CHESTERMERE – Fans of the Great Canadian Barn Dance typically have to travel to Hillspring, Alberta to hear the infamous band play. However, the group will be making a special appearance in town next month for the second year in a row, and tickets are still available.
Last year, the GCBD had the crowd tapping their toes all through the show, and had everyone on their feet for the dance last April, and organizer Audrey McDonald said that she is expecting nothing less this year.
“Everyone really enjoyed the show last year,” she said. “The reason I decided to bring it back was because of all of the feedback I received.
“I had a huge stack of comment cards with everyone saying that they loved it and that they would like to see them come back.”
The Great Canadian Barn Dance has roots in Chestermere, dating all the way back to the ’70s. Main man Lloyd Kunkel and his family were once well known to the people of Chestermere and the area because of his band the Drylanders and also because of the Silito Jamboree.
The family band played in Chestermere on a few occasions, including a special event to fundraise for the new recreation centre when the old hall was being torn down. Trevor Kunkel said that they were the last to play on the stage in the old hall, and the first to play on the stage in the new hall, so they are always happy to come back and spend an evening in Chestermere.
“I was raised out there, we lived there for many years and my mom still lives there,” Kunkel said. “It’s like coming home. We get to see so many friends that we don’t get to see too often anymore.
“We also love the hall. We helped build the stage and we got to play on it once it was finished.”
Kunkel said, “It’s nice to get up there, we have so many folks from the Chestermere area that come down and visit us, so we like the chance to be able to bring the show to them.”
Last year, the band played a lively set for an hour before kicking it up a notch for the dance. Kunkel said that although it’s going to be the same style, they have a whole new show to put on.
“We’ve put together a brand new show with all new music,” he said. “My sons are getting better and better each year, so we’ve got a pretty cracker-jack of a show again this year.”
McDonald said, “They’re a popular group and they are very well known in the community because they have some connections here.
“They play wonderful music, it’s country music and it’s very entertaining. We’re excited to have them back because they’re a great group, and just for old time’s sake too.”
Tickets for the show are $48 each, and can be purchased by contacting either Audrey at 403-272-9280 or Jen Peddlesden at 403-272-3764, or by stopping by the rec centre office.
It will run in a similar fashion as last year, with the cash bar opening at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m. and the dance at 9 p.m. Tables for large groups are still available.
Proceeds from the show will benefit both the Chestermere Whitecappers and their programs, as well as the Chestermere Historical Foundation and the fire truck restoration project. The Chestermere Lions Club will be running the cash bar, so attending the event helps out numerous local organizations.
For more information about the band, visit gcbd.ca.