A Fort Macleod singer-songwriter will be part of a showcase of Alberta culture in Prince Edward Island.
John Wort Hannam will perform two sets this week in Charlottetown as part of 150th anniversary celebrations of the 1864 Charlottetown Conference that led the way to the creation of Canada.
“I’m thrilled anytime I get asked to play my songs but I am especially honoured to be one of a few Alberta artists asked to play this 150th birthday party,” Wort Hannam said. “It’s possible I may not be around the next time they celebrate another 150 years.”
The PEI 2014 Celebration Zone will showcase Alberta from July 14-20.
The Celebration Zone is a free 70-day festival from July 1 to Sept. 7 at Confederation Landing on the historic Charlottetown waterfront.
“There is a lot of great talent in this province, a wealth of great songwriters, and the organizers could have easily filled the slot with any number of Albertans,” Wort Hannam said of the honour of being asked to perform.
Country singer Paul Brandt, Celtic folk singer Maria Dunn, hoop dancer Dallas Arcand and author Marty Chan are among the other Albertans in the lineup.
“I’m excited to be allowed to run with some of the big dogs from the Calgary and Edmonton arts and culture scene,” Wort Hannam said.
Alberta Culture Minister Heather Klimchuk welcomed the chance to showcase the province’s diverse culture.
“Culture is what helps define us as a province and makes us such an attractive place to live, work and visit,” Klimchuk said in a news release.
Alberta’s Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology will feature full skeletons of a dromaeosaurus and pachyrhinosaurus, as well as Tyrannosaurus Rex and Albertosaurus skulls.
There will be performances by country singer Bobby Wills, Atomic Improv, the aboriginal women’s acappella group Asani, magician Sheldon Casavant, blues musician Kat Danser, Cowtown Opera Company and gypsy-jazz group Hot Club Edmonton.
“I think the event gives the whole country, not just Alberta, a sense of pride,” Wort Hannam said.
A former teacher, Wort Hannam pointed out the goal of the Charlottetown Conference was to create a maritime union.
It was only when Ontario and Quebec asked to be part of the talks did the concept of confederation materialize.
“Nationhood is something to be proud of,” Wort Hannam said.
Wort Hannam will play a mix of old and new songs during his sets on Saturday, July 19 and Sunday, July 20.
The singer-songwriter hasn’t yet firmed up his play list, but knows one song that will make the cut.
“I’ll for sure play ‘Pier 21′ which although is not necessarily about confederation touches on immigration which obviously was and continues to be a big part of Canada’s narrative,” Wort Hannam said.
In addition to the honour of being part of an event marking an important national milestone, Wort Hannam appreciates the chance to put his music in front of a new audience.
“I’m still very much feel like an emerging artist,” Wort Hannam said. “Because the kind of music I play and write will never be on AM radio or Much Music the only way to get my music to the people is to physically be in front of the people. Playing this celebration allows me to continue to raise my profile in Canada. It all helps.”
The performances at Charlottetown will be solo efforts.
“I’m gonna stand at the microphone all by myself and strum and pick my guitar, sing my little songs and attempt to represent small town Alberta and Fort Macleod as best I can, all on my own, which will make me excited and terrified all at the same time.”