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CKXU embraces space for FUNDrive 2018

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 University of Lethbridge based community radio station CKXU 88.3 is shooting for the stars for this year‘s “Cosmic Frequencies” themed FUNDrive.Adrianna Smith models some of the Cosmic Frequencies swag for the 2018 FUNdrive. Photo by Richard Amery
There will be a variety of original local programming from 7 a.m. to midnight every day of FUNDrive, March 16-23 and special events happening in the community and on campus to help reach this year’s $30,000 goal.

“We set that goal every year, but we never reach it, but we’re reaching for the stars this year,” enthused CKXU program director Adrianna Smith.
This year’s FUNdrive funds will be used to develop a new state of the art website.

“A new website costs tens of thousands of dollars. It will offer limitless programming and podcasting and more which will allow listeners to access CKXU programming at the times that work best for them,” said Smith, who can be seen wandering around town dressed as an astronaut with other dedicated volunteers to help spread the word about FUNDrive.
“If you see astronauts wandering around campus and downtown, come up and say hi. We’re not scary. We’ve been getting a lot of strange looks and people asking to take pictures with us. If you say hi and take a flyer from us, you can take all the pictures you want,” she continued.

DJs will be asking their listeners for pledges in exchange for some cosmic swag including T-Shirts, crew cut sweaters, knit pins and patches, special habanero ghost pepper Hot Sauce a special compilation CD of local and touring acts who have recorded special sessions in the CKXU lobby. And of course the CKXU Friends Card which gives the owner discounts at a cornucopia of local businesses.

 Individual DJs have planned their own giveaways including specialized music compilations, baked goods, handicrafts, concert tickets and more. Every pledge over $25 gets you entered in a draw for  “Taste of CKXU” package including gift cards from friends and all the CKXU mix tapes. First time donors are entered in a draw for a swag pack from previous FUNdrives and early birds who donate before March 16 through are entered in a draw for some very cool prizes including two passes to South Country Fair, a weekend pass for the Blueberry Bluegrass Fest in Stony Plain, a ticket to summer solstice in Edmonton and more.

The fruits of the last three FUNDrives were dedicated to a new transmitter and long awaited signal upgrade, which will take effect in a few months, allowing everybody in the city as well as out to Taber and close to Claresholm to hear CKXU’s unique brand of programming and music you won’t hear on mainstream radio stations.

Station manager Aaron Trozzo noted the proceeds from most of the last four FUNdrives went towards the signal upgrade including all of 2014,15 and 16 and some of last year’s event.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 14 March 2018 10:56 ) Read more...

Think Scottish for St. Patrick’s Day this year

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Though St. Patrick’s Day celebrations  are afoot this week, this week has a real Scottish flair to it, with return visits to  Lethbridge From Scottish celtic punk and the Real McKenzies and Scottish born soul man Johnny Reid among this week’s highlights.Juanita Devos Michelle Couper a from the Windy City Medieval Faire are excited about their St. Patrick’s Day Interactive Murder mystery “Kill me I’m’ Irish” at the Galt Museum at 6 p.m. March 17. Photo by Richard Amery
But first get ready to bring your best swing dance moves to the Slice, March 14 as this month’s edition of the Windy City Opry features Calgary rockabilly band Peter and the Wolves and Shaela Miller Band.

 The Real McKenzies play their annual Lethbridge pre-St. Patrick’s Day party, March 15 at Bullys Entertainment Centre.
 They will be joined by Edmonton ska/ punk band The Raygun Cowboys. Tickets are $25. Doors open at 6 p.m. The show will be done by midnight.

CKXU’s annual Fundrive kicks off with several big events this weekend.
 The official “launch” for this year’s cosmic frequencies themed Pledge drive begins at 6 p.m at SAAG. There will be special Theoretical Brewing CKXU  Extra Terresti-ale and live music a with Galactic Space Punk and Boogie Houser.

 After that there is an after party at the old Firehall featuring Calgary post punk band Melted Mirror, Paris/ Edmonton psych pop duo Le Plaisir and local duo Birch Barks.
 If you want to hear some country, Calgary western swing/ country and jazz group the Red Hot Hayseeds return to the Owl acoustic Lounge, Friday, March 16 as well.
Calgary rock band Mr. Tuesday return to the Slice on Friday, March 16.

A rock band called Maple Sugar play Casino Lethbridge this weekend.
 Honker’s Pub celebrate 21 years with a big birthday bash, on Saturday at 3 p.m. There will be 11 different sets of music from Paul Kype, Steve Keenan. Coda, Good Time Charlie. There will be soloists and duos as well. There will be food specials and drink specials as well. There is no cover to enjoy the music.

St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday this year, so there is even more entertainment than usual.
Start things off with murder. The Windy City Medieval Faire is planning an interactive murder mystery at The Galt Museum beginning at 6 p.m.
“Everyone plays a character,” said organizer Juanita DeVos, noting you will be issued your character with your $20 ticket available at Java The Hut or $25 at the door. If you just want to watch rather than really be involved, you can ask for a smaller role.
 Malfeasance is afoot at the “Shakin’ Shamrock Pub” and it is up to you to figure out whodunnit. There will be socialization at the beginning of the night where you share  who your character is. There will be Irish food and Guinness, party games and lots more.
 The event is a fundraiser for The windy City Medieval Faire who have to pay off  the debt from last year’s event in preparation for this year’s Faire.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 March 2018 10:31 ) Read more...

