A Big Night in a Small Town

The Teslin Arena is going to be rocking on June 25.

Canadian country acts Aaron Pritchett, Cory Marquardt and Roger Gabriel are coming to town to put on a country music show. It benefit the Teslin Minor Hockey Association and the Teslin Recreation Society.

About 450 people live in Teslin. This is the biggest event ever to be held in the community.

Ted Lambert lives in Teslin and is the show’s producer. He says the phenomenal lineup is due to good family connection.

“Aaron (Pritchett) is good friends with my son-in-law, Roger (Gabriel),” he says. “Over time, I’ve developed a friendship with Aaron, and last summer we were chatting at a family reunion and he was very interested in coming to Teslin at some point.”

Lambert returned home and shared what Pritchett had said. The idea began to form to bring the country star to Teslin for a concert.

“I called him, and he said absolutely, he’d love to do that.”

There are 800 seats available on the floor and 130 VIP tickets in the mezzanine, which includes free appetizers and a premium view of the concert.

“The artists may be milling around (the mezzanine) and meeting and greeting folks,” Lambert adds.

“At first there was a little nervousness about whether we could accept such a large effort,” Lambert says of this undertaking. “But the community has come out in full support. We’ve gotten lots of nice local sponsors and volunteers. It’s just been a really positive thing in the community so far.

“Teslin is not well known among Yukoners as a place to go. It’s what you pass through on the way to somewhere else. We aim to change that. We’re leaving behind some legacy equipment: a stage and sound booth, bleachers and a superior sound system.”

The community raised money for this equipment over the past year through the Recreation Society, the Hockey Society, as well as The Village of Teslin and Teslin Tlingit Council.

Aaron Pritchett, himself, has even been supporting the fundraising – and he’s got star power.

“Aaron came up and sang ‘O, Canada’ and dropped the puck at the Yukon Native Hockey Tournament and we drew a raffle at that event,” Lambert says.  “He didn’t charge us for his time. He’s an amazing man. He’s done more than I can begin to list off for fundraisers for communities across the nation. He’s tirelessly generous.”

This generosity includes a fundraiser in Whitehorse in 2011, when Pritchett was in the territory for the West Coast Music Awards, and had heard about two students who suffered severe injuries in a bonfire accident. Pritchett immediately offered to do a concert for free. He performed at Porter Creek Secondary School.

He’s a down-to-earth guy who has elevated to star status. Two weeks before the Teslin show, Pritchett will be opening for Garth Brooks in Saskatchewan.

Roger Gabriel is the opening act. Gabriel started playing music at a young age. He has performed on stage with country music greats like Alan Jackson, Joe Nichols, Jason Blain, Doc Watson, Canadian legend Ian Tyson, and of course, Aaron Pritchett. He is carving out his own path to Canadian country greatness, with his debut album Wide Open.

Also performing at the Teslin Rocks Country concert is Cory Marquardt, from North Bay, Ontario. Also a lifelong hockey player, Marquardt lends his name and talent to this impressive lineup that is sure to change the entertainment industry of this small town with a big country heart.

The show takes place Saturday, June 25 in the Teslin Arena at 9 p.m. For more information go to www.TeslinRocksCountry.com.

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