Brian Caron and Jim Stopa have known each other and been best friends since Brian’s
family moved to Deep River around 1966. Music has always been one of the many common threads that pulled
each other together. Throughout high school, Brian played tenor saxophone in the concert band and performed vocally
in many of the high school musicals. The high school music teacher, Harvey Snitken was a huge influence and put together
a stage/jazz band which both performed in.
Around 1969, the
first rock and roll band formed, SALT MEADOW LANE BAND, in the basement of Uncle Andy and Aunt Alice Stopa's home in Old
Saybrook. It consisted of Randy Renny, drums, Larry Stopa, guitar, Jim Stopa guitar, and Brian Caron, vocals and Dave
Stopa, percussion. It wasn’t long until Randy left the band and Dave Stopa took over playing drums.
This band played out for a few years, even without a bass guitar, until Mike Cashell joined to play guitar.
Larry Stopa switched to bass guitar, and the band name was changed to S.E.V.E.N.
This band played only for a years until a battle of the bands, at Rogers Lake in
Old Lyme. There was a "long jet black haired" guitar player
that blew everyone off the stage. His name was Stanley Miezejeski and it wasn't long after that show when Mike decided to leave
the band and Stanley join forces. This was the start of STOPA'S BAND, because there were 3 Stopa's in the band, and friends of the band just
started to call us that name. This band consisted of Dave Stopa on drums, Larry Stopa on bass, Jim Stopa on keyboards,
Stanley Miezejeski on guitar and Brain Caron on vocals and Sax. This band was the local rebel band who
played together until about 1976.
Around 1977, the next band that Brian and Jim played with
was ARCANA, which consisted of Joe McGrath on drums, Micky Duffeck
on bass, John VanGorder and Steve Tanski on guitar, Jim Stopa on piano, and Brian Caron singing and playing sax. This
band was noted for accurate Beatle licks from both John and Steve. It did not last long but if sure was fun.
Jim went off the college and Brian got married and moved away to Seymour CT which was closer
to where Brian worked. A few years went by with no music, until around 1978 when Glenn Hanson called Jim up and put
together a Holliday Inn type band called SATIN, with Jim Stopa
on piano, Jim Lessard on bass and Glenn Hanson singing and playing drums. This band played many gigs but was going nowhere
until Jim Lessard called his guitar player friend Alex Sordo and Jim Stopa called up Brain Caron to sing and play sax.
Satin then evolved into a popular shoreline rock and roll band called CHAMPAGNE JAM. Glen was soon replaced by Kenny Hebert on drums and this band ruled the
shoreline for many years, playing clubs, parties and many local weddings. Dick Pape was added in 1983 as a second guitar
player while Jim left the band in 1985 and was replaced by Peter James. CHAMPAGNE
JAM lasted until around 1987.
Jim took a long musical break focusing
on family and electronic design, while Brian started playing with a band called WHITE
WATER RAPIDS. It consisted of Rob Shorey and Scotty Ray on Guitar, Ray Gorneau on Bass, David Bonin
on Drums, Chris Allen on Hammond B3 and Brian Caron singing and playing sax. It wasn't long until Jeff
Stielau was the only guitar player and Frank Monte started playing bass and Peter James took over keyboards. This band
played steady throughout the 1990’s, but when it dis-banded for a year or so, some of the members got together at a
benefit party at a local bar to jam. The jam band consisted of Dave Bonin on drums, Frank Monte on bass, Dick Pape on
guitar, Jim Stopa on piano, Peter James on keyboards, and Brian Caron Singing and playing flute, sax and harmonicas.
It only took a few rehearsals and this band was off to the races. Because this group was a combination of two bands,
WHITE WATER RAPIDS and CHAMPAGNE
JAM, WHITE WATER JAM was born.
WHITE WATER JAM
had a very loyal following which produced 7 live recorded CD’s, which were always given out to many fans for a nominal
gesture. The band played for about 6 years until Dave Bonin was diagnosed with colon cancer, for the second time.
Dave played through his illness until 2006 when he could not physically perform any more. He passed away the first week
of December, 2007 at the young age of 50. He was a great man, great marine, great musician and the greatest friend and
will be forever missed.
Since Dave’s passing, Jim Stopa has been busy writing and
producing drum and bass parts in a Midi sequencer of many popular songs to build a repertoire to play out once more.
Brian and Jim rehearsed with the Midi sequencer and thought it could work as a musical show. This act is quite different
from normal two piece performers but performed a few times in front of friends with goods results. So…..come
and see........ take a listen...... to this new "duo" called