Tribute to Stompin’ Tom opens CATS

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The upcoming Cultural Arts Theatre Society (CATS) series features something for everyone — from country, to blues and even a symphony quartet.

The series begins with “A Tribute to Stompin’ Tom” featuring Tim Hus this Friday, Oct. 6 at 7:30 p.m. All shows this season will get going at this new and earlier start time.

“Tim Hus worked with Stompin’ Tom for years and they became quite close, and Stompin’ Tom said he wanted Tim to continue carrying his torch,” said series presenter Lorraine Robinson. “Tim Hus has all kinds of neat stories that go along with his show, telling stories about Tom and their adventures. I think it’ll be a really good way to start the season.”

The music and the storytelling aspect will make its appearance again throughout the series.

Up next is blues legend Jim Byrnes on Nov. 3. Byrnes has been travelling the blues highway for 40 years with his smoky vocals that are sure to seduce this crowd.

“It’s great that we can present him and I know he’ll put on a great show,” Robinson said.

In the new year, piano virtuoso Michael Kaeshammer — which may sound familiar to dedicated season ticketholders — will be making a return to Westlock after more than 20 years on Jan. 12.

“He was a young Albertan, so I think he was maybe 17 or 18 when he was last in our theatre,” Robinson said. “That was pretty neat to be able to follow his career and see him at the Winspear and all around the world, and now we’re able to bring him back to our theatre. I hope it would be exciting for them to see how the young kid did later on.”

Kaeshammer will be shaking it down with his boogie-woogie style of piano and lighting-fast fingers, which will hopefully get the crowd off their feet.

“His piano is incredible … you can hardly see his fingers move.”

The month after will feature principal clarinettist for the Orchestre Métropolitain in Montreal, Christopher Hall, on Feb. 2. The evening will also be CATS’ wine and cheese night.

Hall will be playing with the Strathcona Quartet, a symphony quartet out of Edmonton, though he won’t be taking his performance in Westlock too seriously.

“He also has a raw sense of humour so he decided to set this up that they’re playing very seriously and then he starts a comic routine. It’s a little bit of both —we get our classical in there but have a bit of fun with it as well.”

The musician has performed stand-up comedy in the Just For Laughs festival, the Winnipeg Comedy Fest and the Grande Rire in Quebec City.

Hailing from the Vancouver area, Krystle Dos Santos will groove to the stage with her Motown brand of music later that month on the 23rd. Blending soul music with her sultry tone, Dos Santos will also bring to light black history and storytelling.

The series wraps up March 23 with Toronto folk-act Union Duke — it’s big-city rock meets bluegrass country.

“They’re an up-and-coming group and we saw them at showcase and thought,

‘Yup, we have to have them at our venue,’” Robinson said. “Closing it off with a bit of a bang.”

Series tickets are still available at The Flower Shoppe. An adult package for four series, which doesn’t include the first and last show, is $110 and the six-series package is $150. Single seats are $30 for adults and $15 for students. So far over 200 series tickets have been sold for the 245-seat theatre.

The series also sponsors a local youth group who collect the proceeds from intermission and coat check. The Westlock Cadet Corps. will host Oct. 6, Jan. 11 and Feb. 23. Westlock Flock, the R.F. Staples improv club, will run the area Nov. 3 and Feb. 2, and DFJ 4-H Multi-Club will take over March 23.

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