No greater influence in my life occurred than the Fall of 1969 when HOPE
first became a band and lived in the enchanted forests, hills and valleys of Esofea, Wisconsin.
Five young men from the most diverse backgrounds found themselves becoming one entity through their all night jam sessions,
through their search for Spiritual Enlightenment, through their togetherness, through their love.
It was a magical time like no time before, like no time since. The three years with HOPE would prove to be the cornerstone from which all of my music has evolved.
The Remastered HOPE Album
and All of Ray's Music
Hope went on to sign a recording contract with A&M Records, recorded its first and only Album at Manta Sound during July-August, 1970, Toronto, Canada and was produced by Jack Richardson who had just finished producing the Guess Who to a Platinum Album.
The band signed with the William Morris Agency out of Chicago having their first concert at the Madison Coliseum opening for Three Dog Night. Hope continued to open for Classic Rock Bands such as The James Gang, The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Chase, The Flock and even Alice Cooper. At Iola, Wisconsin's Rock Fest of 1971, Hope played the stage with The Grateful Dead, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Ted Nugent, Ravi Shankar and many others during a three day rock fest.
HOPE's last concert in July of 1972 was where the band began in the hills and valleys of Esofea at Esofea Park. Several hundred dedicated fans and friends gathered for an all day concert, picnic and farewell party.
One of the members, our lead guitar player, song writer and spokes person for the band, Wayne McKibbin has passed on into Eternity.
We miss you so much dear brother but your music will always live on within us. His three
brothers, Michael, George and John were always close to us, always willing to
help the band.
Long time friend of the band, Tom Eisenman became HOPE's drummer in the last year of our concerts and tours.
HOPE traveled to the Chicago area a lot.
We had a van and a panel truck so full of equipment, you could hardly squeeze yourself in. During the long rides, Tom, who was an English major, would read to us from the spiritual books and writings of C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia and from J.R. Tolkiens, Lord of the Rings and many others.