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3 Questions for Curtis Labelle – Singer/Songwriter, Renowned Pianist and Vibrant Performer


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Move over New York City, we’ll keep him thanks.

How do I even begin? Curtis Labelle is a dream. Quite literally you may find yourself hanging out with him and actually asking yourself “am I dreaming? Did he just sell out a show by putting a plunger (yes a plunger) on his head?” True story, not only did it sell out but what a phenomenal night! If you’ve seen a show from Curtis then you know what I’m talking about. It becomes a communal effort. Everyone is part of the show. Sing-a-longs, hysterical laughter and and straight up good times.

“My fingers do the walking…”   – Curtis Labelle

Did you know that not so long ago in a land pretty far away called New York City our very own Curtis Labelle was enjoying himself and trying to figure out where he was headed in his musical journey. Yes sir, even the virtuosos like Curtis Labelle need time to ponder and contemplate where this crazy musical adventure is headed next. For a while he was even doing Liberace tributes. I’ve always told him he should take it as a compliment when ‘The FEDS’ shut you down. ‘The FEDS’ lol, thats probably not the right terminology but it sounds cool. Better said, team Liberace shut him down with the good ol’ “cease and desist” letter. They made it clear, that part of his career was over. Immediately. I remember telling Curtis that in some crazy way this was the best thing to happen to his career.

Since relocating to Red Deer Curtis has been killing it! New music, videos, teaching, getting married and just all around living life to the fullest.

I actually had the honour of performing Curtis’s very first original song on stage with him for the first time he performed it, ever. He didn’t even have his piano. He pulls me into the hall and says “do something like this…” Bam! We were on stage at The Velvet Olive (re-opening June 3rd) and Curtis introduced his original music to the world. No cooler feeling than being a part of that.

Last year he was the winner of the 2019 Rock 104.5 Star Search, securing the opportunity to work on a new single with JUNO Nominated Producer Mark Troyer! Very cool. This year he’s secured a spot on “The Shot” which is a pretty sweet competition based Canadian platform. We wish you the best in your efforts!

If you’re into Elton John, Billy Joel and good music in general you’re in luck. All of Curtis Labelle’s music is now available on Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Music, Google Play, Deezer and more. for more on Curtis check out his website and socials at and make sure to drop a follow or like wherever you’re at. I could go on for days about all the stories and craziness I’ve been through with Curtis but lets get to the questions!!!

1. Where does it come from? Your ability to make your fingers do what they do?

My fingers are an avenue and a path. The universe sends messages and then my brain makes the music. My fingers do the walking and my brain does the talking.

2. Do you ever eat your dessert before your dinner?

Always dinner first – I’m large enough.

3. How has music affected your mental health during COVID-19?

Music has kept me alive and vibrating inside. It’s my healing and medicine.


Jesse was born in the city of Lethbridge and raised to his teen years in the southern Alberta farming communities of Raymond and Fin Castle, AB. Jesse's early inspirations include the hypnotic sounds of big-name artists such as Jimi Hendrix, The Black Crowes, Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, City and Colour, Jack Johnson, Guns 'N' Roses, and Pink Floyd. Jesse is a Blues/Rock/folk/Indie performer who has done his fair share of "paying his dues" opening and touring with such acts as: The Lazys, One Bad Son, Doc Walker, The Odds, The Northern Pikes, The Grapes Of Wrath, Monster Truck, The Age Of Electric, The Wild, Holly McNarland, Econoline Crush, Coal Creek Boys, Wild T & The Spirit, Cara Luft, Carson Cole, Clayton Bellamy (of The Road Hammers), Tupelo Honey, Retrograde, The Smalls, and Mcquaig to name just a few. In 2015 Jesse was awarded the title "Master of Blues Folk Rock" for the 6th Annual Black American Music Awards. Jesse is known for his funky heavy jam style guitar. Big riffs, an impressive vocal sound all his own and the ability to captivate the crowd with ease. His fans have coined the term "no string solo" as he can be consistently found ripping strings off the guitar like they aren't supposed to be there in the first place.

