The Manitou Opera House will serve as the first stop for the final tour of local favourites Country Blend on Thursday, Oct. 17 at 7:30 p.m. The concert was originally scheduled for Oct. 10, but was postponed thanks to weather conditions. Country Blend is a band well-known in the region, as they have maintained a busy touring schedule and generated ten cd recordings over their fifteen years in the business. Traveling across the country and playing shows in every province and territory with the exception of Nunavut, the band offers up a blend of classic country and easy listening, with a bit of country gospel thrown into the mix.
The Manitou lineup features a tribute to country musicians who are so legendary they are recognizable by their first names alone: Dolly, Patsy, Loretta, Kitty, Hank, Johnny, and Willie, among others. Country Blend’s final tour, as they make one last round through the Prairie Provinces, has prompted comments such as “Say it ain’t so, Country Blend!” from their fans.
Band member Evelyn Ramage recalls that the Manitou Opera House was the site of their second concert together as a band, making it a significant place to kick off their final tour. She reflects that their time together has “been a super great time . . . just totally great”. A highlight for her has been the opportunity to tour across the nation, which she describes as a “real eye-opener” and a time of bonding for the band; she states, “they’re practically my family now.”
Each member of the band has been involved in the music industry for years. Piano player Gordy “Crazy Fingers” Lindquist, who taught music at Bottineau State University, earned his stripes with such greats as George Burns and Myron Floren, as well as through his one-man piano show. Drummer and band manager Cyn Lodge and vocalist Dianne Lodge play in a dance band, as does bass guitar player and singer Henry Martens. Vocalist Evelyn Ramage, who occasionally pitches in with auxiliary percussion, also taught piano and voice for many years.
With their two and three-part vocal harmonies, the band will pay “Tribute to the Legends of Country Music” one last time. Reserved seating tickets for Country Blend are $25 each and are available by calling 204.242.4287.