groups include the Beatles, Paul McCartney, Jack Semple, Will Ray, Greg Koch, Chicago and Steely Dan among a vast number of others.

Bob Wagner.. Bob began playing bass in the late 60's with a group of friends from his home town of Laporte, Saskatchewan. He moved to Calgary where he joined "Happy Feeling", a recording group on the Barry and Avco/Embassy label. They cut their albums in the same studio and with the same Manager as Buddy Holly in the early days and went on to considerable success in the Canadian record industry. During these exciting times, Bob toured with such greats as Roy Orbison and was featured in "Festival Express" with such greats as Janice Joplin, The Grateful Dead, Ian and Sylvia, and many other rock stars of the day. Happy Feeling had a TV show that ran on national television for a couple of years. The band travelled across Canada and the US in their own bus, with roadies, groupies and all.. Bob later performed in other successful groups, "Feeling" and "The Over The Hill Gang" (one of the hottest tickets in the Calgary club scene in the mid-seventies), and several Calgary "party bands" . Bob decided to get a day job in the 80's, becoming a piano tuner/technician and businessman (Wagner's Piano Service). Throughout the years he has continued to perform in Medicine Hat with many groups from many genres. Bob enjoyed his times with Tequila, Lyle Rebbeck Jazz Trio, Savoys and in the pit of several musical productions--most recently in "Chicago".

Mark Ward..Mark was born in Montreal then lived a gypsy life for his first two years criss- crossing the U.S. in the family car listening to radio stations play a mix of late-fifties swing and early rock & roll and R&B. He was schooled in Montreal and earned university degrees in London, Ont; Lethbridge, Alta; and Victoria, BC. In his “first” life in Southern Alberta, Mark played and sang in productions for Lethbridge Musical Theater. He was also choral director for LMT’s production of “Brigadoon.” He appeared as Pirelli in Center Stage Productions’ “Sweeney Todd” and as Nicely Nicely Johnson in “Guys and Dolls.” He was musical director for the Medicine Hat Musical Theater shows “Sugar” and “Oliver.” As a trumpeter he has been a member of both the Lethbridge and Medicine Hat Big Bands, the Southern Alberta Brass Quintet, and the Lethbridge and Medicine Hat Symphony Orchestras. Then the Sirens of BC lured him away (or the sirens in Alberta chased him away) and he was lost in Lotus Land for 13 years. He was featured singing and leading the trumpet section of the Moonliters big band. Mark got his R&B trumpet chops together with the Vancouver horn bands “What is Hip?” and “Malpractice” and is proud to say he got to work with veterans Art Mutcher and Art Morrow.

“Kool” Ray Martens..Ray was born at a young age and has been busy as a musician in central and southern Alberta for over thirty years. He earned a Bachelor of Education from the University of Lethbridge, majoring in music and studying trumpet. He played keyboards in local top forty dance bands in Lethbridge, Red Deer and Medicine Hat while freelancing in combos and big bands on bass, trumpet and harmonica. With such influences as Billy Joel, Rick Wakeman and Stevie Wonder ..boards, Pino Pallidino, Flea and Victor Wooten on bass, Maynard Ferguson, Chet Baker and Miles Davis on trumpet and, of course, Toots Theilmans on harmonica, and several decades performing in every type of venue, he comes to this band prepared to tackle it’s diverse musical styles.


Past Events

Medicine Hat Lodge

Medicine Hat Lodge