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Centric Music festival celebrates Chopin, Bach, Brahms and Beethoven

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 Ryan Kolodziej is pleased to take the reins of Lethbridge classical music festival, the Centric Music festival from founder Jesse Plessis.Ryan Kolodziej is excited to organize the Centric music Festival, happening at Casa, July 5-8. Photo by Richard Amery
The fifth annual 2017 Centric Music festival features four concerts at Casa, July 5-8 focussing on  the music of well known composers Bach, Brahms, Beethoven and Chopin.
“This is a more conservative programme then we usually offer, though I still love contemporary classical music,”Kolodziej observed.

“When Jess started it , there weren’t any festivals in Lethbridge for classical music. He saw a need and started up Centric,” he observed.
“Originally Jesse wasn’t going to do it anymore because he moved away to Montreal, but he saw a need for it and  just did it . It was worth doing, so  I’m just happy to continue  what he started,” said Kolodziej who is from Lethbridge originally, but also moved away to Montreal to  continue his education, where he met Jesse Plessis.

“It’s easier  to organize something like this long distance when you have family living here,” he continued, adding his dad was a real asset by spreading the word and postering the city. The hard work has resulted in  advance ticket sales of  $1,000.
“We]re also selling tickets at the door. I hope we won’t have to turn anyone away at the door. Though I don’t think we will,” he continued.

 Kolodziej is excited to not only keep Centric alive, but also to play a couple of the concerts.
“I like to organize  events, but I also like the opportunity to play concerts. I’m not making any money on this. I’m donating my time and my performances because I want to make sure the artists get paid,” he said.
“ I’m also  playing the role of PR person, which is a different kind of work,” said Kolodziej  who went to school for 10 years, and has been teaching since graduating.

 Plessis returns to just play three of the concerts while Kolodziej plays two. A highlight will be new University of Lethbridge musician and new University of Lethbridge professor Krzysztof Jablonski, an internationally acclaimed pianist who has performed at the international Chopin Competition in 1985 who opens up this year’s festival with a gala concert featuring plenty of Chopin.Concert I, July 5 at 6:30 p.m. features internationally acclaimed pianist Krzysztof Jablonski who will perform a selection of the solo repertoire he presented at the 1985 International Chopin Competition for Centric's opening gala concert. The concert is a rare opportunity for Lethbridge audiences to hear an accomplished artist of Dr. Jablonski's  calibre. A pre-concert talk begins at 6:30 p.m. with the concert at 7:30 pm.

The second concert,  July 6 at 7:30 p.m. is the first of three concerts exploring the music of the three major "B" German composers. It features the divine music of Johann Sebastian Bach. Cellist, Tyler Stewart will present “Komm, süßes Kreutz, aria no. 57” from Bach's masterpiece, “the St. Matthew Passion,”  and one of the monuments of the cello repertoire, the “Cello suite no. 2 in D minor.” Pianist Jesse Plessis, will interpret the first of Bach's six Partitas for keyboard, “Partita no. 1 in B-flat major.” Soprano Lisa Mulgrew will join pianist Jesse Plessis for several extracts from “the St. Matthew Passion.”

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 28 June 2017 08:52 ) Read more...

Canada Day celebrations among week’s highlights

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Canada turns 150 years old this year, so Lethbridge is going all out to celebrate with live music, July 1. But before that, there is quite a lot going on for live music.

 Chicago roots/American/bluegrass band  the Way Down Wanderers visit the Slice, June 28 in the middle of their first visit to Canada. They blend elements of folk, rock, traditional music, bluegrass and much more into their unique sound from their 2016 self titled debut CD as well as their brand new live CD.The Matadors return to Lethbridge this week. Photo by Richard Amery
For the complete opposite to that, London, Ontario based psychobilly/ rockabilly  band the Matadors return to Lethbridge, June 28 as well when they return to the Moose Hall with local punk bands the Scallywags and Gender Bender. The show begins at 9 p.m.

 For something different again, The Owl Acoustic Lounge hosts their month end stand up comedy open mic on June 28.
While Canada Day activities dominate the weekend, there are a couple cool shows happening.
 Taylor Ackerman, who used to play with Treeline and Toques and Beards is taking advantage of a month back home in Lethbridge after spending the past 10 months in Halifax to play a pair of local gigs.

 He brings his new blues rock project Global Acid Reset (which also features drummer Matthew Rederburg and Cory Fischer ) to the Owl Acoustic Lounge, June 30 with Don Cassells’ new project In Cahoots. Global Acid Reset plays the Slice on Canada Day with local roots rock collective Unbroken Circle. There is a  $10 cover for that show.
Shaela Miller returns to the Slice on June 30 with local roots group Rancho Deluxe and Megan Rourke. Admission is $10.

