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Alle-Kiski Valley musicians happy to share the blues in Vandergrift

Cindy Downard - Mark “Fat Henry” Sproull of the Fat Henry Band
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Cindy Downard</em></div>Mark “Fat Henry” Sproull of the Fat Henry Band
Cindy Downard - Mia Zanotti photographed several years ago during a live performance.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Cindy Downard</em></div>Mia Zanotti photographed several years ago during a live performance.
Cindy Downard - Dave Minda, Mark Sproull of Fat Henry, Miss Freddye, and Matt Ross backstage at a blues show at the Vandergrift's Casino Theatre.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Cindy Downard</em></div>Dave Minda, Mark Sproull of Fat Henry, Miss Freddye, and Matt Ross backstage at a blues show at the Vandergrift's Casino Theatre.

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A Night of Blues

What: Local Bandfest concert featuring blues acts from the Alle-Kiski Valley

When: 7:30 p.m. March 23

Where: Casino Theatre, 145 Lincoln Ave., Vandergrift

Admission: $5

Details: 724-567-5000; to purchase tickets, call 724-567-5049, go to www.casinotheatre.org or stop by Pomfrets Paint and Variety at 149 Farragut Ave., Vandergrift

Night of Blues lineup

• Dave Minda and His Hombres du Jour

• The Fat Henry Band

• The Hackers

• Matt Ross Band

• Mia Z

• Miss Freddye

• Sidney Williams

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By Julie Martin
Wednesday, March 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

“Heavy hitters” are what musician Fredericka Stover, aka Miss Freddye, calls those included in the lineup for the Casino Theatre's upcoming Night of Blues.

She is anticipating taking the stage with her fellow Alle-Kiski Valley musicians for a concert that will bring seven acts to the Casino as part of its Local Bandfest series.

“As a musician, as an artist and even as a spectator, it's always very exciting to work with and to hear and see these different musicians coming together,” says the Harrison blues singer.

“They all have one common goal — let's get out there, let's have fun and let's bring the audience into what we're doing.”

The show kicks off at the Vandergrift theater at 7:30 p.m. March 23. Proceeds from the concert go to the restoration and maintenance of the theater, which is more than 100 years old.

Miss Freddye is honored to be invited back to the Casino and to have an opportunity to help support it. “We'd like to have this building standing 100 years from now,” she says.

As for her efforts, audiences can expect contemporary and traditional selections. “My whole thing is to entertain people and keep them interested in live music and blues,” she says.

The show offers an excellent opportunity for aficionados and newcomers to the blues to enjoy a night out, according to John DiCola, lead singer of the Vandergrift-based band, The Hackers.

“It will be a good way for people who never really listened to the blues to get to hear what it's like and learn to appreciate it,” he says. “They will get to hear some of the finest musicians in the Valley.”

The Hackers lineup will include a few soul and blues songs from Muddy Waters, Joe Cocker and Southside Johnny.

Matt Ross of the Kiski Township-based Matt Ross Band describes the show as one that's like a “reunion or a party.”

“We have performers of all ages and many styles of blues, so there's something for everyone in the audience,” he says.

Dave Minda, returning to this year's blues show and bringing his Hombres du Jour band with him, will focus on modern blues this time around, playing songs from artists like Robert Cray, Joe Bonamassa and Robben Ford.

“And once again,” he says, “we've got a song featuring the entire army of guitarists that we'll have at the Casino that night.”

Mark “Fat Henry” Sproull of the Fat Henry Band is “absolutely” eager to participate in Saturday evening's show. Like Minda, he returns after performing a number of recent shows at the Casino, among them, the first blues concert.

“Last year's show was beyond question, the finest show I've even been involved in,” he says.

“The audience can expect a wonderful variety of blues from different regions (such as) Chicago, Texas and the bayou with both traditional and more contemporary R&B styles,” he says.

“Everyone in the audience will leave smiling.”

Julie Martin is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.

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