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Live Music for Charity


Live music entertainment by popular bands and talented musicians with proceeds donated to charities in the community.


Women of Song

Edmonton musicians band together for annual breast cancer fundraiser

By Andrea Wong

Editors Note: Written in 2016, this article features past and present members of EWoS.

Breast cancer awareness month is quickly approaching, which means that a certain group of female artists will be returning to the stage October 1st, 2017 at The Newcastle Pub. Mics in hand, instruments at the ready, and strong looks of determination on their faces, these united Women of Song stand for a cause resonating close to their hearts.

Sixteen years ago, Edmonton musician Sophie Hunter was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer. What followed was a series of treatments so intense, Hunter wasn’t sure which would kill her first. But the spirited blues singer refused to lay down without a fight. After a long and hard battle, Hunter prevailed as a breast cancer survivor. Ignited with a sharper focus on life, she sought to do something about breast cancer that could couple her passion for music.

“What I wanted to do is make it easier for other people that have to go through what I went through,” Hunter says. “What better way to give back than with something you do naturally?”

With that in mind, Hunter formed the idea for a benefit concert to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer research. She was quickly joined by six of her friends, all local musicians ranging from blues to old-school rock to everything in between. At the heart of this seasoned music collective is a deep-seated desire to contribute to a worthy cause.

“The moment the event ended, we said we’ll be back next year,” says 40-year blues veteran Rita McDade. “Our hearts are enfolded in this whole thing, because it’s important to us. We’re there for Sophie and for all of those that are affected by this disease.”

Now as Women of Song comes upon its fourth year, the women could not be more pleased with the growing support the fundraiser has received. Last year they raised more than six thousand dollars, and this time they are hoping to give their largest donation yet.

“Every dotted penny goes back to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation”, says McDade.

The event has no budget, so it is entirely run by the women and anyone willing to help. The event’s success is powered by people believing in the cause.

“I don’t think any of us don’t know somebody who hasn’t been affected by cancer,” says soulful singer Lynne Chwyl, who is dedicating an emotion-filled song to the loved ones left behind. “It’s just a coming together of like-minded people to do whatever they can to support this.”

For Paula Perro, her personal connection to those with cancer made it a “no-brainer” to take part in the event each year. Her sultry blend of R&B, Soul and Funk are guaranteed to deliver “food for the soul”.

Another familiar face is Dale Ladouceur, an international musician whose contemporary style is as unique as the Chapman Stick she plays. With an eye for the human condition, Ladouceur’s original songs on strength, survival, and love bring a fresh perspective to the event.

Award-winning musician Angela Mackenzie will also be lending songs from her recent album, focusing particularly on encouraging openness and support. Mary Thomas will similarly tie her music back to the meaning of the event. The classic-rock power house uses her voice to raise breast cancer awareness not just for women, but men as well.

As preparations are underway and everyone pulls together, you can sense the anticipation, especially from Hunter, who is “over the moon” with excitement.

Her delight is especially credited to the limited edition CD’s donated by DanLyn Studios. The CD contains songs performed by each artist and is available at the event for a minimum donation of 20 dollars.

Though Hunter is currently undergoing chemotherapy for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, her hopeful dedication is stronger than ever as she foresees the event carrying on for many years.

“I want to do this,” Hunter says. “I want to make life easier for men and women affected by breast cancer. I don’t want anybody to go through what I went through 15 years ago. That is the reason I’m doing it today.”

Tickets are available at The Newcastle Pub & Grill and through the Women of Song.

Meet the Edmonton Women of Song


Sophie Hunter is a local, national and international musician who began singing at age 5. Born in Ontario her vocal training from 6 – 18 years old has her musical tastes cover blues, gospel, rock, jazz and country. Sophie toured cross-border with country band “Boogie Creek” for three years before moving to Alberta in 1994. In Alberta Sophie was quickly scooped up to be the lead singer with “Deja Blue” who became “Sophie and the Shufflehounds”. 

In 1995 "Sophie and the Shufflehounds" took 2nd place(1st place "Rockin Highliners") in Blues on Whyte battle of the bands.

In 1996 the band was commissioned by Film and Video Arts Society of Alberta member Peter Hill to score the soundtrack for his movie "Happy Hour".

The fall of 1997 Sophie returned to her home in Stratford Ontario. It was during this time (2001) that she was diagnosed wtih Stage 4 Metastisized Breast Cancer. After many treatments she felt certain the "dragon" was conqued.

When she returned to Alberta in 2009, stronger than ever, Sophie continued with her singing career and the "Shufflehounds". Sadly in 2014, Sophie was subsequently diagnosed with stage 3 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Nothing can keep a great woman down. Sophie continues to sing and is the inspiration and fearless leader of the "Women of Song". Her original song "Whatcha do" is available on the 2016 Women of Song compilation disk.



Her critically acclaimed original project "Dale Ladouceur and the Broke Ensemble" have two releases. Ladouceur also recorded a solo recording RuffTracks in 2010. Lately she has written scores for a number of Canadian theatre companies: (Workshop West's Language of Angels, Theatre Yes's Enchantment), and she scored and performed for Azimuth Theatre's acclaimed Freeman on tlte Land. Ladouceur also wrote the score for a documentary on the American Kidney Foundation of New York. As well, Dale works as a music producer with Levin E. Levin Productions. 

