PLANNING- From left Richard Hayhoe

‘Central Alberta Rocks’ at Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery

Organizers of a coming exhibit exploring local rock band history at the Red Deer Museum + Art Gallery are asking for a little help from the community.

‘Central Alberta Rocks’ will showcase Central Alberta’s own rock music history. This ‘teaser’ exhibit will bring a sampling of the history of rock bands that originated in Red Deer, the music they performed and the venues they played, organizers say.

So if you lived in Red Deer in the mid-1960s, did you hang out at The Sweet Shop or Dog & Suds? Do you have memories of dancing to the tunes of The Drifters, Ninth Wave or the Gaetz Avenue Dance Band? Organizers have been poring over details of the years from 1960 to 1975 in terms of what local bands were up to at the time.

As is the case now, one of the biggest influences on the youth of Red Deer back then was music, says Valerie Miller, collections coordinator at the Museum.

“The musical styles, fashion, lifestyle attitudes and language around the globe did the same in Red Deer. It was a new point of view.”

Phil Hallet initially came up with the idea for the project. He’s got all kinds of posters advertising local gigs from those years, plus loads of photos and other memorabilia. It wasn’t long before several others joined in on the project including Harley Hay, Gary Thompson, Lorne Hallet and Richard Hayhoe.

“Their enthusiasm definitely helped bring this exhibit to life,” says Miller.

Hallet had approached Miller about doing something on a grander scale with his personal collection of material reflecting those years. And as mentioned, a major, much more extensive showcase will be presented likely in 2013 which will tie in nicely with the City’s centennial.

Meanwhile, the teaser exhibit will include photos of some of the venues local bands used to perform in, histories of the bands and an up-close look at the musical spirit of the times.

Committee members were also all active in the music scene and they remember it as a lively, creatively rich time when there was plenty of support amongst local musicians as well. Hayhoe played with The Ninth Wave, The Coal Company, Gibraltar and Easy Street. Thompson was also part of The Ninth Wave and Gibraltar with Hayhoe, and later performed with Hayhoe in J + Jazz, The Brass Theme, The Network and later the Gaetz Avenue Dance Band. Hallet continues to perform with Bedford Page.

Central Alberta Rocks will run from Nov. 19 to Jan. 1.

Bands will perform Nov. 20 and Dec. 3 from 2 to 4 p.m. and Dec. 2 from 7 to 10 p.m.

To submit a story or for more information, email Valerie Miller at or call her at 403-309-8451.

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