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L.A. Beat

John Wort Hannam hosts Songs For Ken 4 for ALS Society of Alberta

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Local musician John Wort Hannam is excited to bring the fourth edition of his popular ALS Society fundraiser Songs for Ken back to the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, Thursday, April 12.

John Wort Hannam and Scott Duncan perform at Songs For Ken next week. Photo by Richard Amery
 There are a few new aspects to the event, which raises an average of $10,000 each year for the ALS Society of Alberta to help people who have  been diagnosed with the incurable disease.

“This year we have a house band instead of five or six solo artists,” said John Wort Hannam, noted The Polyjesters bassist Jason Valleau, keyboardist Steve Fletcher, drummer Jon May and fiddle player Scott Duncan will join this year’s performers the Polyjesters, Calgary bluesman John Rutherford, Calgary musician Mike Stack, Brooke Wylie, Maria Dunn and Hannam.

 The same  line up performs the next night in Calgary for the Fish Creek Concert Series.

“ People who come to to the concert always ask me if I’m doing it again next year and I’d feel terrible if I didn’t though it is a lot of pressure to put it on every year,” noted Hannam.

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.

 Painter Annie Froese will also be on stage painting with the music. Her work will be auctioned off at the end of the concert.

“She’s a High River artist who paints in watercolours.It will be her second time coming though we have an artist every year,” Hannam continued.


“It adds an extra element to everything happening,” he said. She will be painting so the audience can watch her work as she is inspired by the music.

Hannam noted the money goes a long way to  helping people afflicted by the disease. There is no cure for the disease as once diagnosed, they live an average of three to  five years or less.
“The money goes to help provide hospital beds and equipment so they can continue to live at home,” he said.

“There is a lot more interest in supporting ALS since the ice bucket challenge a few years ago, but it still doesn’t get as much attention as cancer or Heart and Stroke foundations,[ Hannam said.
“This is a chance to help ALS sufferers ad  have a really good time,” he said.

 Songs for Ken happens at 7:30 p.m. at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, April 12 and the next night at the Southminster United Church in Calgary (10690 Elbow Drive).
 Tickets cost $25 by calling the Empress at 403-553-4404 or 1-800-540-9229.
 The Empress holds 320 people, Hannam noted usually 300 of those seats are filled.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 April 2018 10:06 )  
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