Branching into film, in 2011 Ladouceur co-produced the critically acclaimed independent film "Honest You Won't Get Hooked". Ladouceur is also a political writer and activist who has written a number of comprehensive articles that have been published internationally. Her articles have covered such topics as: The Multilateral Agreement on Investment, climate change, ozone depletion, water privatization as well as expose's on ethical misconduct in the  media.

Featured interviews include such Canadian icons as Peter C. Newman, Gwynne Dyer and David Suzuki. Dale also actively promotes and works with a number of environmental non profits. In 1999 Ladouceur landed the first interview in over a decade with Hip Hop pioneer Gil Scott Heron. (The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.) Ladouceur also went head to head with interviewing the cast of the Canadian cult hit show "Trailer Park Boys" aned has for the past few years been "long distance jamming" with maverick American author Tom Robbins.

One of Dale's recent career highlights was performing at the world class Winspear Centre alongside Ed Mann and Ike Willis, alumni of one of her musical heroes Frank Zappa when the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra performed The Music of Frank Zappa in March 2011, also writing the accompanying cover story for a local magazine.

January 2013 saw Dale reprise her role as Musical Director and cast member Kriquet in Azimuth Theatre's Freeman on the Land - a unique, multi-media political comedy utilizing her live music performance as well as an actor, weaving through the fast paced storyline Freeman garnered much critical praise from numerous print, television and internet media outlets.

Currently, Dale is working on her next studio album at Crowtown Productions.



Mary has enjoyed a 49 year career on stage in Musical Theatre, Classical, Jazz, Blues and Rock. She started the Mary Thomas Band 17 years ago with Brian Petch, Bill Fuhrer and Aaron "Gator" Shelemy, and  has headlined at such notable venues as the Blues on Whyte, Rock the Fort, and the  Blues on Black festival, just to name a few. Through the years she has played with many local musicians and loves the different flavours of each musician’s style on her repertoire. Mary has been involved in The Women of Song Fundraisers since its inception 6 years ago and loves to be part of a great group of amazing women who try to make a better world one song at a time.



Paula Perro’s smooth yet unrestrained vocals are threaded with dulcet tones – a smoky sultriness rarely heard these days. She’s a sassy belter with a refreshingly genuine and captivating musical sensibility, and delivers a show with abundant heart and soul every time she hits the stage. Her energy is infectious.

Growing up in St. John’s, Paula built her musical foundation on Celtic, Country and Newfoundland Folk, but she was also heavily influenced by her older siblings who loved all the infamous classic rock bands from the 60’s and 70’s. Her mother was a singer with a voice like Patsy Cline, which Paula found very soothing. One of her fondest memories is having her mom sing her to sleep, a tradition she continues with her own kids today.   

Performing is in Paula’s blood. As a child, Paula found joy in singing and performed whenever she could, even “producing” and selling tickets for her own shows at the tender age of six. She held these performances, during which she sang along to the era’s most popular songs, on her home street or in her family’s rec-room.

The pivotal moment that shaped Paula’s musical path came when she was 18 and first heard the moving and unmistakable voice of Nina Simone. The song was I Want A Little Sugar in My Bowl, and Simone’s voice haunted Paula. She immersed herself in Simone’s music and eventually discovered a plethora of musicians that, like Simone, sang with conviction and authenticity. These artists encouraged Paula to pay critical attention to the “twelve bars” that eventually changed her life. It was the beautiful beginning of Paula’s exploration of Blues, and so much more …

After various choral performances, Paula moved on to local solo choral competitions and found some early success. (Bar Tabs and Free Tanning Minutes count, right?) Eventually, she could not resist the urge to play with a band, and after appearing at some local jams, she formed her first band called JamBone. She began to explore the band dynamic and get her feet wet in her role as a lead singer. Although it was all new to her, she knew she was hooked, and she’s never looked back.

Paula has shared the stage with some local legends like Big Hank Lionheart and Harpdog Brown. For the last few years, she’s been seen around E-Town with the fabulous rock-n-blues band No Foolin’. Recently, she’s been working with The Project, a group of seasoned musicians delving into funky R&B and Electric Blues – a big band with a big sound! Alongside gutsy arrangements of esteemed covers that lend a refreshing take on tunes people have come to know and love, Paula also mixes classic R&B, Blues, as well as her own multi-flavored originals for a toe-tappin’, booty-shakin’ kind of show that delivers “food for your soul”! She’s just finished her first solo EP, Make It Look Easy, and is actively working on her full-length debut album. She couldn’t be more excited!



Gentle Heart, Screaming Soul… Music flows through her blood. Rita’s a Lifer!

Gentle Heart, Screaming Soul ….. Music flows through her blood. Rita’s a Lifer!

Rita McDade is an electric powerhouse entertainer singer. Combinations of infectious stage energy, add in rich sultry vocals steeped with raw emotion, conviction and style. A recipe that Rita turns out at all performances whether it be at festivals, theatres, clubs or a back yard private soirée! Blues, Jazz, Rock and R&B have all influenced her vocal stylizations.

