Kinda Kenny kicks off FUNdraiser

You can gamble on having a good time, as Kinda Kenny Rogers arrives in Penticton this weekend as part of a newfound music series designed to raise funds and awareness for the Arthritis Society of B.C.

  • Sep. 22, 2011 9:00 a.m.

You can gamble on having a good time, as Kinda Kenny Rogers arrives in Penticton this weekend as part of a newfound music series designed to raise funds and awareness for the Arthritis Society of B.C.

The inaugural Arthritis Patient Care Services FUNdraiser is set for Sept. 25, and event organizer James Ludvigson said it marks not only Arthritis Awareness Month in September, but the beginning of a bimonthly entertainment tradition.

“It’s always going to be a family show in the afternoon. Go have breakfast, and then come to the concert and you can just enjoy your day with the family. You can enjoy the family, be in the audience while enjoying life,” he said.

Longtime vocalist Marty Edwards (also known as Kinda Kenny Rogers) began his tribute to The Gambler in 1998, and has gone on to appear on Oprah, CNN and the Jay Leno Show. The Peachland native even got to meet his doppelganger backstage first in Billings, Mont., before appearing on stage with Rogers in 2002.

He now performs across Canada, the U.S., England, Ireland and Australia.

“Marty will put on a blockbuster show,” Ludvigson said.

He said he had been pondering how to do a fundraising concert in the community. The concept of a “Cavalcade of the Celebrities” stuck with him, until the owner of Cue’s Game Room offered up space for a series of concerts.

“It’s going to be a show every second month,” he said, adding he’s trying to line up tribute artists devoted to Roy Orbison, Shania Twain, Neil Diamond and Rod Stewart. Ludvigson’s extols the ability of music to foster peace physically and mentally. “How can you be grumpy if you’re hearing good things in the background?” he said.

The organizer hopes people will enjoy the moment more — especially as good health is upon them.

“Arthritis is not a new disease, and it strikes every age, every gender, every race around the world,” he said. “It’s a pretty traumatic disease. And that’s when you need a good support network around you.”

Proceeds will support local physiotherapists and occupational therapists  — a group who don’t get the recognition they deserve, he said — as they help treat those with arthritis.

“Sometimes the therapists know someone needs this certain piece of equipment,” he said. “The therapists would like to say, ‘This is what you need. Let me go get it for you.’”

The show is at Cue’s Game Room, 342 Main St. in Penticton. Doors open at 1 p.m., and entertainment will begin at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 for adults or $10 for children under 13, and can be purchased by calling 778-476-4387 or emailing 4wheelinjames@gmail.com.