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L.A. Beat


The L.A. Beat

This week already sounds a lot like Christmas

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It‘s already looking a lot like Christmas and I’m not talking about the snow and cold weather.

Biloxi Parish return to the Slice, Dec. 2. Photo by RichardAmery

 This week features two big Christmas concerts at the Enmax Centre.


Tonight, Nov. 29, Tom Jackson, And Tom McKillip  brings  Stories, Songs and Santa Causes to the Enmax Centre to raise money for local charities. Tickets are $63 and $74, The Show begins at 7:30 p.m.

Quebec born, Medicine Hat raised Country singer Terri Clark brings her first Christmas show to the Enmax Centre,Thursday  Dec. 1. Tickets are $59 and $71. The show begins at 7:30 p.m.

 The Amy Bishop Christmas Special is at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, Dec. 2. Tickets are $25. Tickets are $35.


 Global drums is also getting in on the Christmas action as they bring A Heavy Metal Christmas  at the university of Lethbridge Theatre , Friday, Dec. 2.This year's concert features the Zimbabwe Marimba Band, plus the Brazilian Samba, Steel Bands, Percussion Ensemble, and Chamber Percussion Ensemble. Tickets are $20 adults, $15 seniors and Alumni and $12 students and children.


On Sunday, Dec. 4, the Collaborative Ensemble Concert will be in the university  Recital hall at 7:30 p.m.


Also Dec. 2, the Lethbridge Jazz and Blues Festival society present  the Johnny Summers Christmas Special at Southminster United Church. Summer is  a multi-instrumentalist, trumpeter, arranger, vocalist and composer who o brings his talents to the post of director of the Calgary jazz Orchestra.The show begins at 7 p.m.  Admission is free for those under 18, $10 students and Seniors and $20 for adults.

A little later in the month TJ Waltho , Aaron Trozzo, Paul Holden and Brad Brouwer bring their annual Charlie Brown Christmas and A Ventures Christmas to  several local venues beginning with an early show at Spectrum Ale , Dec 17. They will be at the Owl Acoustic Lounge that night and they will be at the Slice, Dec. 22.


Also looking ahead, The Lethbridge Shakespeare Performance Society presents Shakespeare meets Dickens at Casa, Dec. 21 at 7 p.m. Christmas show to several local venues including an early show at Spectrum Ale, Dec. 17 and at the Owl Acoustic Lounge later that night. They will be at the Slice, Dec. 22.


If it’s too early to think about Christmas, then get ready to rock this week.

The Owl Acoustic lounge’s weekly open mic is tonight, Tuesday, Nov. 29.

 Paul Holden and James Oldenburg return to the Watertower Grill to play some jazz music,  Wednesday, Nov. 30.


Theatre Outré spreading Christmas cheer for Quaint Quirky and Christmas

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Mama Didi d’ Edada always gets into some sort of trouble around the holiday season.


Didi and Doni are excited for Quaint , Quirky and Christmas this week. Photo by Richard Amery

 Find out  what happens at the Quaint Quirky and Christmas Cabaret at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 25 and 26.


“We always do a Christmas show, but we wanted to go bigger for our tenth anniversary,” said Deonie Hudson, Assistant Director of the  variety show, which will feature 20 performances directed by Andrés Moreno.


“It’s a lot of fun. Get into the Christmas spirit and celebrate the season with Theatre Outré,” Hudson said, noting a variety of acts are linked through an ongoing story— the conflict between director Andrés Moreno’s muppet Doni and Jay Whitehead’s beloved Mama Didi E’dada.


“ It’s about showcasing the community that Theatre Outré has build up over the past 10 years,” said Moreno, who first got involved with Theatre Outré two years ago.


“ It’s definitely an adult show. It’s a variety show. There will be burlesque,  people singing,  drag queens and drag queens and puppetry,” Moreno said.


Tom Jackson spreading the love for local charity with Stories, Songs and Santa Causes tour

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Tom Jackson hopes people will spread the love for Christmas with his new show, Stories, Songs and Santa Causes, Nov. 29, a new cross-country tour that stops by the Enmax Centre to raise money for local food banks and family services agencies.


“ Call somebody and tell them that you love them and then tell them to call somebody else  and ask them to tell them that you love them and I guarantee in five minutes the world will be a better place,” encouraged Jackson.

 He emphasized that  “Songs, Stories and Santa Causes” is not  the Huron Carol, his popular variety show that has raised  money for local charities since 1987 featuring a combination of up and coming and well known country and folk musicians singing in the Christmas season, but it is it’s spiritual successor.


“ We were stymied for two years because of Covid, so we recorded  a virtual show and gave it to the organizations so they could raise money,” he said.

The 74-year-old, whose philanthropic efforts have raised an estimated $250 million in cash and in-kind food banks and disaster relief since the 80s, began his national Stories, Songs & Santa Causes tour Nov. 24 in Edmonton and wraps it up on Dec. 16 in St. John’s.


“Last year we did 13 shows in western Canada. This year we’re going from Vancouver to St. John’s, Newfoundland,” he said, noting he is looking forward to performing live with long time musical director Tom McKillip and multi-instrumentalist John MacArthur Ellis.


“People will be 10 feet away. We’ll be able to see their faces,” he said adding it won’t just be Christmas songs.

“Most of the songs will be familiar and some won’t,” he said, adding  he is excited to involve the audience in the show  by getting them to sing along.


New West Theatre asking community to “Save Our Stage” with urgent funding request

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Long standing  professional theatre company New West Theatre has fallen on tough times like a lot of  local community groups and arts organizations, so they are reaching out the the community  to “Save Our Stage.”


They have been providing family friendly entertainment and have given local performers a break on the big stage for the past 30 years, but lately veered off in to a slightly more experimental, more serious, issues heavy direction, which hasn’t been as successful as they hoped.


Kyle Gruninger and Kathy Zaborsky performing in one of the popular music comedy revues All Spruced Up. Photo by Richard Amery

 The September production of rock and roll musical  “Next to Normal” and “Barvinok” weren’t as successful as they anticipated, so they are returning to what works, more mainstream shows like their family friendly music comedy revues.


 With  that “ course correction” in mind, they have set a goal of raising $150,000 in the next two months.


“Every little bit helps,” said New West board Chair Dawn Leite, after telling a story about her nephew Declan asking her why she was writing letters asking for help, and offering to donate  five dollars.


“We expanded our offerings this year. We underestimated the community’s appetite for different programming,” Leite told a Nov. 18 press conference, noting they will be going back to programming that is a sure bet.


“ Audiences have not returned to pre-covid levels. So we’re returning to fun, family oriented theatrical selections,” she said.


“We need a little bit of additional funding to make that course correction,” she continued, adding they haven’t launched such a large fundraising campaign before, though they have done smaller campaigns.


 New West Theatre’s next big show is their annual “Blockbuster” holiday show running Dec.14-31 to be directed by New West veteran Grahame Renyk.



 Leite said  there are some special live fundraising events on the horizon to help raise the extra money, which will be announced later.

She said the extra funds are essential.


“ It‘s critical. There is an urgent need,” she said acknowledging times are hard for a lot of people who have lost jobs and are just getting used to going out again after Covid.


“We have a number of reserves we can dip into,” she said, noting it is also national philanthropy week.



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L.A. Beat is Lethbridge, Alberta's only online arts and entertainment magazine.

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