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John Wort Hannam and friends raising money for ALS with Songs For Ken

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 Fort Macleod musician John Wort Hannam is honouring the memory and love for his good friend Ken Rouleau by bringing some of Alberta's best folk and roots musicians the the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod, Feb. 14 to raise money and awareness for the ALS  (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Society of Alberta.Leeroy Stagger, Dave McCann and John Wort Hannam are among the performers at Songs For Ken, Feb. 14. Photo by Richard Amery

 So when the Empress Theatre asked him for a good idea for charity, the ALS society of Alberta immediately sprang to mind.
“ It was the just the kick in the butt I needed to do something,” he said.

 So he set up a fundraising concert for Valentines Day featuring performers Hannam, Lethbridge songwriters Dave McCann and Leeroy Stagger plus Calgary musicians Amy Thiessen and Brooke Wylie and High River’s Karla Adolphe. CKUA's Allison Brock will be the MC.

“ They were the first six people on my list. And they all got back to me within a minute. I figured if they didn’t I’d go to the next six. But it is a coincidence they all play the same type of music as me,” he said. He noted everything from the the artists’ time to theatre rental, lights and sound has been donated.

“ So every single dollar we raise will go to the ALS Society,” he said.
“ What a nasty disease,” Hannam said.

“There's a lot of horrible diseases — horrible cancers. But ALS is one of the worst,” he said.

“ You get get progressively weaker and you’re paralyzed  in your own body. But you retain your brain function, so you’re totally aware of everything,” Hannam said.
He grew up with Ken Rouleau, who suffered from for 15 months from the progressive neuromuscular disease in which nerve cells die and leave voluntary muscles paralyzed before passing away from it  in April 2012 at the age of 43.


“We grew up together. We knew each other from the age of eight and went to elementary school together. We were best friends and we were best man at each other’s weddings,” Hannam reminisced.

“ He was really smart, compassionate and friendly. People always say this about people that they’d give the shirt off their back, but I think Ken literally did a couple of times. He loved everything and everyone in life,” he said.

He plans to make the event an annual event.
“ I’d like to sit down with the ALS Society at the end of  it all and give them a cheque for $80,000,” he said adding for now he hopes the vent will sell out.
“ The Empress Theatre seats 310 people and we’ve already sold 240 tickets,” he said Friday.

Two High River artists Annie Froese and Tyrrell Clark will be creating works on the scene which will be auctioned afterward.
“I didn’t want it  to be a regular art auction, with artists donating works and they just sit around and people bid on them. So the artists will have a blank canvas in front of them. I want to artists to be move so  the patrons will be able to see the art develop from the beginning to the end and at the end we will auction off them at the end,” he added.
 Tickets for the concert cost $25. It begins at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 14.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 10 February 2015 10:47 )  
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