The Empress Theatre has announced the line-up for its 2014-’15 Centre Stage Series.
The concert series has a new format and features Tim Williams, Chloe Albert, Steve Coffey, Foothills Brass and Little Miss Higgins and the Winnipeg Five.
“With the exception of the Christmas performance, all the shows are on Saturday nights,” Empress Theatre Society executive director Tim Ranson said. “The hope is that folks will make an evening out of it, maybe grabbing a pre- or post-show bite to eat at one of the local restaurants and not have to worry about having to go to work the next morning.”
The series gets under way Saturday, Sept. 27 with a performance by Tim Williams, who has more than 35 years of experience in the North American roots music industry.
Williams earlier this year was named top solo act at the prestigious International Blues Challenge in Memphis ahead of about 350 musicians.
“Tim Williams is simply amazing,” Ranson said. “I first saw him play the guitar in the mid ’80s, and he was very impressive then. Considering he’s been practicing ever since, I think we’re in for a real treat.”
The second concert in the series features Juno Award nominee Chloe Albert on Saturday, Oct. 25.
Albert, who will perform with her band, was Edmonton Music Awards Female Artist of the Year.
“The first time I heard Chloe sing — at a sound check a couple of years ago — I knew she was a talent to be reckoned with,” Ranson said. “I am delighted that we could find a date that worked for us both.”
Steve Coffey, who lives just up the road in Vulcan, will perform Saturday, Nov. 15 with his band The Lokels.
“Steve is a busy guy,” Ranson said. “He was in Paris when I finally tracked him down, and I am very pleased that the ensuing trans-atlantic negotiations resulted in his agreeing to appear here.”
The concert series continues Thursday, Dec. 18 with a performance by the Foothills Brass.
Fort Macleod music teacher Laura Glover is organizing a local choir to perform at the show.
“The Christmas show is on a Thursday because I didn’t want to compete with the myriad Christmas parties going on at that time of year,” Ranson said.
Ranson also organized a special student matinee performance by the Foothills Brass.
Western Canada’s newest opera company, come to the Empress stage on Saturday, Jan. 24.
“The Cowtown Opera Company first hit my radar screen about six months ago, and I continue to be charmed by their enthusiasm and abilities,” Ranson said. “Their classically trained voices are going to sound fantastic in our space, and I think the accessible repertoire will please both hardcore opera fans and newbies alike.”
It was a performance at the 2014 South Country Fair that secured a spot in the concert series for Juno Award nominee Little Miss Higgins and the Winnipeg Five.
“If I’d had any doubts, they evaporated halfway through their opening song,” Ranson said.
Little Miss Higgins and the Winnipeg Five specialize in old-time country blues “with a shot of swing, a twist of honky-tonk and three bags full of sass.”
Little Miss Higgins and the Winnipeg Five will close out the concert series on Saturday, March 7.
For ticket information call the Empress Theatre at 403-553-4404.