The Edmonton Blues Society has been singing and bringing the blues for 10 long years – make that joyful years.
In that time, the audiences for its all-ages shows grown from little more than a handful to crowds of more than 250 who love to dance and groove to the familiar 12-bar shuffle.
“We’ve grown from a small society offering blues events featuring emerging or casual blues acts to a much larger organization adding in more experienced local, regional, national and international blues artists,” says president Rosalynn Ruptash. “We also showcase our regional blues artists on the international stage.”
She believes people are drawn to blues because it is an emotional style of music that affects everybody differently.
To celebrate the decade, the society is holding an event on June 11 at the German Canadian Cultural Centre, featuring a concert by the renowned Chicago band, Mississippi Heat.
The band usually performs at large blues festivals, so having them appear at this small-scale celebration is “really special,” Ruptash says.
The blues society started in 2006 with a small number of members who just wanted a place to play their beloved music. It now aims at much loftier goals.
Over each of the last five years, at least one local act supported by the society has advanced to the semi-finals at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis, Tenn. One of the acts has even reached the finals.
“We are changing lives, one blues artist at a time,” Ruptash says.
Members of the society, including several hailing from St. Albert, also share their soulful sounds at weekly jam sessions around the Edmonton area (occasionally located at LB’s Pub in St. Albert) and at other events.
As one decade closes and another begins for the society, it has no plans on slowing down. Instead, this is a time to prove the thrill isn’t gone and to kick off the new era, the society will unveil its new logo June 11.
The anniversary celebration will also include a display of the society’s written history, a slideshow of events through the years, some sweet blues and, of course, a cake.
“What kind of birthday party is it if you don’t have cake,” Ruptash laughs.
Tickets for the 10th anniversary celebration can be purchased in advance for $25 at Acoustic Music, Blackbyrd Moosik, Myhre’s Music and at info@EdmontonBluesSociety.net. Tickets can also be purchased at the door for $35.