A Camas man who used to play a guitar and sing in bands when he was in high school is finding a renewed sense of enjoyment in entertaining people around the area.
Wayne Havrelly, a former news anchor and investigative reporter for KGW-TV, in Portland, left that job in November 2015. He had worked there for eight years.
Before that, Havrelly was an anchor and investigative reporter at KIRO-TV in Seattle. He started his career in Spokane, Washington, as an anchor and reporter in 1985 when he was a senior at Eastern Washington University.
Havrelly majored in journalism and minored in history. After earning a bachelor’s degree, he was an anchor and investigative reporter in Orlando.
Havrelly, 52, put away his guitar during his career in broadcasting news.
“I just didn’t have time for much else,” he said.
Havrelly, a 1982 Washougal High School graduate, got his old band back together to play at the 30-year reunion.
“The other guys never stopped playing,” he said. “I was very green, but I had a blast. I played in my man cave until I left KGW, and that’s when I took the act out of the basement for the first time.”
In addition to performing at various venues, Havrelly is doing voice-over work for TV and radio commercials, as well as e-book narrations and audio for corporate instructional videos, from his home recording studio.
With three decades of reporting experience, he will always consider himself to be a journalist.
Havrelly said TV news has changed more in the past two years than in the first 30 years that he worked in it.
Because of those changes, he said he was no longer able to do the type of in-depth reporting that he specialized in.
“What I experienced during the last few years of my career was increased corporate buyouts and technology changes that lead to staff reductions and increased workloads,” Havrelly said. “Due to the increased workload, I ended up spending much more time on the technical aspects than writing, reporting, and interacting with the public.
“I decided I needed a change,” he added. “So now, I’m trying something new and fresh.”
These days, Havrelly plays guitar and sings on his own.
“I use a looping pedal to create different music lines and percussion that I create on the fly myself,” he said.
Havrelly performs classic rock, folk and country music and has written some songs.
He usually performs on the last Thursday of each month, from 8 to 10 p.m., at Smeads Pub, 3395 Evergreen Way, Washougal.
Trina Johnston has known Havrelly since they were in the musical, “Oklahoma!” at WHS, in the 1980s.
She also recalls hearing him play in a band at a high school event.
“I’ve been to two of his performances at Smeads — both outstanding,” Johnston said.
Gloria Meyers, of Washougal, remembers when Havrelly sang “Amazing Grace” at her mother’s graveside service in 2014.
“I think he has a great voice, and he does a good job singing different genres,” Meyers said. “I love that he can make songs his own. They don’t have to sound just like the original to sound good.
“He also has some original songs that are really good,” she added. “I am excited for him and this new chapter.”
In February, Havrelly performed at the Portland Seafood and Wine Festival. The event is directed by Sean Guard, owner of Metropolitan Productions Inc., of Washougal.
Guard, the mayor of Washougal, has heard Havrelly perform at least five times.
“What amazes me about Wayne is his range,” he said. “He can do Glenn Frey/Eagles, then Johnny Cash, Pearl Jam, Elvis and Maroon 5. He knows covers including very recent hits, and he has his own original songs which are pretty darn good and easy listening.
“He also knows how to weave a story with the audience,” Guard added.
Havrelly performed on the evening of July 1 in Reflection Plaza, in downtown Washougal. The free concert was planned by Guard and the Downtown Washougal Association.
Havrelly said he enjoyed the acoustics outside and booked four new gigs as a result of that performance.
Dave Pinkernell and his wife, Carrie Burhenn, of Washougal, attended the concert in the plaza.
They were frequent viewers of Havrelly’s news reports, but it was the first time they saw him perform music.
“My wife made a fun sign that said, ‘Wayne Havrelly Rabid Fan Club,’ as a surprise for Wayne,” Pinkernell said. “He loved it.
“I’m happy for Wayne that he has been able to create a fun second career after his years as a KGW broadcaster,” he added.
Havrelly has performed at private events at Orchard Hills Golf & Country Club, in Washougal.
In 2015, he served as an emcee at an annual fundraiser for the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society, in Washougal. Havrelly and his wife, Julie, have two cats.
Shelley Craig has heard Havrelly sing numerous times, including a recent performance at a graduation party in Washougal.
They were both students in the Washougal School District from kindergarten through 12th grade.
Craig, of Washougal, remembers Havrelly singing in one of the classrooms during lunch recess when they were in the fifth or sixth grade.
“Of course, there was a fee involved,” she said. “One quarter would get you inside. There was paper covering the small window on the classroom door.
“I can remember him doing his version of ‘You Ain’t Nothin’ But A Hound Dog,'” Craig added. “He was destined to be an entertainer.”
For more information, visit www.waynehavrelly.com.