Zakarian was rocking the Black Hills from 1973 through 1981, playing everything from rock to jazz, country to funk, standards to swing and original tunes as well. The band existed in at least four different versions with the one consistent member at the managerial helm; Randy Woods ( lead vocalist, percussionist) the driving force keeping the band busy. Dave Kramer (bass), Jerry Upton (keyboards and vocals), Gary Leis (drums and vocals), Gene Leonard (guitar and vocals), Leslie England (guitar) Terry Rathbun (drums) and John Lamb (guitar) were all gifted musicians and part of the bands Journey between 1973 and 1977.
Zakarian opened for “Maynard Ferguson’s Big Band” at the newly built Rushmore Plaza Civic Center in 1977 for “Dakota Days” in Rapid City followed by a performance on the KOTA-TV Christmas Music Special in the same year. Zakarian was making a name for itself just as the band’s logo promised: “An Investment in Good Music”. The band adapted to new musical tastes and trends and hit the road to Wyoming, Nebraska, Missouri, New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, Montana, and all of South Dakota with Mike “Bow” Theye (drums and vocals), Peter Diggins (guitar and vocals), Marty Weaver (keyboards), Holli Hoffman Nichols (vocals, keyboards), and Kent Smith (bass).
Zakarian was honored to perform on the South Dakota PBS series “No Cover, No Minimum ” at the Hotel Alex Johnson in 1980, performing originals by Peter Diggins, Holli Hoffman Nichols, Marty Weaver and other artists. Marty, Holli, and Kent left the group in 1980 to pursue other interests while Butch Zierath (bass and vocals) and Ralph DeKemper (keyboards and vocals) joined for the final version of Zakarian.
Through Zakarian’s musical journey, they have always maintained high standards in order to connect with their audience, while always committing themselves to playing Good Music. We would like to thank our fans and friends for supporting us through the years.
(1973-81) Randy Woods
(1973-77) Dave Kramer, Jerry Upton
(1973-74) Gene Leanord, Gary Leis
(1975) Leslie England, Mike Theye
(1976-77) Terry Rathbun, John Lamb
1977-81) Peter Diggins
(1977-80) Marty Weaver
(1978-81) Mike Theye
(1978-80) Holli Hoffman Nichols
(1979-80) Kent Smith
(1981) Butch Zierath, Ralph DeKemper