The Band

Back of the Bus is a Saskatchewan based Celtic band that was formed in 2003. We perform for festivals, weddings, corporate events, ceilidhs, house concerts, theatre shows, pubs, clubs and cruise ships ( we’re waiting )!

Members of the group are(l to r): Jim Walls, Sheila Churchman Vaadeland, Anna Bekolay, Kathi Davis-Lepage, and Paul Runalls. Click below to learn more about each of our members:

Paul Runalls - Vocals, Five String Bass, Guitar, Mandolin

Paul is a familiar figure in the Saskatoon and Saskatchewan music scene. As front man for Paul Runalls and the Prairie Sailor Band, Paul has been entertaining children and their parents for over thirty years. He has even appeared on CBC’s Mr. Dressup Show in an episode called, “Paul Visits” solving the mystery of the missing plastic cow! Paul is an accomplished songwriter and recording artist and he writes music for the children’s animations. 17 of his songs air regularly on the CBC Kid’s Stuff Stingray channel. Paul has had three songs reach the finals of the prestigious International Songwriting Competition as well as reaching the semi-final stage with 10 songs. A recent project was helping the Saskatoon Health Region promote their Germ Smart campaign through music and animation.  In 2016, Paul was one of only three finalists in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition for children’s music in New York. He also performs and records with The Residuals which is a fine Prairie Celtic band.

Anna Bekolay - Vocals, Violin

Anna is one of the busiest and “in demand” musicians in Saskatoon. A conservatory-trained musician and gold medal-winning vocalist, Anna teaches music from her studio and is a respected adjudicator of strings and voice. She divides her other time between Back of the Bus, The Whiskey Jerks,  The Mac Talla Quartet, the Stephanies and she partners with Gillian Snider, Kathleen Brannen, Elizabeth Bekolay and Ash Jones when she can! In 2019, Anna performed in the string section for Grammy winner Michael Buble!  We are so proud of her! Anna can play a number of styles and she penned the title song of our second CD, “Over the Ocean”.

Sheila Vaadeland - Vocals, Guitar, Percussion

Sheila is at home with bluegrass, folk, country, rock and roll and the blues, as well as with Celtic and children’s music. A long-time member of the Prairie Sailor Band, Sheila has played the Children’s Festival circuit and is just as comfortable on stage at Ness Creek or at a gala performance at the Remai Arts Center or Jazz festival. Sheila loves to make music with friends on stage as well as in the recording studio. Sheila can be heard as the Momma in this recent popular worldwide cartoon video she performed in produced by the Saskatoon Health Region. Sheila is a lovely singer with a great tone. With a ton of rhythm to spare, she also adds sweetly blended harmonies and a natural stage presence. She is well respected for her skills in harmony singing and has appeared on stage with Heidi Munro and The Real Groovy Band. In real life, Sheila is an enthusiastic and much-loved Pre-K teacher in Cut Knife and North Battleford. She is the Momma to Jake, an outstanding teen bluegrass performer of note.

Jim Walls - Vocals, Guitar

Jim wanted back in the band business since his adolescent rock and roll days, and folk-rock teen years. He had been playing Celtic folk music for many years as a solo and leapt at the chance to play with this group of musicians. Influenced by the Corries, Dubliners and Great Big Sea, Jim is always searching for a new “old” tune to add to the musical mix. A social worker by training,  and now finally retired, he finds Back of the Bus great personal therapy and it gives him an excuse to wear his kilt! In his spare time, Jim is an award-winning amateur actor and director. Jim is a grandfather to Jimmy and wee Penny and he loves to tinker with his vintage MGB. Jim tinkers more than drives! CAA is his best friend!

Kathi Davis-Lepage - Vocals, Tin Whistle, Accordion

Kathi is thoroughly steeped in Celtic music, dance, and culture. Kathi writes music for recorder and whistle. Kathi is well respected for her historical knowledge of medieval and renaissance music. She has played for years in Celtic bands including Tipperary Creek, Keltos and Peat Fire Flame. She taught and operated a studio for Celtic dance for 18 years and sang in a Welsh choir growing up. Kathi also has a background playing Renaissance and Baroque music. She is frequently called on to provide her expertise in Renaissance music and dance at conferences. Kathi has a degree in Music and has taught music for years as well. (Fortunately, she started all these endeavours when she was a youngster!)