Born and raised in Edmonton Alberta, Rita’s singing career began in 1975 majoring in vocal technique and performance studies at Grant McEwan College under the tutelage of Dr. Dasha Goody. She has enjoyed a 43 year career on stage and her passion of sharing her craft of singing to hundreds of students has enriched many lives, including hers!

In the early days of her career she appeared in local TV and Radio specials such as CBC presentations with Tommy Banks, Edmonton Musical Theatre, Klondike Days extravaganzas, Spirit of Edmonton (in Montreal), as well as various recording studio cameos. She released her first original compositions in 2014 (Train Home). This disk had two songs nominated for Edmonton’s Blues Recording of the Year in 2015. In 2016 she joined her fellow “Edmonton Women of Song” on a compilation disk produced by DanLyn Studios in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Rita returned to the studio in late 2017 to record again with her Fusion Blues Band.

Rita was honored in 2017 to be inducted into the Legends of Edmonton Music Scene produced by The Shoebox at CJSR Radio 88.5. The program featured Rita and her accomplishments as an entertainer over the last four decades.

Closest to her heart is Edmonton Women of Song which is in its sixth successful year raising funds for Canadian Breast Cancer Research. Fellow artists Sophie Hunter, Dale Ladouceur, Paula Perro and Mary Thomas along with Angela McKenzie and Lynne Chwyl have put their hearts and souls into this benefit. She will be returning to Edmonton in October 2018 to perform at the event with the Fusion Blues Band members Kevin McDade (guitar/vocals), Scott Alexander (piano/vocals), Murray Schneider (keyboards/harp), Rollie LaMarche (bass) and Ray Dussome (drums).

Rita’s long and successful music career has opened up new opportunities. Her recent move and lifetime dream of living on Vancouver Island, B.C. started in 2018. With help from her longtime friend and mentor Hank Lionhart (Uncle Wigglys Hot Shoe Band, Big Hank & Fist Full of Blues, The Twisters, Blue Hearts) she secured well known Vancouver Island musicians to create her new project. Her new quartet includes husband and co-writer Kevin McDade on guitar/vocals, Bruce Davies on bass, David Gray on drums/vocals and Charlie Fox on keyboards/vocals.

Excited about the many doors opening in the Victoria music scene, Rita and her new band look forward to composition and recording opportunities in the near future.


2018 Special Guests: The Dirt Road Angels

From the dirt road to the main stage, country rock group the Dirt Road Angels have created quite a buzz in a short time. What started out as solo artists coming together to collaborate on one show, turned into a magical connection that has become an incredible musical project. The Edmonton based seasoned singer-songwriters, consisting of Dahlia Wakefield, Karen Claypool, Danita Lynn, and Shila Marie, formed the group in 2013 and have released three albums and 6 singles since their inception. Their first album, a 15-song compilation CD was released in September 2013, “Paint The Town Red” was released in September 2014, and their latest, “Extra Dirty”, was released at the Italian Cultural Centre on March 10th, 2018.
With sexy modern country tunes such as title track “Extra Dirty” and swampy “Not Ever” to heart-warming ballad “Little One” and carefree “Call it Home”, the Dirt Road Angels deliver eight solid tunes on their third studio album! Totally revamping hits “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash and “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles, the Dirt Road Angels are ready to fly! Off their brand new album, they have released to Canadian Country Radio “Go All In”, a song about taking chances...and their latest single “Not Ever”...released on Feb. 26, 2018 and it is doing very well.
This energetic country rock quartet has showcased at CCMA week and performed at many other high profile events. They have enjoyed opening for some top country acts including Kira Isabella, High Valley, Doc Walker, Road Hammers, Colin Raye, Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin, Aaron Pritchett and many more. They are also honoured to have been nominated for ACMA Group of the Year and Fan’s Choice three years in a row! These talented ladies are down to earth and continually strive to entertain their audiences everywhere they go and always come away with a new fans.
The Dirt Road Angels rock every stage with their infectious energy, enthusiasm and camaraderie, and their blend of lush harmonies is truly angelic. Known for their color coordinated outfits, they are sisters from other misters and work well together as a team.
With their brand new album and more videos in the works, the Dirt Road Angels are truly ready to fly!


And Meet The Host


Tim Koslo has been delighting audiences internationally for over 20 years with his multi-faceted style of comedy. From the moment he hits the stage with his manic, animated, sideways look at life, the crowd, be it corporate, club or fundraiser is filled with a sense of something wonderfully strange this way comes.

Koslo's show doesn't just rely on visual stimuli for audience response. Mastered dialects, witty prop interplay, dead-on impressions and impressive electric guitar absurdities together with hilarious off the wall humour make up Tim's show.





OCTOBER 13, 2018

The Newcastle Pub & Grill at 8170 50 Street NW

Tickets $30 available at The Newcastle, Picture This in Sherwood Park, and from The Edmonton Women of Song.

Host Tim Koslo • Door Prizes • Silent Auction • Turkey Dinner

More information at: