Earlier this month Big Valley Jamboree announced that the hamlet of La Glace, Alberta emerged as the grand-prize winner of Small Town Saturday Night 2017. The community remained at the top of the leaderboard for the major of the contest garnering over 45,000 of the more than 250,000 online votes cast over the duration of the contest.
The grand-prize included a concert headlined by Canadian country music artist Gord Bamford and a songwriters circle hosted by Alberta’s own Clayton Bellamy featuring Alee, Dan Davidson, and The Doll Sisters on April 29, 2017.
Big Valley’s Master of Ceremonies Danny Hooper hosted the evening.
In addition to the excitement of hosting this once-in-a-lifetime concert experience, the winning community can use the event as a fundraiser to support a local charity or municipal initiative of their choice. By the close of the evening it was estimated that the Small Town Saturday Night Concert along with other events throughout the day raised over $100,000 to support La Glace’s new Regional Recreation Centre. With a last minute surprise donation of $50,000 by Surge Energy tally grew to more than $150,000.
“We are overwhelmed by the support our community has received and are still in awe of the funds raised from the Small Town Saturday Night Concert and Events over the weekend”, said Jade Nyland, La Glace Ag Society President. “We could not have done it without the volunteers who selflessly dedicated so much time to making this event what it was and everyone who supported and voted for our community throughout the contest. Hosting Big Valley Jamborees 2017 STSN Concert was truly a once in a lifetime experience for La Glace and we are so grateful to have had this opportunity.”
“The new facility will replace our existing arena that is in much despair from water and structural issues”, said Tamara Lunde, Member of the La Glace Small Town Saturday Night Organizing Committee. “Even though we are already a tight knit community we believe this new facility will bring us even closer together, and this is why this is so important to us.”
After a day an activity filled day all over town, the evening concert began with local musician Matt Patershuk surprising a capacity crowd at the La Glace arena affectionately known as “The Igloo”. However, that was not the only surprise. To mark the 25th Anniversary of Big Valley Jamboree, the First Note Music Program was established. This program is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth in Alberta by providing the opportunity to learn, play, and share the gift of music through creative musical education programming. In the spirit of this program the Big Valley Jamboree First Note Music Program presented La Glace School with $5000 to further the development of a music space within the school earlier in the day at a special matinee performance by all the songwriters free of charge and open to the public at La Glace Cavalry Church.
La Glace is a small hamlet of 181 people, with approximately another 1500 people in the surrounding area, located approximately 50 kilometers north east of Grande Prairie.
“It was evident the minute we arrived in La Glace what a tight knit young and vibrant community it is and that the tiny arena holds the heartbeat of the town”, explained Chris Melnychuk, Big Valley Jamboree/Trixstar. “The way everyone engaged their neighbors to vote for and eventually win over all of Northern Alberta was simply amazing. La Glace is exactly the type of community we wanted to win this very special event.”
On February 19 a video team from NAIT Radio and Television descended upon La Glace to create a two minute feature to showcase the community. The video showcases a day in the life of La Glace showing that clearly their local arena is the hub of the community.