Channeling the British Invasion

Channeling the British Invasion
Channeling the British Invasion
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Thursday evening, I crossed the Appomattox River and ended up at The English Channel. This outdoor concert was at Petersburg’s Old Towne Civic Center in what used to be an industrial area. It’s the cultural crux of Petersburg and offers a surprising mix of art galleries, antique shops and restaurants, many that promote live music. There are two venues in one at the Center: a large indoor hall and a sweet outdoor area complete with covered stage, dance floor and grassy open space that promotes lawn chair comfort.


The English Channel has been around since 2001, authentically recreating the vibe and spirit of the British Invasion era. Every song they cover was a hit by artists like the Beatles, the Zombies, the Hollies, Petula Clark, Dusty Springfield, the Moody Blues…you get the picture. Their stage presence captures the essence of this era – granny-style sunglasses, mod clothing and especially lead singer Julie Quarles’ colorful thigh-high boots. While paying tribute to the era, band leader Bob Quarles (Julie’s husband), says they are not a “tribute band” in the strict sense of that term (click to hear Bob’s take:


The Channel has a different business model than many local groups. They have their own sound man and tech crew to ensure performance consistency. Also, instead of playing locally every weekend, they prefer to play selective dates in area clubs to avoid saturating their home audience. In effect, they make every show more of an event and have a dedicated local following. They do manage to take their show on the road, having played 5 years straight at Kentucky’s huge “Abbey Road on the River” Beatles festival and, for the last 2 years, heading far north for Canada’s “Empire Beatles Weekend.” Bob is emphatic they couldn’t do such wide ranging events without the total support of their families and their day jobs.


Locally you can catch them on a regular basis at JJ’s Grill, Midway Lounge and The Rumble Seat Grill, as well as one offs at Stony Point shopping center and ocean front on Virginia Beach’s 24th Street Stage. They’re seasoned and passionate about always delivering a splendid time for all. As Bob says in typical ’60s lingo, “It’s a gas!”


Here’s a 90-second highlight from the show:

Watch Video


Bob Quarles: vocal, keyboard

Julie Quarles: vocals, percussion, hot pink boots

Buzzy Lawler: vocal, guitar

Marion Hodges: vocal, guitar

Rico Antonelli: vocal, drums

Richard Cowles: vocal, bass




  1. Is this the same Billy Rice that went to VCU in 1977 or so and used to do lighting for outdoor shows?

    • Lauren: suggest u send an email directly to Bill…he’s more likely to see that. Click on his name above.

  2. Lauren, I was at VCU in 77…did some shows, lights, stages, etc….was a Mass Comm major

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