Spitzee Post band play a lot more than bluegrass

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High River newgrass band The Spitzee post band are excited to  make their Lethbridge debut for St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 at the Lethbridge College Cave for the Lethbridge Folk Club.The Spitzee Post band play the Lethbridge Folk Club this weekend. Photo submitted
 They formed amidst the floods in high river in 2013 and have released two  Cds including their most recent “Hardly Strictly Bluesgrass,” which they released four months ago.

“People seem to like that we don’t just play bluegrass,” said vocalist/mandolinist Joe Gore.

“It‘s getting played everywhere, on CKUA and across the country,“ continued Gore,  who is joined by his wife Coralee on upright bass, classically trained violinist Craig West and slide/steel guitar payer Wayne Corner plus Turner Valley resident Rhonda Shippy on banjo.

“We all sing harmonies,” he said, praising his bandmates especially Corner, who often plays with Calgary bluesman Tim Williams.

“We’re inspired by bands like the Steel Drivers, but we‘ll even turn  Blind Faith songs into  bluegrass songs,” he said, adding their sets included everything from traditional bluegrass to country and rock turned into bluegrass songs.
“Alison Krauss is about as far away from Bill Monroe as you can get, but we like both of them. The complement each other,” he said.

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 13 March 2018 09:59 ) Read more...

Real McKenzies return for pre St. Patricks Day show

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Vancouver based Celtic punk rockers The Real McKenzies always guarantee a good time at their annual pre-St. Patrick’s Day party in Lethbridge, which is Thursday, March 15 at Bully’s Entertainment Centre with special guests, Edmonton ska punk band the Raygun Cowboys.The Real McKenzies Paul McKenzie welcomes everyone to put their politics aside and come party, March 15. photo by Richard Amery
The Real McKenzies have pretty much been touring non-stop since last year’s Lethbridge visit in support of their 25th anniversary album “Two Devils Will Talk.”

“We’ve been touring for about eight months all over the world. My wife almost  left me,” deadpanned frontman Paul McKenzie from a tour stop in Quebec City.

“We love touring in Quebec,” McKenzie said, adding the constantly rotating Real McKenzies lineup will be pretty much the same as the last time including guitarists Jono Jak, and Dan Garrison, drummer Dan Stenning, bassist Troy Zak and Spanish piper Aspy Luison.

“ The tour is going great. It’s nice to see people really getting into the show,” he said.

A highlight of the year was returning to Japan.

“Did you know in Japan you can get a five gallon drum of Saki. So while the other guys wasted their per diems on expensive meals, I bought that and some ingredients and went to a restaurant and ordered a bowl of rice then stole the soy sauce. Then I went back and made myself a delicious stew for under $10,” McKenzie observed.

 They weren’t able to return to Scotland, where he likes to revisit his Scottish roots, on this tour.

“We always meet a lot of really cool people in Scotland, but it’s very expensive to get there. And it’s becoming more gentrified. They‘re tearing down all of these really cool old places and replacing them with concrete and glass. So is almost everywhere now. So it is really difficult to make any money there. Not that it‘s about the money, but even a beer costs what amounts to $10,” he observed, adding that is the reason they only get there every couple of years or so.

“That’s what I love about Quebec City is they have really, really strict laws about that. And, of course, Quebec women are tres bon,” he chuckled, adding after the tour they are going to return to Europe.

After this Canadian tour, they return to Europe for several eastern European dates all over Italy, Greece, Macedonia,  Serbia and Croatia, then get to work on their next album for Fat Wreck Chords

Last Updated ( Thursday, 15 March 2018 14:21 ) Read more...

Lethbridge and District Music and Speech Arts Festival continues under new banner

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The more things change the more they stay the same.Natalie Tompkins and Sandy Brunelle are excited for the Lethbridge and District Music and speech arts Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
 The Lethbridge Music  and Speech Arts Festival picks up the torch where the Kiwanis Music Speech and Arts Festival leaves off. Their number one goal was to make the transition  as easy as possible, helped a lot along the way by the Kiwanis Club.

“It has been a challenge. We have a very active, dedicated nine member board. The Kiwanis Club left us their list of volunteers. They don’t all volunteer every year, but we have their names,” observed Lethbridge Festival society president Sandy Brunelle.

 The new board has planned on providing three weeks of entertainment all over the city, very similar to years past, though they have had to adapt to losing the Yates and Sterndale Theatres due to renovations.

“It’s been a lot of work,” said general manager Natasha Tompkins, who shadowed the organizers last year to soak up as much as she could in preparation for the transition.

“It’s been a learning experience,” Tompkins said.Dave Shefsiek  accompanies Kaden Pratt during rehearsals for the Lethbridge and District Music and speech arts Festival. Photo by Richard Amery
 The hard work has worked.
“The lady in charge is really organized,” observed Gilbert Patterson band teacher Karli Lewis, who has 255 students involved in this year’s festival in several categories including Grade 6, Grade 7 and Grade 8 band, percussion, stage band and concert band.

“They’ve had to deal with a lot of stuff because of the renovations to the Yates,” Lewis continued, noting she has had students participating in the festival for the past 16 years.
 She always enjoys the opportunity to be adjudicated by  experts in the field.
“The kids are excited to meet the challenge,” Lewis said, adding she is working with many of the same kids as they move up from Grade 6 through Grade 8 bands. Some of the stage band competitors, who audition for a spot in the band, are new.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 07 March 2018 10:38 ) Read more...
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