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Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens set to celebrate the seasons with eighth annual Winter Lights Festival

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The Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens are looking forward to bringing the whole community together for the holiday season with the eighth annual Winter Lights Festival, which officially opens to the public, Nov. 30.

 This year’s theme is a celebration of the seasons —  Haru (Spring), Natsu (Summer), Aki (Fall) and Fuyu (winter). The display includes three light tunnels, light panels and Japanese lanterns and parasols done up in at least 170,000 lights.


Michelle Day Miles talks about the Winter Lights Festival. Photo by Richard Amery

“I’ve been hanging lights too. I lost count around summer,” said Nikka Yuko  Japanese Gardens executive director  Michelle Day Miles.

“ We’re about 90 per cent finished putting it together,” she continued, adding Nikka Yuko have been working on the display since October.


 There will be no ice sculptures this year.


“The company we work with changed their business plan to focus on smaller sculptures,”  said Miles, who has been involved with the festival since it started in 2016.

She said there will still be a lot to see and do at the Winter Lights Festival.


“What I enjoy most about the Winter Lights festival is watching  people experience it. It is about bringing the whole community together,” Miles said, crediting generous sponsors for  helping the Festival become a success.


Exhibition Park aGlow with holiday spirit with transcontinental light display

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It seems fitting that it would start snowing for the opening  preview of Glow Lethbridge in the Agri Hub Building at  Exhibition  Park, last night, Nov. 22.


It took dedicated workers 10 days to put together an intricate arrangements of lights, taking audiences  on a tour of Christmas in the People‘s Republic of China, The United Kingdom, France, Mexico, India and the Netherlands.

“ There are approximately 1 million lights,” said Lethbridge and District Exhibition CEO Mike Warkentin, adding it took 10 days to set up the display. Glow has toured  in Halifax, Calgary, Edmonton, Langley, Saskatoon and Hartford, Connecticut.


Mike Warkentin looks at Glow Lethbridge. Photo by Richard Amery

 Warkentin said this  Glow is a unique experience apart from the other cities .


“It really is spectacular and really shows the holiday spirit,” he said.


“ You really get a feel for how people celebrate the holidays in these countries,” he continued.

As you enter the DA Hall  and KB Hall  there is a big stage which will feature local musicians including choirs playing Christmas favourites every night from Nov. 23 to Dec. 31. Next to that is a slide  for kids to play on.


“It won’t be Taylor Swift or Trooper, but everyone will be here for a good time. It’s all local, budding artists who might not get a chance to play a big stage like this one,” said Lethbridge Exhibition Park CEO Mike Warkentin.

Glow Lethbridge runs from Nov. 23-Dec. 31. Photo by Richard Amery


The schedule is still being tweaked due to illness and unavailability, but as of Nov. 23,  the performers are Nov. 23  Lady Grime ; Nov. 24 – Isaac Neufeld ; Nov. 25 James Moore  ; Nov. 26 TBD ; Nov. 30 Maria Pickering ; Dec. 1  James Moore ; Dec. 2  The Southern Accord Chorus ; Dec. 3  Eve Lacey ; Dec. 7  Maria Pickering ; Dec. 8 – Charlie Navratil ; Dec. 9 – James Moore ; Dec. 10 – Maria Pickering ; Dec. 14  St. Pat’s School Choir ; Dec. 15 James Moore ; Dec. 16  Rachel Graf ; Dec. 17 Maria Pickering ; Dec. 21 Charlie Navratil ; Dec. 22  James Moore ; Dec. 23James Moore ; Dec. 24 Eve Lacey ; Dec. 28 TBD ; Dec. 29 Maria Pickering ; Dec. 30  MAK ; Dec. 31  MAK  .

 The updated schedule is at

 The stage is set next to a giant red heart surrounded by glittering lights spelling “Love.”


Plenty of blues and jazz and Kids Choirs leading into December

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There are a lot early week shows happening this week and November turns into December.

 Gabe Thaine was to  host a blues jam at the Slice beginning at 8 p.m. tonight, Nov. 28 , but unfortunately it has been cancelled. Keith Catfish Woodrow will host  the next blues jam on  Dec. 12 at the Slice .


Steve Keenan will be playing a show with Paul Kype art Hinkers Pub on Saturday, Dec. 2. Photo by Richard Amery

 The Owl Acoustic Lounge has their weekly open mic tonight as well.


 Casino Lethbridge features the Cody hall band on Friday and Saturday.


James Oldenburg and Paul Holden return to the Watertower Grill, Wednesday,  Nov. 29.

 They also play  a Christmas themed performances at Streatside Eateries last jazz Saturday of the year on Dec. 2 from 5:30 p.m.- 7:30 p.m. 


 The Lethbridge Symphony Orchestra continues their collaborations with local kids choirs on Wednesday,  Nov. 29 with Nicholas Sheran Junior and Senior Choirs, Dr. Probe Senior Choir and St. Patrick’s Fine Arts Division 1 Choir performing on Wednesday.


