The Impalas to perform at Palladium New Year’s party in Carmel

From left, The Impalas singers Jamika Jones, Michael Wiltrout and Julianne Hess (Photo by Jason Katner).
From left, The Impalas singers Jamika Jones, Michael Wiltrout and Julianne Hess (Photo by Jason Katner).

By Mark Ambrogi

The Impalas have more than their share of fun on stage.

“It’s all talented people that get along and enjoy each other’s company,” singer Michael Wiltrout said of the 10-piece event band. “If you play with people whose company you enjoy,  that not only makes it more fun for you, but that energy comes across to the people in the crowd.”

The Impalas will be featured performers at the New Year’s Eve party at 9 p.m. at the Palladium in Carmel. The Impalas will perform on the Palladium stage.

“We do some contemporary stuff and even some Big Band numbers, but our strength is soul music from the ’60s and ‘70s from Stax Records and Motown,” Wiltrout said.

Wiltrout, a 48-year-old Indianapolis resident, started the Impalas with his best friend Adam White in 2001. White, a drummer who lives in St. Louis now because of his wife’s career, helps promote The Impalas.

Wiltrout, a North Central High School graduate, took 12 years to get his undergraduate degree at Indiana University. He had a good reason because he was a professional musician much of the time. Wiltrout was a member of a third wave ska (a fusion of rock and reggae) band called Johnny Socko that was formed in Bloomington.

“We didn’t go all the way (to the top), but we were good enough to not have day jobs and tour the country,” said Wiltrout, who also is a member of The Leisure Kings with Sean Baker. “I was with them for 10 years, then after I left when I turned 30 and got married, they kept going for three years after that.”

Even though he had never sung before, some friends suggested he join their band.

“They said they didn’t care if you can be that animated on stage, the singing will come. And it did, eventually,” Wiltrout said. “It was a great way to spend my 20s.”

Although it’s not his full-time job, Wiltrout loves keeping his hand in music.

“I wouldn’t want a life without it. By the same token I would never solely depend on it for a living again because that’s when it breaks your heart,” Wiltrout said.

The Palladium’s New Year’s Eve party includes two other bands, Joe Hess & the Wandering Cowboys and the Scott Routenberg Jazz Trio, and a DJ.

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