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Songs For Ken supports ALS Society

Ken Rouleau

Ken Rouleau and John Wort Hannam were life-long friends.


Wort Hannam is organizing Songs For Ken to raise money for the ALS Society of Alberta in honour of his friend, who died of the disease.

John Wort Hannam is once again honouring the memory of a long-time friend while raising money for the ALS Society of Alberta.
Wort Hannam, a Juno Award nominee, is hosting Songs For Ken concerts this month in Fort Macleod and Calgary.
“Originally I thought it would be a one-time thing,” Wort Hannam said of Songs For Ken, now in its fourth year. “But people would say to me, ‘You’ve got to do it again next year,’ and I don’t have the courage to end it. If I feel it went well the previous year, I’ll continue to do it.”
Songs For Ken is named for Ken Rouleau, who died from ALS — or Lou Gehrig’s disease as it is commonly known.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a rapid, always fatal, neurodegenerative disease.
ALS attacks the nerves of the body that would normally send messages from the brain to the muscle, resulting in weakness and wasting.
Eventually, the individual with ALS is immobilized, with loss of speech and an inability to swallow and breathe.
Since its inception the event — which combines music with visual art — has raised more than $30,000 for the ALS Society of Alberta.
“I can see it continuing in some form for years to come,” Wort Hannam said.
Songs For Ken at the Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod is 7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12.
The second Songs For Ken concert is 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 13 at Southwood United Church in Calgary.
Performers in 2018 include Maria Dunn, The PolyJesters, Brooke Wylie, Mike Stack and John Rutherford.
Wort Hannam will also perform.
New this year is a house band to back up each of the performers, consisting of Jason Valleau on upgright bass, John May on drums, Stephen Fletcher on keyboard and Scott Duncan on fiddle.
“I think it will be more entertaining for the audience,” Wort Hannam said.
The visual arts component will be handled by High River artist Annie Froese.
Froese will create a watercolour painting during the concert to be auctioned at the end.
A projector will be used to magnify Froese’s work on a big screen.
“The audience will be able to watch her process,” Wort Hannam said.

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