The Lavender Lace Band
2017 - Band
Band Members: Lorna Johnson, Roxanne LeMoine, Darlene LePon, Nancy Green, Janet Jones,
Denise Pfeifer, Barbara Miller, Melanie Wright, Mark Ohlson, Johnn Wood (decease), Larry Monaco (decease)
The story of The Lavender Lace Band begins in 1984. Casual friends Lorna Johnson (lead vocals/guitar), Roxanne LeMoine (bass), Darlene LePon (lead guitar) and Nancy Green (vocals), were determined to learn the craft of “being a band.” When a female drummer answered their Sunday newspaper ad, the fate of The Lavender Lace Band was sealed. They went on to become the most well-known female band to ever venture out of central Iowa.
Over time, the group was blessed to work with many great drummers and vocalists, including singer Melanie Wright, who early on became an essential part of the band’s trademark vocal harmonies. The group typically performed as a six-person band, which included the original “core four” members, an additional vocalist, along with one of several drummers who worked with the group over the years. Their instrumentation consisted of lead and rhythm guitars, bass and drums, and most importantly, blazing vocals! The band was professional and well-organized, utilizing a strong sound system and stage lights. In addition, Nancy Green eventually stepped off stage and became a “singing soundwoman” who ran the mixing board while adding her high harmonies to the group’s vocals.
The Lavender Lace Band’s music was influenced by groups such as Fleetwood Mac, the Dixie Chicks, Bette Midler, Melissa Etheridge, The Beatles, and Heart, as well as lesser-known artists such as Marshall Crenshaw and Crazy Elephant. They performed music they called “danceable pop rock.” In the summer of 1997, they released their first CD, “Ms. Behavin’,” which featured drummer Janet Jones and vocalist Denise Pfeifer.
Early gigs were mostly small, private parties where they performed their broad mix of pop, country, and oldies. The band developed a loyal following as they traveled throughout Iowa and northern Missouri, playing every weekend in towns such as Oskaloosa, Waverly, Knoxville, Osceola, Newton, Carroll, Leon, Mingo, Grinnell, Baxter, Ft. Dodge, Eldora – and of course, Des Moines. They were one of the first bands to play regularly at Prairie Meadows Racetrack & Casino and were featured there for 12 years. Moreover, many will remember them from their Iowa State Fair performances at the old Master Jacks.
In 1991, with new vocalist Barbra Miller on board, the group was named “Best Band of RAGBRAI” by the Des Moines Register. They returned the following year to headline the Miller Stage in Osceola during RAGBRAI ’92. The group was also voted runner-up in City View’s 2002 best band poll. Other memorable gigs included opening for Gary Puckett at the Boone County Fair and playing at Jimmy Dean’s Christmas party in Osceola.
Musicians who were part of the band’s history at one time or another included: Kelly Wilcots (original drummer), Johnn Wood (drummer), Kelly Fredregill (vocalist), Mick Moylan (drummer/vocalist) and the great Larry Monaco (drummer).
In 1999, Melanie Wright re-joined the group and solved the band’s never-ending quest for a drummer – she brought her own - hubby and well-known percussionist, Mark “Spazz” Ohlson. This band of six became the 3rd decade of the Lavender Lace Band.
Lavender Lace played together for 29 years, starting in 1984, putting many miles on their equipment and their vehicles. Many of those years the group was all-female, although most times, a male drummer was necessary – and appreciated. The group wound down in 2013, but occasionally still gets together for special events. They are honored to receive this award and dedicate it to the memory of their beloved drummers Johnn Wood and Larry Monaco. R.I.P.