Stage North season preview: more than before!

Len Ramsey
For the Lakeside Leader

Stage North opens its season on lucky Friday, October 13th with the Nova Scotian roots/rock band Port Cities. These up-and-coming newcomers have recently opened for Joel Plaskett and the Sheepdogs. Over the summer they will be opening for Colin James and k.d. lang as well as playing in festivals and concerts of their own. Their catchy melodies and lyrics are sure to get everyone tapping their feet and for a few, dancing.
On November 2nd, the committee hosts blues legend Jim Byrnes. Jim started his career back in 1963 before many of us were alive. Interestingly, his two Juno awards for blues album of the year came in 2006 and 2011. His years on the road have provided a treasure trove of stories that make his show entertaining for everyone. Opening for the show will be Charlie A’ Court. His performance in Slave Lake a few years ago resulted in Stage North receiving a number of requests for his return. For the blues fan, this is a show not to be missed.
Trevor Panczak returns to the Slave Lake stage for a Christmas concert on Sunday, December 3rd. His country tunes are catchy, his curling song hilarious, and his down-home Alberta style endearing. He’s sure not to disappoint after a busy year headlining for Nashville North at the Calgary Stampede and performing with Willie Nelson in Merritt, B.C.
Stage North begins the 2017 New Year with Blues/Rocker Jesse Roper. Jesse returns to Slave Lake for the second time. Once a rig worker, he offered to play a night at Dom’s. At first he was turned down, although once Slave Lakers heard him play, he was asked to return whenever he could. Jesse’s now looking forward to playing festivals and shows with the likes of Jim Cuddy, Dr. John, Matt Anderson, and the Tokyo Police Club. At the North Country Fair last summer, Jesse played a workshop with Matt Rogers of Harpoonist and the Axe Murderer that was just amazing. For blues and rock fans, this is the show for you.
Stage North will introduce a little comedy to their line-up with the Christopher Hall Comic Orchestra performing on February 18th. Christopher was the former principal clarinetist for the Orchestre Metropolitan in Montreal who found joking around while waiting to play as much fun as the actual playing. So, he combined his talent to become a comedian. Since then, he’s appeared on “Just for Laughs” and various television and radio shows both in French and English. If you like to combine a little high culture with a lot of laughs, this show is for you.
A little gum boot stomping is on offer March 22nd, 2017. Black Umfolosi hail from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe. They formed in 1982 and since then have performed their high energy dance and song to audiences around the world. They combine intricate rhythms with a full range of movements from subtle to vibrant stomping and leaping. An amazing show to witness.
The season concludes on April 14th with Union Duke. This folk quintet with an explosive live show hails from Toronto. Bridging soulful indie rock with bluegrass and country, the group belts out soaring harmonies. A heartbreak of twang and a bootshake of rock and roll, Union Duke is two fifths city, two fifths country, and one fifth whiskey. Say no more.
Season tickets are $175 for all seven shows with discounts for students and seniors – a lower price than last year and worth every penny. To ensure a seat for the upcoming season, season and individual tickets can be purchased at Remax, Slave Lake Library, the Source and Magic Scissors as well as online at www. stagenorth.org.

Christopher Hall, performing with Comic Opera, on Feb. 18.

Black Umfolosi dancers from Zimbabwe – coming in March.

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