Jim Elliott/Salmon Arm Observer Lori Risling, Patrick Ryley and Gil Risling are ready to roll with the Louisiana Hayride Christmas Show, which takes place Monday, Nov. 27 at the Salmar Classic Theatre.

Shuswap Christmas Louisiana style

Louisiana Hayride Christmas Show rolls out at Salmar Classic

The Louisiana Hayride crew is rolling into Salmon Arm, this time with a festive twist.

All the favourite characters will be back with some of the well-loved songs from the original Louisiana Hayride, a radio and later television country music show broadcast from the Shreveport Municipal Memorial Auditorium that, during its heyday from 1948 to 1960, helped the careers of some of the greatest names in American country and western music.

Hear Patsy Cline, Roy Orbison, Loretta Lynn and “newcomer” Garth Brooks in the special Louisiana Hayride Christmas Show on Monday, Nov. 27.

Each cast member will perform a couple of songs the show’s sold-out audiences have said they love and will sing a Christmas song or two as well.

Popular Salmon Arm DJ Patrick Ryley will appear with his familiar portrayal of Hank Williams and he will also sing Irving Berlin’s White Christmas, which was written in 1942 and has been a well-loved Christmas tradition ever since.

“It’s ranked as the number-one Christmas song,” says hayride creator and director Lori Risling. “And I’m pretty sure, Hank will sing Hey Good Lookin’.”

Andrea Anderson’s familiar characters, Patsy Cline and Loretta Lynn will perform Hayride favourites and Anderson will also lend her beautiful voice to the powerful How Great Thou Art.

From Battleford, Sk. and new to the Christmas show, Troy Wakelin will bring Garth Brooks with his Friends in Low Places.

Gil Risling adds Roy Orbison and a Christmas number to the mix.

“When Gil is Roy Orbison, he tries hard to get the into character,” says Risling of her husband, noting he will perform Pretty Paper and Pretty Woman. “He has had vocal training and he will show his full range and how he can really sing when he performs Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”

Rounding out the regular cast that has been performing together since the hayride’s 2010 start are William Brookfield on keyboards and guitar. He will do a Johnny Cash song along with Christmas numbers, and Mike Melnichuk will bring his Burl Ives character along for the ride.

”What’s so good and different from the regular show is that coming out of charsacter allows the cast to showcase their true vocal abilities,” Risling says.

Talented Sony recording artist Jesse Mast will open the show, appearing with band mate and accomplished bass player Jake McIntyre-Paul.

“I was really super excited about hearing Jesse at the fall fair,” says Risling, noting Mast will join the cast for the entire tour. “He will work in a Christmas song along with original songs.”

The format for the Christmas concert will be the same as the regular show in that Risling has discovered interesting nuggets of information about the Christmas songs, such as the fact that Oh Holy Night was the first piece of Christmas music broadcast on radio.

“Salmon Arm filled the house in the spring of 2010 and it’s been that way ever since,” says Risling of the hayride production. “We’re in Kamloops on the 12th and 13th and we’ve just about sold out a 700-seat venue.”

The show takes place at 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 27 at the Salmar Classic Theatre. Tickets at $45 are available at Touch ‘a Texas, Wearabouts and online at ticketseller.ca.


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