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

Red Deer’s next winter celebration is just around the corner

Snow and Ice Celebration runs Dec. 1st at Red Deer Civic Yards

Red Deer husband and father of four passes away overseas

A GoFundMe page has been set up to support the family

The Gaetz Avenue bridge is officially open to traffic

After over two years Red Deerians will have an easier commute

Local singer/songwriter Ryan Langlois lands in Project WILD’s top three

Popular artist could land as much as $100,000 for his dream recording project

Festival of Trees celebrates the season while supporting a tremendous cause

The 25th annual Festival of Trees opens Nov. 21st

VIDEO: Shoppers like self-checkout lanes at the grocery store, survey suggests

Grocery Experience National Survey Report suggests most grocery shoppers spend 32 minutes per visit

Pot users, investors need to be vigilant at Canada-U.S. border

U.S. authorities say anyone who admits to having used pot before it became legal could be barred

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

Police looking into two more incidents at private Toronto all-boys’ school

Police and the school have said two of the prior incidents involved an alleged sexual assault

Air force getting more planes but has no one to fly them, auditor warns

The report follows several years of criticism over the Trudeau government’s decision not to launch an immediate competition to replace the CF-18s.

Bolder action needed to reduce child poverty: Campaign 2000 report card

The report calls for the federal government to provide more funding to the provinces, territories and Indigenous communities to expand affordable, quality child care.

Judge bars US from enforcing Trump asylum ban

Protesters accused the migrants of being messy, ungrateful and a danger to Tijuana; complained about how the caravan forced its way into Mexico, calling it an “invasion.”

Ottawa Redblacks defensive back Jonathan Rose suspended for Grey Cup

Rose was flagged for unnecessary roughness and ejected for contacting an official with 37 seconds left in the first half following a sideline melee after a Tiger-Cats reception.

Mistrial declared in Dennis Oland’s retrial in father’s murder

The verdict from Oland’s 2015 murder trial was set aside on appeal in 2016 and a new trial ordered. Richard Oland, 69, was found dead in his Saint John office on July 7, 2011.

Most Read