Stettler’s own Loose Change is gearing up for a performance June 30th at West Stettler Park as part of this summer’s Entertainment in the Park series.
Showtime is 7 p.m.
“Loose Change has actually been around the Stettler area for decades,” explains Jeff Lee, guitarist and vocalist for the group. “Some of the original members were (the late) Dave Carstairs and Wayne Carstairs – brothers from Erskine. I was added to the band over 10 years ago. We also have our drummer who joined five years ago – James Muhlbach and we also now have Jeff Simon on bass,” he said.
Musically, there really isn’t a limit to what they will tackle. “We play anything and everything,” said Lee. “If it’s music that we like, or that we think people will like listening to, we will play it. We play country music from Hank Williams to Johnny Cash to Dwight Yoakam to rock music by the Rolling Stones and the Beatles. We are also working on some songs that are also a little more current, too – we’ve even done disco! I think we have one ABBA song in our repertoire,” he added with a laugh.
“Basically, we are really about having fun – we are a cover band and we take pride in that. If people have requests, we try to (accommodate) them by the end of the night,” he explained, adding the guys have also been featured at a number of local special events over the years. “Our regular run has been Alberta Prairie Steam Train up until things were shut down,” he added.
For Lee, who has been a teacher for 30 years, music has always been front and centre in his life.
“I’ve always been a fan of music. I picked up a guitar when I was just out of high school, and before the guitar I was singing in the shower,” he laughs. Over the years, his musical skills certainly started to surface more as he took part in musical theatre productions locally as well.
And then along came the opportunity with Loose Change.
Currently, he is the principal of Erskine School and he’s also instructing music, too.
“It’s been lots of fun teaching kids how to play but mostly how to enjoy music – how to both create it and enjoy it.”
Reflecting on his own shifting musical tastes, back in the day it was all about the 80s, he said. Then, into the 90s he started taking more of a shine to country tunes – stars like Dwight Yoakam and Vince Gill.
These days, he’s enjoying older rock bands, like 38 Special and the Allman Brothers. “To be honest, I like any music as long as it’s good music! It doesn’t matter – I’ll listen to disco, to hip-hop or to rap – there are some great things coming out of music these days that your ear kind of gravitates towards. I also like jazz – I play trombone with (local band) The Jazz Guys as well,” he added. “Any genre of music I enjoy – as long as it’s good.”
For Lee, music – whether its performing it or passing on his knowledge of it to his students – is a constant source of joy.
“There’s a thrill of being up in front of people, making them smile and seeing them tap their toes – it’s fun and it’s a shared experience when you are up on the stage,” he said. “You get that instant feedback.
“It’s also about a connection between people, and it might be something that kind of grounds you to an emotion you are feeling. I always think that music is kind of an emotional experience,” he said.
“If you can share that emotional experience with other people, I think that connecting ‘piece’ is cool.”
Next up in the Entertainment in the Park series is Flashback Freddy on July 7th, Ollee on July 14th, Travis Pickering on July 21st and Off the Rails on July 28th.
Heading into August audiences can check out the Wheatland Band on Aug. 4th, TEN02 on Aug. 11th, Tap9 on Aug. 18th and rounding out the season is Ryan Langlois on Aug. 25th.
Scoop Ice Cream & Snack Shop will also be open during all shows, located next to the eastern parking lot of West Stettler Park.
“This year’s lineup has something for everyone and can be enjoyed by the entire family every Wednesday night of the summer” says Manager of Recreation and Culture Brad Robbins.
“Residents and visitors of Stettler have an opportunity to listen to some amazing Alberta musical talent amongst the beautiful back drop of West Stettler Park.”
For more information, visit www.stettler.net and follow @TownofStettler on Facebook.