Next week, jazz music will fill the Gaetz Memorial United Church in Red Deer

The first annual Jazz Festival is coming to Red Deer next week to enrich the local music scene while raising donations for the local food bank.

The trio that will play everything from New Orleans jazz to swing and more modern permutations is Morgan McKee on piano, Joel Gray on trumpet and Rob Goodwin on drums. They will perform at 7 p.m. on Saturday, November 19 at the Gaetz Memorial United Church, 4758 Ross Street.

This show is presented by a new group called Red Deer Community For Jazz Music. Founded by Andrew Ludtke last summer, it already has 310 members, around half of whom are musicians.

Ludtke taught trombone at Red Deer College before music programs were discontinued at the institution in 2018. Since then, he has realized that local musicians need new opportunities to connect with local audiences as the college is no longer the center of the city’s music scene.

“The suspension of the program has left a huge hole in Red Deer,” said Ludtke, who is thrilled that many former RDC music teachers and other musicians are “joining together” to help fill it.

Red Deer pianist McKee is thrilled to play standards and some original tunes at the Jazz Festival with two of his favorite musicians: Edmonton’s Joel ‘Spanky’ Gray, “is one of the best musicians I’ve ever had a chance to work,” he added, while Rob Goodwin of Red Deer “is one of my all-time favourites. drummers.

McKee has mostly played out-of-town shows in Calgary, Edmonton and Banff over the past few years, so he’s looking forward to more opportunities to perform for his hometown crowds.

The jazz festival will be the first of three events featuring members of the Red Deer Community For Jazz Music that are planned before the end of this year.

Ludtke noted that a trio of jazz musicians will also perform at the Red Deer Downtown Business Association’s Winter Market at the Millennium Center on Dec. 9 and 10, while a “little big band” will perform at Dance Show A. Night at the Blue Note at Bo’s Bar and stage on December 12.

Organizers of the Nov. 19 jazz festival are hoping to collect lots of food bank donations at next week’s show.

Earlier this fall, Red Deer Food Bank executive director Mitch Thomson explained how growing demand for baskets has sometimes exceeded food availability. Food bank shelves were much emptier than usual last month.

Many central Albertans continue to struggle with the impacts of inflation, rising interest rates and the lingering effects of the pandemic and economic downturn, said Thomson, who was pleased that local groups were stepping up to help. the cause.

For more information or to purchase tickets for the November 19 Jazz Festival, please email

Please contact Bo’s for more information on the December 12 show.

live music

Ada J. Kenney