IT'S NEVER TOO LATE: Linda Koley, 69, launched her solo career with a concert and signing of her first CD, Two Miles South, this week. Winnipeg's 2011 Senior Idol winner attracted more than 200 friends and fans to McPhillips Station Casino on Monday night.
Koley left behind a promising singing career in her 20s for kids, a 50-year marriage and a nursing career, but never forgot her dream of being a recording artist and entertainer. She has been a star at Rock the Mic karaoke nights at both casinos and was encouraged by many to make her own CD.
With a kick-ass band composed of Murray Pulver, Julian Bradford, Ryan Voth and Carlin Lemon (who produced Koley's first CD at Lemon Fresh Studios), she belted out five original tunes. Then she filled the dance floor with the Shania Twain hit Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?
Spotted: singers Mona Corrigal, Tyler Spencer, Nancy Tardiff, Chelsey Young, Dennis Turney, Lisa Windsor, guitar player Derrick Gottfried of Harlequin, Tim Sutton of Streetheart and former singer Tina Pulver (Murray's mom!). Rock the Mic host Danny and wife Wendy Kramer came in support, as did 15 nurses from the Women's Pavilion at Health Sciences Centre.
"Everywhere people had been encouraging me and I am so happy, finally having this CD and doing this launch," Koley said.
Added host Joey Gregorash, himself making a comeback this year: "This is a story of a dream come true and it's never too late!" Then he turned around, grabbed her in a big hug and said, "We'll be back in 10 minutes."
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BABY ALPACA NEEDS A NAME: A tiny alpaca was born in the pasture Tuesday afternoon near La Barriere Park at Aurora Farm, owned by well-known activist Louise May.
"She is the most beautiful baby we've ever had!" May says. "We don't have a name for her yet, so we would be happy to take suggestions by voice mail (261-6279) that have to do with the most beautiful thing you have ever seen."
Apprentice farmer (and former city slicker) Kristi Loeb takes me tromping through the pasture in her big rubber boots.
"When alpacas are born, they're all neck!" she says with a laugh, pointing at a foot-long white protrusion topped by a perky head. Mama Luna is mooing nervously over her brown-and-white baby, who is sitting on a tangle of long legs. At one day old, she can bolt.
"They can get up and run like crazy from the moment they're born," Loeb says.
May offers open houses and courses at her organic mixed farm, with 18 alpacas (two more babies are expected soon), 20 horses and 48 goats, 25 of them babies. There are also chickens, cats, dogs and bunnies. This summer, kids nine to 15 can take week-long horse-riding and farm-activity courses, www.aurora.ca .
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ROCKIN' LE GARAGE: Big noise was roaring out the door at Le Garage on Provencher Wednesday night, and it wasn't car engines. Yours truly caught Keith and Renée rockin' it out with a full band. Renée was celebrating her new solo album, Best Day (out in two weeks). The band included guitarist Ariel Posen, bass guitar player Kevin Torgalson, drummer Dylan Hermiston and Ken Campbell on pedal steel and mandolin. The duo is headed for the Dauphin Country Fest mainstage, opening for Reba McIntyre. "We just got home four days ago from Nashville, where we were writing our sixth album," Keith said.
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