Contenders coming back to the Okanagan for another try

Back in 1967, about the time Canadian folk-singer Valdy was readying to perform at the Aldergrove Rock Festival, Queen Elizabeth was in the process of creating the Order of Canada.

Back in 1967, about the time Canadian folk-singer Valdy was readying to perform at the Aldergrove Rock Festival, Queen Elizabeth was in the process of creating the Order of Canada.

This prestigious award has become the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system, recognizing an individual’s lifetime of outstanding achievement and dedication to the community and nation.

As a folk singer at a rock festival, Valdy was slightly out of tune with his surroundings. Nevertheless he persevered and went away to write Play me a Rock ‘n’ Roll Song, which, as luck would have it, and in true Valdy fashion, would become a hit.

As a result of this achievement, and his unending dedication to his craft — as a folk singer over more than 40 years — Valdy was named to the Order of Canada earlier this year, and honoured at the formal ceremony in September a ceremony at Government House in Ottawa.

And though he calls Saltspring Island home, Valdy also has a strong connection with the Okanagan.

For the past 11 years, playing alongside Gary Fjellgaard in a duo they dubbed the Contenders, Valdy has toured Okanagan communities in support of the George Ryga Centre.

The duo are back again, with a tour planned for George Ryga Week, touching down in several communities, including Penticton and Summerland.

In Penticton, the Contenders are playing the Barking Parrot on Nov. 1 and in Summerland, home to the George Ryga Centre, they will be playing at Centre Stage Theatre.

Tickets are available at the Dragon’s Den in Penticton (250-492-3011) and at Martin’s Flowers in Summerland (250-494-5432).

More information is available online at


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