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L.A. Beat

“Old west” helps out seniors centres

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“Laughter is the best medicine, it does all of our  centres good,” observed Nord Bridge Senior’s association vice -president Jim Hahn, of a great new fundraising concert for the Nord Bridge  Seniors centre and the Lethbridge Senior’s Centre, Feb. 20 at the Yates Theatre.
 “Old West” Favourites is neither western flavoured nor old, nor is the event related to New West Theatre either, though several New West Theatre veterans are involved with this music and comedy revue.Jordana Kohn, Scott Carpenter, Erica Hunt, who are part of the Old West production also helped raise money for the Kidney Foundation. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s called ‘old’ west’ because we’re getting older and we’ve been involved with groups with west in the name, ” laughed the 43-year-old Jeff Carlson, who organized a cast of old friends including Erica Hunt, Scott Carpenter, Arlene Bedster, Kelly Roberts, Jordana Kohn, Andre Royer and Carlson who designed a family friendly show of their favourite songs and comedy sketches from the past 25 years.
“But then we’ve all been doing this since we were 18. A group of us started acting in Fort Macleod in Great West then moved on to New West Theatre,” he said, adding they got back together to put together a show for the 55 Plus games last winter. Some members of the Nord-Bridge Seniors Centre were in attendance and enjoyed the show.
 “This will be the first time both organizations have worked together on an event  like this. It’s going to be quite exciting,” enthused Marcie Stork, volunteer co-ordinator of Fund Development for the Lethbridge Senior Citizen’s Organization.
“As the needs of the community changes, we’ll change with them. We’re all going to be seniors eventually,” Stork said adding senior’s organizations will be getting an even greater influx of seniors as the baby boomers begin turning 55, so programs must evolve to accommodate these younger ‘seniors.’

“We’re on the pulse of what they need. All we have to do is listen to them,” Hahn added.
The money raised from the tickets ($25 matinee, $35  for the evening) will go to both organizations to help pay for day-to-day operations, which have taken a hit due to government cutbacks and more seniors using the facilities.
“I’m happy both seniors centres are working together to do a little bit more of their own fund-raising,” Carlson continued, putting on his alderman’s hat.
“It’s  the first ever joint fundraiser for them, so we’re very proud of that.”
The cast have been rehearsing over the past three weeks in Carlson’s basement whenever they can find the time to get together.
“It’s all going very well. We’re all best friends so it’s nice to work together again,” he said.
“If it goes well and they are willing to do it, we’d love to do it again,” Stork said.
“The money is going towards core funding . That refers to operational expenses like staffing, heating, power and technology. These are some of our concerns we need to look after,” Hahn added. The Nord-Bridge Senior’s Centre provides programming for approximately 1,300 members, while Lethbridge Seniors Centre serves approximately 3,000.
“We provide pretty important services. But as long as we can keep in tune with their needs, we will survive,” he continued.
Stork said tickets to the event were half sold almost as soon as the organizations began their advertising for the event.
Call 403-329-SEAT (7328) for tickets. The evening show is at 8 p.m. and the matinee is at 2 p.m.

—By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat editor

A version of this story also appeared in the  Feb. 17 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times

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