Have you ever longed for one of those good old-fashioned variety show, one that will “knock your socks off.” Well, stop your longing. That time is near.
On Father’s Day Weekend, Saturday, June 18, at 7 p.m., Evergreen Conference Hall, Filberg Centre, the public will get the opportunity to see a vast array of seniors’ talent in the Comox Valley. And it’s all for a good cause: to raise money for the Courtenay Soup Kitchen, which feeds a hearty lunch to 100-200 persons, Monday to Friday, at St George’s United Church, 6th and Fitzgerald Street, Courtenay.
The show, entitled “A Little Bit Country,” was originally performed for participants in the BC Senior Games that were held in the Comox Valley and Campbell River last September. The show drew rave reviews from the audience. Ken MacLeod, who co-organized the show, and George Bentham, one of the performers, thought it would be nice to put on the show for the public before some of the performers got too old to “strut their stuff.”
The show is headlined by guest Marc Wald, formerly of the Rhythm Pals, who performed on CBC television’s Tommy Hunter Show for 17 years. Wald used to play the accordion and sing baritone for the Pals, but plays the keyboard as good as ever in a duet with singer and trumpet player Dan Hughes, who come from Nanaimo and Duncan to play regularly at seniors’ dances at the Filberg Seniors’ Centre.
Wald, who turned 90 on June 7 and whose father was a first cousin to Lawrence Welk, performed with the Rhythm Pals on the Welk show three times and backed up and rubbed shoulders with many big name country stars such as Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Marty Robbins, Roy Rogers, Merle Haggard, and the Sons of the Pioneers during their career, which began on CKNW radio immediately following World War Two. Wald can really make the keyboard fly as he draws on his vast array of tunes he has gathered over the years.
Not to be outdone by the younger Wald, 91 year-old Lil Anderson, is also still flying high as she does her vaudeville act in her spiked high heels. Anderson brought the house down at the Senior Games’ concert.
Marc and Lil are supported by a vast collection of excellent country musicians. Fiddlers Glen Hiebert, Art McMartin, Bob Waugh, and Ed Medford, will get your toes tapping to tunes such as “Maple Sugar,” “Boil That Cabbage Down,” “Up Jumped the Devil,” and the “Orange Blossom Special.”
The fiddlers are backed up by Bob Casavant, formerly leader of the long-time Country Cousins band, and Don Ryan and his Crosstown Express. Bob Mainwaring of Crosstown Express is an excellent man on the steel guitar as well as the banjo, who will rouse you with “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” the theme song of “The Beverly Hillbillies.”
In addition to the aforementioned hoopla, word has just been received that the Penticton Pipe Band will open the event.
Several other performers complement the cast for an evening that promises to send you home talking about the experience. Cost of the event is only $10. Tickets are available at the Filberg Centre Office, 411 Anderton Avenue, Courtenay (250-338-9241). The event is sponsored by the Evergreen Seniors Club.