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The L.A. Beat

New West Theatre at home in the Yates Theatre exploring “Decades”

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It’s good to be home after what seems like “Decades” thanks to Covid. So New West Theatre is celebrating being back at home in the Yates Theatre with a new variety show exploring the  the past eight  “Decades” of music and fashion from the 

New West Theatre’s Erica Hunt, Scott Carpenter and Madisan Cowan  rehearse It’s Got to be Rock and Roll if you want to Dance With me” for Decades. Photo By Richard Amery

1950s to today featuring lots of comedy, impersonations and music from Smokey to Sia from the 1950s to  the 2000s


 Due to Covid, New West has had to improvise to put on their big summer variety shows. They did a drive In show two years ago at Exhibition Park and were part of one of the outdoor festivals last summer.


 This time they are back in the Yates Theatre for “Decades,” which runs Aug. 10-27.


“It’ll be a big old party,” summarized director and musical director Kathy Zaborsky, who had a lot of fun choosing the music for the show.

 As usual, they had a three week turnaround to develop , rehearse and prepare the show  


“It’s a celebration of all of the events, music and costumes from the decades 1950 to the 2020s,” Zaborsky continued, adding she is excited to direct her first big New West Theatre show, though she has directed performances for local groups like Theatré Outré.


“ I looked at lists on the Internet of the best songs from each decade and made a list of 500 and whittled it down to the songs I thought would best suit each performer,” she said, noting most of the show is all new material. 


“Most of the show is all new. We’ve probably done the Bee Gees before, but it’s definitely reimagined,” said Erica Hunt, long time New West member.


“ The show is all ages. It is family friendly, for people aged 0 to 110,” said Zaborsky.


There will be a lot of comedy and a lot of impressions performed by New West veterans Erica Hunt, Scott Carpenter and Kyle Gruninger as well as some familiar faces from a few shows back including Alinafe Lupiway and Ashley Thomson, relative new regulars like Katie Fellger and brand new talent Madisan Cowan.


They are backed by a crack band including two thirds of local funk band Adequate– Scott Mezei playing guitar and drummer Keenan Pezderic plus bassist Greg Paskuski and Kathy Zaborsky playing keyboards.


“ Madisan grew up in New West Theatre because her mother Vanessa did choreography for us for some of our early shows. So I remember her dancing along in the wings. She’s a huge talent,” reminisced Erica Hunt, who is excited to be back on the Yates Theatre stage.


“ I’m really excited about it,” she said, adding she is just as excited about the music and comedy as she is about the costumes.


More music festivals and a heap of comedy highlight this week

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A couple of big festivals will be the highlights of Saturday. Enjoy some laid back music in Galt Gardens with Chillin in the Park, Saturday, Aug, 13  featuring performances by the Bridge Band Quintet, Little Lethbridge Opera Company, Musical Theatre Collective and more happening from noon to 5 p.m.


The Cody Hall band play Honkers and the For the Record Music Festival this weekend. Photo by RichardAmery

 Right after that, get your country on with  CKXU. The University of Lethbridge based community radio station brings  the For the Record Festival to the Grove outside the Student’s Union building,  Saturday, Aug 3 at 6 p.m. 


The show features Edmonton”s  D’orjay the Singing Shaman, Crossfield born, Calgary based musician Robert Adam and fellow Calgarians Amy Nelson and Mariya Stokes. Lehtbridge country performers the Cody Hall Band and Shaela Miller round out the line up. The Cody Hall band also host Honkers Pub’s open mic on Friday, aug. 12.

 Admission is free. The music begins at 6 p.m.


 There are a lot of other shows happening during the week. Luke James Bruce hosts the open mic at Mojos pub, tonight, Aug. 8.

Gabe Thaine hosts a blues jam at the Slice, Aug. 9, while down the street, the Owl Acoustic Lounge’s open mic happens as usual. Scott Davidson hosts the Slice’s open mic on Wednesday, Aug. 10

 Michael Bernard Fitzgerald is bringing Farm Tour 2 to Southern Alberta on  Aug. 10 as well. Tickets are available through or by phone (403) 850-0805.


Dave McCann plays  Rotary square outside Casa on Thursday for Upside Downtown.

Lethbridge welcomes home Jesse Northey, who plays a show at the Owl Acoustic lounge, Aug. 12 with Toronto  musician Chloë Doucet and Starpainter. The tornot based Northey is supporting his new keyboard powered album Onion Knight.

 Admission is by donation.


Jesse Northey excited to return to Lethbridge with “Onion Knights”

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Jesse Northey makes a long awaited return to Lethbridge in support of his new album “Onion Knight” with a show at the Owl Acoustic Lounge, Aug. 12, with Chloë Doucet and Starpainter.


Jesse Northey returns to Lethbridge, Aug. 12. phot by Heather Saitz

“ It’s been at least three or four years since I’ve played Lethbridge,” said Northey, who cut his musical teeth playing Lethbridge venues.


 He has been living in Toronto for the past three years where he works as a n artist manage and runs his own record company Victory Pool.


 He moved to Toronto just before the pandemic .


“It still feels pretty new to me because I was there for a year and then everything shut down,” Northey said.


 In between other responsibilities, he found time to explore his love of  ’70s soft rock and keyboards for his first full length solo album.


 He released three albums with Jesse and the Dandelions in Lethbridge and Edmonton.


 The new album, which will be officially released Aug. 10 allows him to stretch his musical leanings on keyboards.


“ I was starting to get bored with guitar and moved away from it for a bit, it’s not that far removed from what I do,” he said,  adding he used  some Hammond and B3 organ sounds 


“ I love the feel of the ’70s. I’ve been listening to a lot of Harry Nilsson, though there is some Elliott Smith in it,” he said.


CKXUs For the Record festival focuses on country music with a modern twist

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It’s not your grandfather’s country— well it sort of is, but with a modern twist.

Dai Hewison is excited to organize For the Record Festival, Aug. 13 in the Grove. Photo by Richard Amery


CKXU is celebrating some of Alberta’s independent country musicians with the For the Record Festival, Aug. 13 in the grove new to the University of Lethbridge Student’s Union building.


Shaela Miller, the Cody Hall Band, Mariya Stokes, Amy Nelson, Robert Adam and D’Orjay the Singing Shaman will be on stage at 6 p.m., Aug. 13.


 The free all ages festival is an expansion of the three smaller festivals Dai Hewison, host of CKXU’s For the Record Friday morning  radio show, organized last summer.

“It’s a way to get people to come out for a live music experience,” Hewison said.


Hewison is organizing the festival while CKXU staff are helping out with the logistics of the event.



“I remember going to Love and Records and wanted to do something like it. CKXU has never done a festival focusing on country music. But it’s not your usual country music. These performers are still independent artists who have large following and are still working their way up,” Hewison continued.


L.A. Radio

CKXU University of Lethbridge RadioUniversity of Lethbridge campus radio. Click here for heaps of great programing appealing to all demographics and musical tastes, spoken word and news.

Also the home of  the Hotrock Blues Beat Saturday nights @ 8-10 p.m. and Disco Sucks: Punkin’ old school Wednesdays @ 10 p.m. to midnight.  with L.A. Beat editor Richard Amery.

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

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