A story about a performing group in Central Florida
By Carla Brooke
Frank Kaminski says “Wild Hearts” is Flagler County’s best kept secret. Well, that secret is out! “Wild Hearts” led by Frank Kaminski has performed throughout the area for the past nine years. Group members include Frank and Diana Kaminski and Cherie Watson, who joined “Wild Hearts” about 5 years ago.
Frank and Diana moved to Flagler County from Massachusetts 10 years ago. He was a tool and diemaker and she a registered nurse. Frank has been playing music of every genre for more than 40 years. He said, “At fifteen, I worked for my grandfather, so he would give me a guitar he had in the attic and then I taught myself to play. I have loved playing guitar and singing ever since.” Frank plays lead guitar and has a range of four octaves. Music by singer Larry Graham and guitar player Noki Edwards of the Ventures, inspires him. He said, “I have performed all over the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan and the Philippines. While in Canada, I performed at the Calgary Stampede. I have performed with Marty Robbins, Charley Rich, Dick Curliss and with Gerry Garcia of the “Grateful Dead,” at the Orange Tree in San Francisco. I also had the opportunity to sing at Tootsie’s in Nashville.”
Diana said, “I have always enjoyed music, but only began performing with Frank after moving to Florida. Before that I followed wherever he was performing.” Diana is the music coordinator and background singer for the group. Music by singer “Tanya Tucker has always been a favorite of mine,” said Diana. Diana continued, “Our variety of music can satisfy from 8 to eighty and we can cater to all. We try to meet most of the requests we get from our audiences, because we feel when we are out playing, we are out there for their entertainment, not ours.” Diana uses her knowledge of the computer to organize and further the group’s music career. She has even created a computer mailing list to notify people of their upcoming music dates. Diana wrote lyrics to a song titled “If We Believe,” while Frank created the music for it. They performed the song at a local benefit for the victims of Katrina.
Native Floridian, Cherie Watson has lived in Flagler County for 9 years. Although Cherie has had no formal vocal training, “There has always been a lot of singing in my family,” she said. When asked if any singer inspired her, Cherie quickly replied, “My mom! My mom used to sing on the radio in the mid 1940’s. I learned the greatest thing you can do is to sing from your heart and the rest will follow.” Cherie continued, “I have always loved to sing! I recorded a CD in Nashville and was offered a record deal that required me to travel overseas, I declined, because my boys were young and the family comes first and will always come first for me!” Cherie has had some thrilling singing experiences. “I have sung with “Song of Atlanta” as the front row lead in an international competition, which included over 9000 women from all over the world. I performed in “World Sing” with 500 voices from all over the world on Store Mountain, Georgia,” said Cherie. She sang at the Piccadilly Pub in Nashville and was honored to have her picture placed beside that of Hank Williams Jr. on the wall. Cherie has also sung in many of the other venues on Music Row outside of the Nashville Hall of Fame.
Although Cherie enjoys all genres of music, she said, “I would have to say that I love to sing the old 30s and 40s and country music the most. While performing in the band she sings all genres of music including 30s, 40s, 50s, country, disco, standards and southern rock.
Cherie met Frank and Diana 5 years ago, while they were performing at Karas’ Restaurant. She joined them for a few songs and that was the start of their friendship, turning the twosome into a threesome.
Watch for “Wild Hearts” performing in venues throughout the area.