“I want to say how important it is for the singers to have venues to play at and to have crowds that still want to come out and listen and support country music.” – Audrey Dore
A Country Christmas on Sunday afternoon brought together Prince Albert performers in support of the Rose Garden Hospice.
The annual event by the Prince Albert branch of the Saskatchewan Country Music Association (SCMA) donates $1,000 to a cause of its choice. This year, organizers Gayle and Les Breiter wanted to support the future hospice, which is set to be built on the corner of Marquis Road and Fourth Avenue West.
“I’ve lost two sisters and a mother to cancer and I’ve had to watch them pass away in a hospital,” said Gayle about why they chose the hospice.
She explained that they pay the entertainers to sing at their events; however, this year the performers decided they wanted to donate their money as well.
Gayle said she was excited to see the crowd of about 100 people packed into the Union Centre: “It’s exciting. Last year it turned out really good too, but I think we’ve got a better turnout this year.”
The concert consisted of old and new members singing 20 Christmas carols with a six-person band.
Audrey Dore just joined the group this past September. Although she’s been singing country music for her whole life, she took about 10 years off to raise her family.
“I’m excited to be back into what I love, my passion,” she said.
“(I) came from a musical family and every weekend was filled with some kind of music at somebody’s house. The love of country music comes naturally.”
Dore emphasized the importance of giving during the Christmas season, but also for the artists having opportunities to perform.
“I want to say how important it is for the singers to have venues to play at and to have crowds that still want to come out and listen and support country music, she said. “I want to thank them because without them we wouldn’t be able to do this.”
She recently started a band called Last Call with other members of the SCMA.
Elmer Lammedee, on the other hand, was one of the first members to join the Prince Albert SCMA over 20 years ago.
A Country Christmas was a memorable event for him because it was the first time he put his new CD up for sale. He said the album is a tribute to Stompin’ Tom Connors, a Canadian country and folk singer-songwriter who passed away in 2013.
“I do a lot of Stompin’ Tom, and that’s my hero,” said Lammedee.
“I like doing the Christmas stuff. I’m really fortunate that I’m here yet because I had open heart surgery in April, so…I’m very grateful that I’m here to sing some songs for everybody.”
Other artists who performed at the event included Larry Krause, Lauraine Toth, Anita Larocque, John Quinn, Rick Galloway, Forrest Pocha, Therese Gerow and Nicole Barbondy.
Members meet once a month and are eligible for financial assistance through the Barry Scaife Memorial Scholarship and the Nadine Derkatz-Tessier Bursary Fund. For more information on membership, visit the SCMA website.