< Reviews of Past Cowboy Poetry Gatherings, Cowboy Festivals, and Other Events

Yodelfest 2015 (11th Annual) - A Salute to the Veterans - May 9th, 2015
Review by Miriam Dreher

The theme of this year's event was "A Tribute to RCMP Officers killed on active duty. This year, possibly due to the current economic conditions and events that prevented some busloads of visitors from getting to Airdrie, was not as successful as in past "Sold Out" events. A local RCMP officer in full dress uniform represented the detachment from Airdrie.

A local RCMP officer in full dress uniform represented the detachment here in Airdrie.

Miriam and the Mountaineers took stage accompanied by Erle Crawford on fiddle, mandolin and guitar. Erle has previously entertained with Al Cherney and Gordie Tapp on the Gaza Strip during WWII. His sense of humour and added comments brought the house down. Miriam did different styles of yodeling with two of her latest compositions. She concluded her portion of the event with a song she composed two days after her son's passing and there wasn't a dry eye in the audience. All proceeds from her cd's including the latest one "The Best of Yodels" with two songs from the previous cd's is directed towards a music scholarship in memory of her son.

Vic Nicholls, an award winning instrumentalist who is almost completely blind also accompanied Miriam, with his guitar stylings of Chet Atkins.

Susanne Heystack, a 15 year old fiddle player who was awarded the Rising Star by the Alberta Women and Men of Country Music and twice Alberta's young idol was outstanding as usual. This year she brought her own band and had the audience tappin' their toes. She fiddled the Mocking Bird song and it almost sounded like a bird chirping, than the Orange Blossom Special was her specialty. An extremely talented young lady and should one shut your eyes - you would think its Natalie McMaster.

Back by popular demand was the Swiss Yodel Club from Calgary yodeling in 6 part harmony with no mics or backup music. The Swiss dancers did the ushering, dress in very colorful costumes that date back over 200 years and are valued at $2000.00 each.

Retired Staff Sgt of the RCMP, Mr. Robbie Robertson, known as the Mountie Poet dressed in full uniform gave the history of the RCMP and how many have lost their lives on active duty and those killed during WWII. He told the history of the force from when it was first organized and marched west to Fort Walsh, Fort MacLeod and then into Montana to clean up the whiskey traders from Fort Benton who were bringing liquor across the border to Fort Whoop Up. He mentioned that this year was the 10th anniversary of the four in Mayorthorpe, AB, the three in western Canada and mostly recently one in Alberta. His performance was most intriguing and enjoyed by all.

The finale was everyone standing while singing "Edelweiss" and all performers came forward for the final bow for the event.

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