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L.A. Beat

Trooper to “Raise a Little Hell” for New Year’s Eve at Exhibition Park

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Exhibition Park is getting ready to “Raise A Little Hell” with Canadian classic rock icons Trooper, who ring in 2017 at Rockfest, Dec. 31 in the north pavilion of Exhibition Park.

 It means there won’t be a family New Year’s Eve at Exhibition Park, however it also means the children’s festival in May will be bigger and better according to Exhibition Park marketing manager Doug Kryzanowsk.
“The family festival is what we’ve been doing for the past 20 years and we wanted to do something different and have a new experience. After 20 years we felt that it had run it’s course,” said Kryzanowski, adding the family new year’s eve and children’s festival were starting to look too much alike as they featured similar acts.
“Our challenge is to keep ahead of the changes. Plus it’s our (Lethbridge Exhibition’s) 120th anniversary and Canada’s 150th and 100 years for 4-H Alberta, so we wanted to celebrate that,” he continued, adding he hasn’t received any calls from peopTrooper plays Rockfest at Exhibition park for New Year’s Eve. Photo submittedle disappointed in the loss of the family new year’s eve.
“The sponsors were all in favour of it too,” he said.

“We were originally going to have two big headlining bands, but two or three were already booked and a few others didn’t want to play New Year’s because of distance. But we might have them for Whoop Up Days. Fast Times is a local band, and they will be opening,” he continued.
Trooper have been a mainstay on the airwaves and on stage, scoring numerous popular hits in the ’70s and ’80s including “Boys In The Bright White Sports Car,” “ General Hand Grenade,” “Santa Maria,” and probably their most well known hit “Raise a Little Hell.”

Trooper frontman Ra Maguire is used to playing New Year’s Eve shows.

“I can only remember *not* playing New Years maybe two times since I was 15!” he enthused in an e-mail interview.
“New Years is a celebration, so our plan is to celebrate with our Lethbridge friends and fans!,” he continued, adding he has many pleasant New Years memories.
“My favourite New Years memories are from my childhood. My parents let my two brothers and I stay up till midnight so we could join all our neighbours in going outside and banging on pots and pans,” he wrote.
The band has enjoyed another busy year this year.

“My highlight of 2016 is a night off in Montreal. We’d had a band dinner at Schwartzes and were leaving the city when we bumped into ten thousand people attending the Montreal Jazz Festival - which we did not know was going on. Great fun ensued!,” he wrote, noting he is excited to play a lot in 2017.

“We’re looking forward to more gigs as fun as the ones we did in 2016! Just about every show was a total party,” he wrote.
He is pleased with the current line-up of the band, which includes fellow founding member Brian Smith, keyboardist / multi-instrumentalist Gogo, who has been with the band for 22 years, bassist Scott Brown, who has been with Trooper for 21 years and drummer Clayton Hill, who has been Trooper’s drummer for the past decade.
“This is the best, and now definitive, version of Trooper,” Maguire stated.

 It has been a  few years since Trooper last played Lethbridge — at Whoop -Up Days in 2011. Since then Trooper has been doing a lot of playing.
“We’ve traveled countless thousands of miles, partied with countless thousands of people and tried, very hard, to keep the vibe high,” Maguire noted.

Fast Times lead singer Jackie French is excited to open for Trooper.
“It’s nice they asked us to do it,” said French, who works for Exhibition Park booking events. She noted the six person organizing committee decided on what bands would be playing the event including the opening act.
“Our drummer Blaine (Graf) is super excited because Trooper is his very favourite band. He’s their number one fan,“ said French, who is joined by  guitarist Kevin Vezina, keyboardist/ vocalist Michael Ayotte, bassist/vocalist Alex Thomson and French’s daughter Jasmine Mitchell sharing lead vocal duties.

The core of Fast Times, French, Graf and Thomson have been playing for 10 years. They have had several singers and band members in their tenure.
“Blaine and I have been there since day one and Alex joined us a little bit after. We have a lot of fun. We practice every week. We play a lot of parties but mostly corporate events,” she said.
She is enjoying being in a band with her 22-year-old daughter, who has been with the band for the past year.
“She’s really enjoying singing with the  band,” she said.


“She sings a variety of music,” she continued adding Fast Times have opened for bands like Toronto, the Sheepdogs, country singer Shane Yellowbird and even the  the Lethbridge Symphony.
“They were the best backing band we ever had,” she enthused, adding so far, the Sheepdogs have been their  favourite band to open for.
“But maybe Trooper will be. We’ll find out,” she said.


Jackie French putting on her ‘poker face” with Fast Times. Photo by Richard Amery
Fast Times play an array of covers from classic rock to contemporary hits.

“We‘ll be playing more of our rock stuff to fit in  with Trooper,” she said.
“There is definitely some pressure opening for a big name act. We always do our best, but we really have to do our best for this and get everybody warmed up,” she said.
“It’s exciting to open for Trooper, but we get to stay and listen to them and party with them,” French enthused.

Doors open at 8 p.m., Fast Times takes the stage around 9 p.m. and Trooper will ring in the new year beginning around 11 p.m.

 Tickets must be purchased in advance from Gas King locations in Lethbridge, Medicine Hat and Picture Butte.Doug Kryzanowski is excited to do something a little different for New Year’s Eve. Photo by Richard Amery
“Tickets will not be sold at the door, but they will be sold until 8 p.m. on the day of the show at Gas King, which is always open,” Kryzanowski said.

 The $69 tickets include a midnight buffet, champagne and party favours, plus the food concessions will be open all night long.
 As a bonus there will be a shuttle service running all night long to the south, north and west sides of Lethbridge for a minimum $10 donation per address. After expenses, the rest of the proceeds from the shuttles will be donated to the Lethbridge Humane Society.

“Taxis can be hard to get on New Year’s Eve, but we’ll have a bus fleet, so it’s a good opportunity for people who want to come and havre a good time for us. It’s all good and we’re excited and Trooper is a good drawing band,” he said.

“For $69 you get two bands, food and champagne. It’s not all that different from a New Year’s Eve party, but it‘s bigger. And Trooper is a party hearty band,” he said, adding they are a perfect fit for a New Year’s Eve shindig.
The event has already attracted a lot of interest.
“We’ve had people calling from Calgary for tickets. And groups of six to eight people  have been calling for tickets. We’ve been pushing  them to Gas King because we aren’t open over Christmas and Gas King is always open,” he said.


 A version of this story appears in the Dec. 21,2016 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/Shopper
— By Richard Amery,L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 December 2016 09:35 )  
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