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L.A. Beat

Songs for Ken remembers a friend and helps fight ALS

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Music is a wonderful way to remember a good friend.
 So Fort Macleod born, Lethbridge based singer songwriter  John Wort Hannam is excited to present the third annual Songs for Ken fundraising concert for ALS in Calgary at Southwood United Church, Feb. 10 and at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, Feb. 11.

John Wort Hannam presents the third annual Songs For Ken Fundraiser to the Empress Theatre, Feb. 11. Photo by Richard Amery“When I started it , I just wanted to put on a show to remember a really good friend. I thought I’d do it once, but almost immediately I had people asking when the next one would be,” said Hannam.
“ I’ve already got somebody booked for next year, 2018,” Hannam observed.

Randall Wiebe, the Polyjesters, Sadlier Brown Band, Brooke Wylie, Tanner James and Maureen Chamber and Hannam himself will be performing at the Fort Macleod show.
 The same lineup other than Chambers will also be performing in Calgary.

“The Polyjesters are back this year due to demand, and Brooke Wylie played at the first one,” Hannam said.

“ Randall Wiebe is a painter from Rosebud. He is more of a performance artist. So we’ll be auctioning off a portrait done by him. During the last set, he’ll paint a portrait of the winner in 15 minutes which the person gets to take home. Randall begins with a blank canvass and 15 minutes later there’s a portrait.”
 He noted the performers are donating their performances for free, though they will receive money for gas.

 “The first year I wanted to raise $10,000 to fight ALS, I don’t want to set  a specific amount this year. By the end of it all I hope have raised $100,000 for ALS. I just want to be able to cut the biggest cheque I can for ALS every year,” Hannam said.


ALS, which is also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed. There is no cure for the disease which usually kills the victim within three to five years.
 Hannam’s friend Ken Rouleau died from ALS at the age of 43 in 2012 after suffering from  ALS for 13 months.

“ From diagnosis until death, it was 13 months. We were friends since we were eight. He was an adventurous guy. He’d always explore new places and new ideas. He’d always want to help another living being,” Hannam said.
“ And he was a writer. He wrote beautiful poetry and a novel,” Hannam reminisced.

“ And he was a bit of a rebel. He ran for the Green Party when he was living on Salt Spring Island and he worked for Greenpeace,” he continued.

Hannam hopes the show will sell out.

“Last year we came pretty close. There are approximately 320 seats in the theatre and that’s packed to the rafters,” he said
Tickets cost $25 and can be had  by phoning 1-800-540-9229 or online at
Songs for Ken begins at 7:30 p.,m. with doors opening at 7 p.m.

A version of this story appears in the Feb. 1, 20`17 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times/ Shopper

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Thursday, 09 February 2017 10:07 )  
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