For Canada Day, Vancouver based funk orchestra Five Alarm Funk are part of a busy Canada Day line up at Henderson lake, which begins at 11 a.m. with the Lethbridge Community Band. They will be followed at noon by the Dramatic Measures Choir, the Hibikaya drummers at 12:10, New West Theatre at 12:30 p.m., the Lethbridge Thai dancers at 1:10, Munya Maturuse at 1:30 p.m., the Troyanda Ukrainian Dancers at 2:20 p.m., local funk/R and B/disco collective Hippodrome at 2:50 and the opening ceremonies at 4 p.m..

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 June 2017 08:50 ) Read more...

Five Alarm Funk to help ring in Canada Day in Lethbridge

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Vancouver based funk band Five Alarm Funk plan to “Sweat” in support of their new album, when they drop the funk on Henderson Lake Park to celebrate Canada 150 festivities.

Five  Alarm Funk bring the funk for Canada Day. Photo by Richard Amery
“It’s been 14 years and six albums. And this album is our most mature album yet. It’s opened a lot of doors for us,” said Tayo Branston, one of the two drummers in the funk fuelled behemoth which includes Gabe Boothroyd - Guitar; Oliver Gibson - Guitar; Jay Smith - Bass; Tom Towers - Congas; Ricki Valentine - Timbales; Eli Bennett - Sax and trumpet player Kent Wallace.

“We wanted to capture what it feels like to be at  a concert. The last album “Abandon Earth’ was a concept album. It was almost a heavy metal album. On this album we went back to our roots of heavy funk, afrobeat  and reggae,” Branston said, adding they are excited to play Canada Day in Lethbridge.

“Our live show is the best it’s ever been. We have new costumes and new props we’re breaking out. I don’t want to spoil things, but the gorilla and the sharks are our in full force. They’ve become a symbol for Five Alarm Funk. They’re big, powerful animals,” he said, promising a spectacle for Canada Day.

“We’re also working on new music which we’ll be playing which you won’t hear unless you’re at the concert,” he said, noting the band has been touring a lot in the United States and Canada since releasing the album in March. They played Follyfest in Fredericton on June 23 before flying back to Vancouver the Coastal Jazz Festival, which kicks off a big tour including Canadian and American dates.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 June 2017 08:23 ) Read more...

Taylor Ackerman goes back to blues rock roots with Global Acid Reset

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They all come back eventually. Taylor Ackerman, who was a member of several popular local bands including Treeline and Toques and Beards, returns home from Halifax for a month to introduce his new musical project GloTaylor Ackerman plays with Global Acid Reset. Photo by Richard Amerybal Acid Reset with a pair of local shows, June 30 at the Owl Acoustic Lounge and July 1 at the Slice.

He noted he has spent the past 10 months living in Halifax rediscovering his blues/rock roots, while looking after his two year old while wife Arianna Richardson earns her MFA. Be has also been dipping his toes into the thriving east coast scene.

 He has been recording new music while in Halifax with drummer Geoff Arsenault including the new single “Bangladeshi T-Shirt” which is officially released on June 30.

“ He’s a great drummer. He has played with Ray Bonneville and just finished a tour with Matt Anderson,” Ackerman said, adding he planned the trip home with a handful of shows including  the two Lethbridge shows plus a show at Verns in Calgary on June 29 and a show at Soulfest in Twin Butte on July 7.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 27 June 2017 08:09 ) Read more...

Way Down Wanderers wandering up to Canada for first time

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Peoria, Illinois based roots/ bluegrass band the Way Down Wanderers are wandering up to Canada for the first time  next week for a quick tour including a stop at the Slice on Wednesday, June 28.The Way Down Wanderers play Lethbridge on Wednesday. Photo submitted

The Americana/roots quintet’s self titled debut CD has won them several awards after being released in February 2016. The Way Down Wanderers are  vocalist/ guitarist Austin Thompson;
Collin Krause- Vocals, Mandolin, Violin, Electric Guitar ;  John Williams- Vocals, Upright Bass; John Merikoski - Drums, Percussion and banjo/fiddle player Travis Kowalsky.
They are excited about the Canadian tour.

“This will be the first time we’ve ever played outside of the United States, so we’re just excited to see the land,” said vocalist/guitarist Austin Thompson.

The roots of the band began in Peoria where Austin Thompson and Collin Krause were part of a band for a different singer.

“When that fell apart, Collin and I decided to form a band where we had a little bit more control over what we were doing. And when that fell apart, I decided to try writing songs myself. John Williams was studying jazz and he joined us,” said Thompson travelling from Peoria to Chicago where most of the band are based. Newest member,  banjo player Travis Kowalsky, lives in the northern Michigan city of Alpena.
“He’s a great fiddle player, so we asked him to play with us,” he said.

Last Updated ( Sunday, 25 June 2017 10:56 ) Read more...
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