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Tag: Empress Theatre

Jay Reischman and the Jaybirds band

John Reischman’s roots music coming to Empress Theatre

Toes will tap in time April 19 when John Reischman and the Jaybirds take the stage at Fort Macleod’s Empress Theatre.

The group’s musicianship is tight with Reischman on mandolin, Trisha Gagnon on stand-up bass and vocals, Nick Hornbuckle on banjo and bass vocals, Greg Spatz on fiddle, and Patrick Sauber on lead guitar and vocals.

Lively instrumental solos pass from one musician’s nimble fingers to the next without dropping a beat, and no individual part outshines another.

Together since 1999, John Reischman and the Jaybirds have produced seven albums and earned national acclaim.

The group has two Juno nominations in the Roots and Traditional Album of the Year (Group) category, along with nominations for the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Concertgoers can look forward to an evening of finely balanced melodies and harmonies accented by a tone that can be found only when people truly enjoy playing together.


Aerial view of the Cowley Lions Campground on the Castle River in southwestern Alberta


Reischman started playing mandolin in the 1970s. Before joining the Tony Rice Unit, he was a standout soloist with the Good Ol’ Persons, a bluegrass band from the San Francisco Bay area.

True Life Blues: The Songs of Bill Monroe was named Bluegrass Album of the Year at the 1997 Grammys, with Reischman among the musicians playing on the tribute album.

His first solo album, North of the Border, was released in 1993 and his third, New Time and Old Acoustic, in 2021. A Juno nomination for Traditional Roots Album of the Year came with the latter.

The new album includes a refreshed version of “Salt Spring,” one of Reischman’s best-known compositions. Recorded with the Jaybirds in 2001, the song has become a jam-session staple for mandolinists worldwide. While you might not know it by name, there’s a good chance you will recognize the melodious picking at the Empress show.

Give the Empress Theatre box office a call at 403-553-4404 to reserve your seat, or purchase tickets at



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Diyet, an Indigenous woman with shoulder-length brown hair, sings and plays a hand drum

Diyet and the Love Soldiers playing the Empress

Diyet and the Love Soldiers will perform at Fort Macleod’s Empress Theatre, as the second show in the 2023-24 Centre Stage Concert Series, on Thursday at 7:30 p.m.

The Yukon trio’s blend of alternative country, folk, roots and traditional music features catchy melodies and stories deeply rooted in Diyet’s Indigenous world view and northern life.

Diyet sings in both English and Southern Tutchone (her native language) and plays bass guitar. She’s backed by husband and collaborator Robert van Lieshout (acoustic guitar, drums and percussion) and Juno Award-winning producer Bob Hamilton (electric guitar, pedal steel and mandolin).

Together, they have a sound that can fill a big-stage venue or capture an intimate room.

Diyet was born in a tent and spent her childhood on the ancestral lands of the Kluane First Nation in the Yukon. Coming from a family rooted in traditions, but tempered with adventurous hippie attitudes, Diyet has created a musical presence as diverse as her Southern Tutchone, Tlingit, Japanese and Scottish heritage.

She discovered her voice singing on the school bus, went on to acquire a degree in music, then became a published songwriter in Vancouver. When the pull of the North was too strong, she packed her bags, and her Dutch husband, moving back to her village of 90 people without a plan or a pub to play in.


Indoor and outdoor view of wedding venue — the Cowley Lions Campground Stockade near Pincher Creek in southwestern Alberta.


This unlikely career move resulted in international collaborations, extensive touring and three acclaimed albums: The Breaking Point, When You Were King and Diyet & The Love Soldiers.

The third album, released in 2018, led to nominations for Folk Album of The Year at the Indigenous Music Awards, Indigenous Artist of The Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards, and Indigenous Songwriter of the Year at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

During the last decade, Diyet and the Love Soldiers have performed across Canada and Europe, with highlights including major folk, jazz, world and multidisciplinary festivals.

With her feet firmly planted in two worlds, Diyet’s adventurous and sometimes chaotic life is on full display in her music. She often says, “Yesterday, fishing for our dinner on the ice; the next day, on the stage singing for you!”

Tickets to see Diyet and the Love Soldiers are $37.50 each and available online at, by calling 1-800-540-9229, or at the box office on Main Street in Fort Macleod.

