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Season of entertainment ready to kick off

Foothills residents won’t lack for things to do the next several months as another entertainment season kicks off.

Foothills residents won’t lack for things to do the next several months as another entertainment season kicks off.

Okotoks Culture, the Beneath the Arch Concert Series in Turner Valley and the On the Edge Concert Series in Red Deer Lake have performances lined up in the coming months that will bring a range of Canadian talent to stages across the region.

The Rotary Performing Arts Centre (RPAC) in Okotoks has comedy shows, plays, music, interactive films and a blues festival scheduled in the coming months.

Andrea Spiers, RPAC specialist with the Town, said old favourites will be coming back this year, including The Rocky Horror Picture Show interactive experience and plays by Dewdney Players Group Theatre and Goodger-Pink Family Productions, as well as new musical acts.

“With the concerts we try and do something different every year,” she said. “It’s nice to have a variety to bring out different audiences.”

The Silver Screen Scoundrels, a multimedia show that combines music with silent films and comedy, will happen in February.

Much anticipated is a concert by soloist Sean McCann in April, whose traditional folk songs from Newfoundland and Labrador brought him international fame as the founding member of Great Big Sea.

The wide selection of entertainment is expected to see audience numbers increase, said Spiers.

“The numbers are always good and they’re just getting better,” she said. “We are getting more people coming.”

The Town is offering three season packages including a concert package, comedy package and Dewdney Players package. Details and prices are available at okotoksculture.ca

Also expecting a busy season is Suzanne Searle, artistic director for the Beneath the Arch Concert Series.

The series kicks off with high-energy rockers The Weber Brothers in September, followed by Americana roots duo The Small Glories in October and Juno Award winning folk singer William Prince in November.

The New Year will begin with alt-country artist Del Barber and his band in mid-January, followed by The Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer in February, Sultans of String with Arabic, Celtic and Turkish rhythms and themes in March and acoustic folk singer Ken Whiteley and the Beulah Band in April.

“It’s a really well balanced line up,” Searle said. “We’ve got a little bit of everything.”

Concerts are held in the Flare ‘n’ Derrick Community Hall, where Searle said people love the sound.

“The acoustics are fantastic,” she said. “The word is out that our sound is great and we treat our artists extremely well.”

Season ticket holders return year after year because of the venue, entertainment and the volunteers, said Searle.

“Beneath the Arch is a very well run concert series with very experienced volunteers and our audience appreciates that,” she said. “Everything starts on time.”

Details on concerts, tickets and season passes are available at beneaththearch.ca

To the north, the On the Edge Concert Series has been entertaining crowds at the Red Deer Lake United Church for five years.

“We started this just as a community thing because some of the people in the Red Deer Lake United Church like myself love music and concerts,” says director of artistic bookings Phil Jackson. “Four couples started it all. Now we have over 40 volunteers.”

The season will feature Foothills folk group The Travelling Mabels in October, Gianetta Baril and The Foothills Brass Quintet in January, Calgary vocal group ReMix in March and bluegrass band The Slocan Ramblers in May.

“We have everything from country and folk to semi-classical,” said Jackson. “We are trying to give our audience variety.”

Audiences have grown from an average of 175 people five years ago to 250 last season, Jackson said.

“People really like the venue,” he said. “We have good acoustics, a great sound system, we have free parking and for three out of four concerts we offer a light supper.”

Jackson selects the entertainers himself, always viewing them in action before booking them.

“I’m very busy out and about travelling mostly around Alberta to preview groups before I book them,” he said. “I just want to feel comfortable that I booked a good group and that my audience is going to be happy.”

Concert and ticket details are available at reddeerlakeuc.com




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Tammy Rollie

About the Author: Tammy Rollie

Tammy Rollie is a staff reporter at OkotoksToday.ca and the Western Wheel newspaper, focusing on Wheel's West, local arts and culture and entertainment. For story tips contact trollie@okotoks.greatwest.ca
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