Entertainer Fred Penner is gearing up for a fundraiser to be held at Bo’s Bar & Grill Sept. 28th. The event will benefit both the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery and the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. He’s also performing Sept. 29th at the Memorial Centre. photo submitted

Fred Penner featured during special Symphony and Museum fundraiser

Event at Bo’s Bar & Grill set to run Sept. 28th

Iconic Canadian entertainer Fred Penner is heading to the City for a fundraiser to benefit both the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra and the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery.

‘Friday Night With Fred Penner + Friends’ runs Sept. 28th at Bo’s Bar and Grill.

Most will know Penner from his kids’ show Fred Penner’s Place which ran on CBC from 1985 to 1997.

The Red Deer concert, an adults only show, will feature Penner doing a number of classics from his own repertoire and a few timeless covers followed by burlesque dancers from Cabaret Calgary and the Dirrty Show.

The City of Red Deer is also presenting Penner in a free concert on Sept. 29th at the Memorial Centre during Alberta Culture Days. That family-friendly show gets underway at 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, besides his hit show, Penner has also released a dozen albums with 10 Juno Award nominations and three wins. But at the end of the day, he loves making music and connecting with audiences of all ages. This sensibility is clearly reflected in his latest disc Hear The Music.

For Penner, a career in music surfaced rather unexpectedly.

“We didn’t have guitars, but we did have a piano,” he said, reflecting on his younger days. “My older sister taught me some basic piano, and my sister-in-law taught me some music as well. My parents were also listening to the swing music of the 40s – Benny Goodman, the Dorsey Brothers and lots of classical music, too. My father loved orchestral music and opera, so those sounds were around me in my formative years.”

All through those years, he was certainly soaking all of the influences in.

And a natural gifting was certainly flourishing.

“My ability to recognize musical pattern and harmony was there from the very beginning. There was some ability that was waiting to take hold.”

But he wasn’t encouraged to pursue performing specifically, even though he proved to be a strong singer and even sang in several choirs through those years.

“Nobody ever said it was an option, so that made it an interesting turn because I didn’t pursue music as a career,” he said. “It was all extra-curricular. I didn’t really pursue the musical path until the late 1960s and early 70s, after I graduated with a BA in Economics.”

Penner earned that degree largely for his dad, who hadn’t been able to attend university.

“So here I was in my early 20s, knowing that I did not want to be an economist deep in my soul,” he added with a laugh. It was also around this time that tragedy struck – he lost both his sister and his father within just one year.

The shock of it all also made him take stock of his own life.

And he realized that ultimately, exploring music was what would bring him the most fulfillment. “Since music was the only thing that had truly given mye any bliss, I said, well, maybe that’s what it is. So I started playing the lounges and bars, and discovering where my music could take me.”

Gigs started popping up across the country, as did an eventual record deal. And working specifically with kids during those years showed him he had a natural connection with entertaining the younger set. “Music was a logical part of my connection with them,” he said.

Then CBC came calling with the offer of a series in the mid-1980s.

“They didn’t have a concept for it, so they put it totally in my court,” he explained of the breathtaking opportunity. “That was the beginning of Fred Penner’s Place.” There was loads of room for originality, too, as there wasn’t much in the way of TV geared to kids at the time. “The timing was perfect because the demand was so high, so we could just go in and create good, positive energy and good music for families.

“The big thing for me was to create something on that scale – I was writing songs for many of the episodes,” he said, adding there were some 950 episodes produced.

These days, Penner is indeed counting his blessings.

“To be able to do this, it’s not something I would ever have dreamed of,” he said. “It’s filled me to the brim with contact with multiple generations at this point who are so complimentary and excited that I was able to be part of their lives,” he added. “I can’t imagine really what I would have done other than this. It’s been such an amazing journey, and it doesn’t seem to show any signs of slowing!”

Tickets for the Red Deer fundraiser are available at bosbar.com.

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake and area residents vent frustration over rural crime

Justice Minister Doug Schweitzer visited Sylvan Lake Thursday as part of a rural crime tour

Sylvan Lake Town Council keep utility rates the same for gas and electricity

Council defeated the motion to increase the ATCO gas rate at the Oct. 15 meeting

Sylvan Lake RCMP arrest man in Fox Run area hit and run

The arrest was made with the help of information provided by alert Sylvan Lakers

Pilot project proposed for Sylvan Lake and Rimbey RCMP

Chief Superintendent Shahin Mehdizadeh spoke about the project at Tuesday’s meeting of council

Town of Sylvan Lake announces new community bus

The CARE-a-van is available for both for-profit and non-profit organizations

VIDEO: Alberta teen found guilty of shooting German tourist, leaving him paralyzed

The boy, who cannot be publicly identified, was from the Stoney Nakoda First Nation

Leaders pour it on with rallies, boosts for candidates as campaign reaches peak

The federal election campaign has reached a crescendo

Not a political question: Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta

Edmonton police estimated the size of the crowd at about 4,000

Rebels drop third straight against Oil Kings

Rebels have given up 19 goals, scord 2 in three games

Zantac, the over-the-counter heartburn drug, pulled in Canada, U.S.

Health Canada also investigates possible carcinogen in some ranitidine drugs

Greta Thunberg calls for climate action in Alberta, but doesn’t talk oilsands

Swedish teen was met with some oil and gas industry supporters who came in a truck convoy

Scheer denies spreading ‘misinformation’ in predicting unannounced Liberal taxes

Conservative leader had claimed that a potential NDP-Liberal coalition could lead to a hike in GST

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Most Read