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Another Welland band on the award-winning bill for Sunday's showcase is the tribute band of the year, Oracle.

Oracle recreates Jethro Tull music with musicians Cary Clouser on lead vocals and flute, Marie Nobes on keyboards, Steve O'Brien on drums, Clayton Kelly on bass and Denis Gignac on lead guitar and back-up vocals.

Gignac said Oracle has been together since 1990, but that members split in '97 for a 10-year hiatus. They have returned to their Jethro Tull tribute show over the past year.

The split, Gignac said, was due more to band members getting married and raising young children than any conflicts within the band. They started to get the "itch" to make music again.

Today, they're back rocking, classic rock style, and well-awarded for their musicianship.

Gignac said he and Oracle band members were "thrilled" at their recent Niagara Music Award win.

"As far as tribute bands go, there's so many out there but nobody else is doing Jethro Tull in this area, so when we go out there as a Tull tribute it's a great draw."

In the 10 years they'd been disbanded, Gignac said some of the members had continued music studies and obtained degrees in music.

The musical growth reflects in what they now do. They've just begun writing their own original music.

This is a goal for the band.

"In the '90s, we won a couple battle of the bands competitions, but this award is a huge deal for us because it's all in Niagara, and there are a few really good tribute bands out there that we were up against.

"Winning just inspires us more to keep going out there and making our music," he said.

Oracle takes the stage at 11:20 p.m. and will be performing songs from their Jethro Tull tribute show for the showcase performance.

- Welland Tribune

2009 Niagara Music Awards launch party
Posted 15 days ago

Artists and music lovers packed the 4triple5 Cafe on Thursday for the launch party of the second annual Niagara Music Awards.

Many of the winners from the inaugural show took to the stage to celebrate Niagara's music scene.

In addition to live entertainment, the evening was all about networking, said co-ordinator Morgan Whelan, of Capital M Productions.

“The main part of tonight is the networking,” she said.

“In a lot of situations, it’s not what you do but who you know.”

Mingling about the Queen Street cafe were musicians, music executives and members of the Niagara Music Awards (NMA) committee.

Marie Nobes, keyboard player with Oracle, winner of the 2008 Tribute Act of the Year, said last year's awards night was "top notch" and expects a repeat performance in 2009.

"Everyone had a great time," she said.

The award also gave the Welland-based Jethro Tull tribute band public exposure which lead to numerous performance opportunities.

Oracle, featuring Nobes, Denis Gignac, Cary Clouser, Steve O'Brien and Clayton Kelly, are scheduled to perform at this year's awards ceremony.

Fueled by last year's recognition, the band plans to submit an entry for the 2009 competition.

Whelan said more than 50 submissions have been received so far.

“Submissions are going really, really well considering there’s still three weeks left to go," she said.

Last year’s awards attracted 180 submissions, many of them coming in during the final days of the competition.

Organizers expect to exceed that total this year.

That increase may be the result of the addition of several new categories including Hip Hop Group of the Year and the Rising Star Award, for artists 16 year of age or younger.

The nominees will be announced March 22 at the Mide Bistro on Queen Street.

The awards show will be held April 14 at the Niagara Centre for the Arts on Epworth Circle.

Tickets are now available for the main event.

Submissions can be made online at the NMA web site or can be dropped off at the Capital M office at 183 Main St. E., Port Colborne.

For more information, visit

Article ID# 1443026

- Niagara Falls Review

Welland-based Oracle, a Jethro Tull cover band, won the award for tribute act of the year.

“You don’t do it for the money, you do it for the love of the music,” said Denis Gignac, the band’s lead guitarist.

But the accolades are nice, too, he added.

Oracle, led by singer/flutist Cary Clouser, has been performing since the early 1990s, and have won several battle of the band competitions.

But earning the award during the Niagara Music Awards competition “meant a lot to the band,” Gignac said.

Oracle also includes Steve O’Brien on drums, Clayton Kelly on bass and Marie Nobes on keyboards.

The awards show “was really well organized,” Gignac said.

“They had slide shows of the bands and music up there while you’re getting the award. It was really organized. I was impressed.”

- with files from Osprey News entertainment writer John Law, Tribune reporter Alan Benner and The Tribune

Article ID# 958871
- Welland Tribune


Finger paintings has been getting some internet air play in the USA and Europe.

Newly Discovered 2008 'Prog Music of Note': Cary Clouser
Current mood: animated
Category: Music

In my opinion, the frontman for the fine Canadian prog rock band Oracle, Cary Clouser, is a composer, writer and performer of significant talent. Both an excellent lead singer and an electric flute player in the mold of Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull, Cary has onstage and offstage chops (recording & production) having graduated from the Trebas Institute of Recording Arts in Toronto.

In his self-produced first solo CD, "Finger Paintings", Clouser showcases both his musicianship and significant songwriting talents. From the symphonic intro "Into Thy Hands" to the warm, personal epic "Precious", this is a rare CD indeed.

It is unusual to find all three elements of such consistent quality in a prog CD – vocals (IMO the place where many otherwise very good prog efforts fall short), songwriting, and musicianship; I rate this CD very highly in all three areas. Clouser's choice of backing musicians is a good one as well (Denis Gignac, Gary Bray, and Clayton Kelly) and they contribute the overall polished and professional sound of this effort.

You can hear Cary Clouser's music in full fidelity at:

My Rating: 9.0 out of 10

Steve Sikes-Nova
"the virginiaprograsser"
'Newgrass, Prog & More!' Web Radio & Interviews
2,000+ Progressive & Eclectic Listeners Worldwide
since 2003



ORACLE winners of a Niagara Music Award 2008 & 2009 was put together back in 1990 with a vision of doing something that no other bands in the area were doing. Adding the flute to a progressive rock band. The flute brought something different to the mix. The people really seemed to eat it up.
The band has gone through various member changes through the years and has insisted on keeping its musical integrity. ORACLE broke up in 1997 but has gotten back together in early 2007 and is loving every minute of it. With over 30 years of experience in music, ORACLE provides impeccable timing and melodic overtones to the music they perform.
Also in ORACLE'S heart of hearts is progressive rock. Ranging from Jethro Tull, Steely Dan, Rush, Kansas, Yes, Styx, Genesis, Supertramp & The Beatles to name but a few.
ORACLE has played primarily in Niagara but have played in Niagara Falls NY, Clinton NY & in Northern Ontario.
Winning Two Battle of the Bands back in the early 90's was a big deal for the band. One in Welland and one in Guelph.
Bottom line: This band loves to perform live! The music is technical and very challenging, and they are up to the challenge.
The band is writing original material & have high hopes for the future. The band also performs various classic covers along with the Tull. Some of the Original music can be heard on this EPK.
Again thanks to the loyal fans of ORACLE!!!!!