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Penhold Flight Instructor Releases Updated Instruction Manual For the 21st Century

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Sky Wings Aviation founder Dennis Cooper lives to fly.

“2020 marks 50 years of flying for me,” said Cooper in a phone interview.  “I was a cadet and part of the glider program but got my pilots license in 1971 at Cold Lake before I even had my drivers license.”

Cooper later earned his Commercial license under Cecil Sorenson and other seasoned ex-Canadian Air Force pilots who transferred their tremendous knowledge base.  Working with Johnson Air Services and Pultz Aviation, he obtained his instrument rating and began his pilot career in earnest.

“One of the tools I had as a young pilot was the Pultz Instructor Manual and sometimes he (Pultz) would ask me questions and I would offer input,” he remembered.  “The original book was a 3-ring binder and we used that format for a long time at Sky Wings as well.”

Fast forward to the present.

“With current technology, many of our students wanted the manual in an electronic form so now instead of just having a softcover book that gets scuffed, dirty and ripped we now have a hardcover AND an electronic version for use everywhere,” added the instructor.  “Since the original book was written, much had changed.”

Changes to the original include an index which the first book did not have according to Cooper, modified levels of instructors, GPS information which did not exist years ago, procedures and general knowledge brought about by technology.

“We kept the artwork from the original,” said Cooper.  “It’s great and captures what we wanted.  We also added enhanced study and review questions based on feedback from students who have been through testing. The result is now a 558 page Instructors Manual that can follow a pilot from the beginning of their career to their end goal, no matter what that looks like.”

The new updated manual can be used in conjunction with Transport Canada publications.  It can adequately prepare a commercial pilot for the Transport Canada Flight Instructor written examination, the in-flight training and ground instruction, as well as the test flight.

Priced at $99 for the hardcover and $90 for the softcover, the “Cooper Flight Instructor Manual” is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters/Indigo and 3 flight suppliers at present.

“I bought Sky Wings Aviation in 1982 and even today I still feel the same when a new student flies for the first time.  I am excited when our students enter the plane, travel the runway and rise into the air for the first time for their first circuit, then return,” said Cooper whose wife Sherry also teaches at the school.  “I enjoy watching the transfer of knowledge from instructor to student, but most significantly, watching them conquer the air just like the Wright Brothers 118 years ago.”

Cooper is not finished yet with 3 more books ready to rewrite for the 21st century.

For more information on Sky Wings Aviation and the 9th Edition of the Cooper Flight Instructors Manual, go to:

Home – Skywings Aviation


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Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools picks up $30,000.00 tab to buy laptops for at-home schooling

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Photo includes, from left, Foundation Board Member Morris Flewwelling, Trustee and Foundation Board Member Bev Manning and Foundation Board Chair Dave Tilstra.

Foundation donates 90 Chromebooks to students in need

As equity, student success and completion are priorities for Red Deer Public Schools, officials have recognized the move to at-home or temporary online learning has presented challenges for some students and their families who do not have access to technology.

In response to this challenge, the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools, recently donated 90 Chromebooks to schools to lend to students needing access to technology, totally $30,000.

Dave Tilstra, Chair of the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools, said supporting students and ensuring they have the tools to learn is key to helping set kids up for success.

“Chromebooks will continue to be an important resource within schools and now at home. We are thrilled that we have been able to donate this much needed technology to students who would otherwise go without to ensure they have the best opportunities to continue learning,” he said.

Families who borrow a Chromebook from their child’s school are responsible for ensuring they have Wi-Fi connectivity and they will ‘sign out’ the devices and assume responsibility for their proper use and return.

“Equity is about fairness. The Foundation supports projects that help give kids life chances,” said Bruce Buruma, Executive Director for the Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools. “Families experience challenges during the best of times, but the past number of months have been tough for many. We know this donation will help ease one burden so students can focus on learning and families can focus on other priorities.”

The Foundation supports projects that align with the Division priorities of Literacy and Numeracy, Equity and Student Success and Completion.

For more information, please contact:

  • Bruce Buruma, Executive Director
  • Foundation for Red Deer Public Schools
  • Phone: 403-352-2827
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