Coalbanks  Junior and Senior Choirs , plus Dr. Hamman Elementary School Choir and St. Mary’s School choir perform with the Symphony on Thursday, Nov. 30. Performances are at 7 p.m. each night.. Tickets are $10.


Jared Wolf Child and Cole Howg return to the Good Times Stage to  host pro-Amateur night on Wednesday, Nov. 29. Admission is five dollars.

Ed Hill returns to Good Times to make you laugh, Friday and Saturday, Dec. 1 and 2.

 The Slice has an open mic on Nov. 29.


Shred Kelly to share new music from ‘Blurry Vision’ for Lethbridge show

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Shred Kelly  has a clear view of the future on their new, introspective sixth album “Blurry Vision”  which they will bring to Lethbridge at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Dec. 15.

“ I think the last time we were there was summer of 2021, so it’s been a few years. We‘re excited to come back,” said Shred Kelly keyboardist/ vocalist Sage McBride, who along with her partner Tim Newton / vocals, banjo/ guitar; guitarist Ty West and drummer Ryan Mildenberger, make up Shred Kelly.

Shred Kelly return to Lethbridge, Dec. 15. Photo by Richard Amery

 McBride is looking forward to sharing the new music though it is little more darker and introspective than their previous works.

They released their latest album on Oct 20.


“ It was our sixth album so we’re getting up there in albums,” she chuckled.

“It’s good. It feels good. The process of writing is always fun. Our writing style has definitely evolved and changed since we’ve began. But it’s always fun, like the production of it all and writing the songs and working on it and then it feels nice to put it out there . But then you want to start working on the next thing right away too. So it doesn’t ever end,” McBride continued

 The album is a lot more low key than their previous albums.


“ There‘s still a few high energy songs in there, but we definitely wrote it during the years 2020 and 2021. So times were feeling a little bit heavier in our personal lives and also just in the world. So I guess we weren’t feeling as sort of anthemic as we have in the past in our writing and we’re sort of evaluating the world a little more in our personal lives and dealing with some anxiety and stress related to what was happening in the world around us. But the album still reaches for hope throughout. There is still the hopefulness that I think that we’re known for and there are some songs that are pretty joyous. So we tried not to make it too depressing, even though that’s how we were feeling,” McBride said.


McBride and Newton recently had a baby which also contributed to the music.

“ Yeah, for sure, and I think that played into our emotions a lot too, just feeling really isolated and then also sort of everything in the world shifted as we became new parents. So we were kind of cut off from family and friends so we had to kind of lean on each other a lot more so there’s songs like ‘Cracks In the Finish’ kind of like being able to love each other even though how you’re  kind of realizing you’re not entirely perfect or it’s hard to be something for the one person being everything that you need is kind of a challenge. And then the song ‘ The Days We have Left’ is feeling like not being your best self and asking your partner to love you despite your flaws and love you  in those periods where you don’t feel your best. So there’s definitely some heavier themes,” she said.

“And the opening song ‘Stained Glass’ is about a storm coming in. And when we wrote that one, it was sort of like the storm that was coming towards the world and kinds of sets the tone for whole album. But the album ends with ‘Nothing for Awhile’ which is sort of like our signature high energy song that it’s definitely a bit of a darker theme than maybe what we’ve sung about in the past,” she said, 

Shred Kelly has three videos out for the new album for “ Cracks In the Finish,”  and “Nothing for a While” and “Another Place.”


“We filmed all of the videos so far from the record with our neighbour Dylan Siggers. So he was also the guy who filmed the ‘Sing to the Night’ video in one shot and then he moved in next  to Tim and I so now we collaborate on lots of things. On our last record he did a lot of the videos for that one too. Because he’s right next door, we just send a text saying ‘come on over we’re brainstorming some  ideas,’” she said.

“With ‘Cracks In the Finish,’ we just tried to keep it fairly simple and feature Fernie as a background in it. Then ‘Nothing For a While,’ the song is sort of about the frustrations with being constantly overstimulated by bad news or having your phone on you all the time so you have access to information but it’s not always the information that you want to be flooded with so it’s sort of that frustration with the modern world. So Tim gets to act really frustrated in that video, which I think he does a really good job at. He’s a great actor,” McBride laughed.


“And then ‘Another Place’ we had different backgrounds and everybody  wore different coloured shirts and we were able to film that one in our rehearsal space which was kind of  nice because a lot of our videos are weather dependent and we can’t shoot at certain times of day because of lighting. So it was nice to just be able to do it in a controlled environment in our rehearsal space and have some fun with it. So yeah, they’re really super fun videos. And we have another one in the works for the song ‘Lost Without You.” which will probably come out  before the end of the year, but not exactly sure,” she said, adding she is not sure how many they will shoot for the album.


“ We love making music videos. We’ll just make as many as we can. With the last album we just kept as long as we could come up with a budget or come up with  a DIY way of making things. We’ll do as many as possible, but  sometimes the budget runs out so I guess until then,” she said.

McBride said response to the new music has been very positive. They played some of the new songs on a recent tour of Germany.


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