Friday, 05 January 2018 09:17

Claresholm's Wild Rose Bluegrass and Country Music Society celebrates three decades

Written by  Demi Knight
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Johnny, Faye and Noel Smith, long-standing members of the society from Lethbridge play their music for members during the monthly society events. Johnny, Faye and Noel Smith, long-standing members of the society from Lethbridge play their music for members during the monthly society events. Contributed

Since 1988, the Wild Rose Bluegrass and Country Music Society has been a staple group to the community of Claresholm.

By coming together once a month to share their musical talents and love for the different genres of music this group has sustained itself in the small rural town of Claresholm for almost thirty years and are ready to celebrate their third decade as a society this coming new year.
“It’s a really great group,” says president of the society, Joan Miller. “It’s just good music, dancing, and lots of fun. It’s remained very similar over the years, with of course new and different members but always with bluegrass, country music and old-time dancing.”
Now president, Miller first came to join the society in 1994 when her and her husband decided to move to Alberta from Ontario.
After signing up to receive newspapers on the area they were planning to move to, Miller says they saw information on the existing society within Claresholm and couldn’t wait to join.
Now members for almost twenty-four years, the couple who love country music and being a part of a group that pays homage to this, have each spent time in the position of president of this society over the years.
Entering her second consecutive year of being president, Miller says the society currently has around twenty-five to thirty members, with people coming from across southern Alberta to be a part of the monthly action and not just locally from Claresholm itself.
“There’s a few that have been members of the society right now that have been here for a long time, but we’ve actually had quite a few newer members coming from Lethbridge lately and we used to have some coming from Calgary and other places like down in the Crowsnest pass.”
“Jammers just like to jam no matter where they’re from,” explains Miller with a chuckle.
The society holds an event on the second Sunday of each month. Amateur musicians who love to play various genres of music from bluegrass to country to folk are celebrated. With jamming sessions that allows members to sign up and play for the crowd whether they’re just starting out or a seasoned veteran, the open stage allows for everyone to share their talents for the other members to enjoy.
“It sets a stage for amateurs to come out and practice or keep in tune with their music, we usually have around ten people signing up each month to play,” says Miller. “But this month we had twenty-four entertainers signed up to take the stage.”
However, it’s not only jam sessions that the society holds, but also twice a year in both June and December the members get together to host a pot luck evening that’s full of fun activities for all including a 50/50 raffle, door prizes and a feast fit for a king. With the December pot luck which was recently hosted this month on Dec. 10 being equipped with a turkey to enjoy during the Christmas season and festive Christmas music to raise holiday spirits during the event, Miller says this month’s event was a great success.
Every event with the society is held at the Legion in Claresholm each month of the year with an exception of July and August in which time the society closes down so members can enjoy their summer months. And with long standing members, Miller says that this society has been such a great staple to the community for so many decades because people of all ages can join to enjoy the music they love even when they can’t participate anymore.
“The society really gives the older generation a chance to come out and listen to the music they grew up with which is really special, and they get to watch people dance and listen to the music in a great atmosphere.”

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