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Gayle Force and the Windbreakers to kick off crawfish fest

The Tualatin-based dance and show band performs for the fourth year at the annual festival
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TUALATIN - High-energy foot-tapping, hand-clapping and head-bopping entertainment will begin Friday, Aug. 11 as the Tualatin Crawfish Festival kicks off its lineup of musical performers.

Gayle Force and the Windbreakers will take the Fountain Stage at the Tualatin Commons from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

The four-year crawfish festival veterans are known as 'the Northwest's most fun dance and show band' with their lively tunes, audience sing-a-long songs and occasional conga lines.

Gayle and her quartet say the band's a combination of Mae West, Bette Middler, Della Reese and Queen Latifa - a fun gang with exciting music.

The Tualatin-based group plays songs by various famous artists, such as Elvis, the Temptations, The Beatles, B.B. King and the Blues Brothers.

'My goal in hiring a band for our Friday night Fountain Stage is always to find a group that will get the audience excited and involved in the evening,' said Hope Howard, the Tualatin chamber's executive director and crawfish festival coordinator. Gayle Force and the Windbreakers 'blew us away,' she said of the band's 2004 appearance.

Maybe that's because of each group member's years of musical and theatrical experience - they're definitely not amateurs.

Gayle Haden, the band's lead singer, performed on Broadway for several years and was a cast member in the musical comedy 'Hairspray.'

Mark Gensman, who sings and plays the saxophone and keyboard, has over 35 years of experience playing in jazz and show bands, touring with national recording stars and writing songs. He has played in over 20 states and in four countries.

The rest of Gayle's quartet of instrumentalists also have strong backgrounds in music and theatre.

Gayle's exuberance on stage shines during her performances because she wants the crowd to be part of the fun.

'She only wants the audience to have as much fun as she does… and Gayle always gets what she wants.'