Still to come in the Centre Stage series are Ryland Moranz, Nov. 10; David Francey with Terra Spencer, Feb. 8; Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Feb. 29; John Reischman and the Jaybirds, April 19.


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Wavy image of pride colours

Empress Theatre stands with LGBTQ+ community following vandalism

Fort Macleod RCMP have arrested two youths in connection with an incident of vandalism during a Pride event at the historic Empress Theatre.

Last Saturday, the Fort Macleod Pride Committee hosted a drag show at the Empress Theatre as part of the town’s annual Pride celebrations.

Just 10 minutes into the show, audience members began to notice what Denise Joel, who chairs the Empress board, called a “very unpleasant, putrid smell.” 

Unbeknownst to those in attendance, a group of youths had begun pouring a noxious black liquid out of a glass container onto the floor.

“They were sitting in the back, and there was no sign that there would be any trouble. All of a sudden, we started to smell something quite unpleasant. Initially, people thought someone had set off a stink bomb,” Joel said.

“They had this container hidden in a bag, and they were leaking that substance onto the floor, beneath their seats, then they got up to leave and continued to leak that substance onto the carpet. When they reached the foyer, they smashed the entire contents of this jar onto the floor.”

Police, having been made aware of the disturbance, were quick to apprehend two suspects as they attempted to flee the scene.

Initially, police were informed that a smoke bomb had been discharged in the theatre, but investigation later revealed that fisher and marten lure oil had been used.


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Due to online backlash regarding scheduled Pride events, the town had a heavy police presence during Pride festivities, making this act of vandalism a bold one. 

“It didn’t happen just randomly, that’s certainly apparent,” Joel said.

“It was targeted, it was meant to happen at that specific event, and I think that’s very concerning. There is absolutely no place for this kind of act.”

The theatre announced on its social media pages that it will be closed until further notice, while the extent of damages is determined.

“A big part of the issue is that it’s a historic theatre, a lot of what’s damaged is of historic significance, so we’re just ensuring that everything can be cleaned appropriately and properly. We hope, obviously, it can all be restored quickly,” Joel said.

The same day as the Empress incident, another act of vandalism targeting a Pride event was carried out when the community flagpole and Pride flag were torn down and burned. 

In the wake of the incidents, both the Empress Theatre and Fort Macleod Pride have received unwavering support from the general public through messages, donations and more. 

In a statement issued by the Town of Fort Macleod, members of town council condemned what they referred to as “heinous actions.” 

Both the Empress Theatre and Fort Macleod Pride have since issued statements thanking everyone who has stood by them and offered their support.

“The Empress has always been, and will always continue to be, a safe and inclusive place for all. Please remember: Love always wins,” says an online statement from the theatre.

The Empress says it will work with local RCMP, the Town of Fort Macleod and other authorities to identify the best way to move forward.

The two incidents remain under investigation by RCMP.

Male youth pins poppy to Remembrance Day cross held by female youth, while another male youth stands at attention, on the front page of Shootin' the Breeze. Alberta news from Pincher Creek area and Crowsnest Pass.

Nov. 9, 2022

We will remember them

Peter Van Bussel and Abigail Rigaux receive a poppy from Walker Anderson at the MHHS Remembrance Day assembly in Pincher Creek.

Kiss tribute band ready to rock ’n’ roll all night at the Empress

Hailing from Western Canada, Ikons is one of most sought-after tribute bands on the circuit. Ikons delivers a high-energy show, complete with the classic Kiss tunes we all know, and an authentic concert experience guaranteed to satisfy even the most diehard Kiss fans. 

Ikons covers songs from Kiss’s musical career beginning in the 1970s, with chart-toppers including “Rock and Roll All Nite,” “I Was Made for Lovin’ You” and “Beth.”  

Kiss is known for its members’ face paint and stage outfits and its pyrotechnics. The band members took on personas in the style of comic book characters: the Starchild, the Demon, the Spaceman or Space Ace, and the Catman (Criss).

You just might think it’s the real deal once you see Ikons’ authentic looks, moves and music. 

Tickets to Ikons: the Kiss Experience are $37.50 each and available online at, by calling 1-800-540-9229, or at the box office on Main Street in Fort Macleod.