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Songs4Ken supports ALS Society

MACLEOD GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
John Wort Hannam is hosting the fifth annual Songs4Ken fund-raiser for the ALS Society of Alberta on Sept. 27 at the Southwood United Church in Calgary.

John Wort Hannam will celebrate the memory of an old friend Friday, Sept. 27 while supporting the ALS Society of Alberta.
Wort Hannam is hosting the fifth annual Songs4Ken event at 7:30 p.m. in Calgary at the Southwood United Church.
Wort Hannam cancelled a similar event set for the Empress Theatre on Thursday, Sept. 26 due to low advance ticket sales.
In the show at Calgary, five musicians will take turns performing with a house band supporting while artist Randall Wiebe paints a portrait on stage.
“I like to remember an old pal and celebrate our friendship but I also want to bring back the variety concept,” Juno Award nominee Wort Hannam explained. “Theatres like the Empress were made for that variety-vaudevillian style of show. You know how they say if you don’t like the weather, wait 20 minutes and it will change? It’s the same with Songs4Ken, the performer changes every 20 minutes.”
Wort Hannam started Songs4Ken as a tribute to childhood friend Ken Rouleau, who died at age 44 from ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease as it is commonly known.
Songs4Ken has raised more than $30,000 for the ALS Society of Alberta.
“Last year Songs4Ken really found its stride,” Wort Hannam said in an interview. “Having a live house band as a central theme that ran throughout the night, backing up each performer, made a world of difference for the listening experience.”
“Back in the day Elvis, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis all used to go out on the road together and use the same backing band. The audience was treated to a night of variety of performers, each with a big band sound. That’s what we are doing.”
That house band is composed of Jason Valleau on upright bass, Jon May on drums, Scott Duncan on fiddle and Steve Fletcher on keys.
The individuals who will perform are roots musicians T. Buckley, Emily Triggs, Mike Stack, Jesse Dollimont and Wort Hannam.
Wort Hannam said the musicians are always moved by Songs4Ken.
“All the artists and band members say one thing, ‘We should do this more,” Wort Hannam said. “They also see how fun the variety concept is with audiences and as a performer it’s a lot of fun to be part of a large ensemble of musicians.”
Audience members can buy raffle tickets for $25 apiece for the chance to have their portrait painted on stage by Randall Wiebe, an instructor in art, photography and drama and a freelance graphic designer and photographer.
Wort Hannam appreciates the support he receives from artists and the public for Songs4Ken.
“I’m always humbled by people who want to spend their hard earned cash to support the ALS Society of Alberta and the same holds true for the artists who agree to perform.”

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