Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

November 01, 2006 16:06 ET

Task Force Afghanistan Show Tour: Smiles from Home, November 2006

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Nov. 1, 2006) - Canadian entertainers are gearing up to take their show on the road in the truest sense as they get ready to travel all the way to Kandahar, Afghanistan to entertain our troops.

This November, fifteen artists from across the country will embark on the Task Force Afghanistan (TFA) Show Tour to bring Smiles from Home to Canadian Forces (CF) members deployed in Afghanistan.

"The goal of the CF Show Tour program is to boost morale of CF personnel serving in remote locations," says Mark Larose, Manager Deployment Policies & Resources of the CF Personnel Support Agency (CFPSA), who organizes show tours for the CF. "These shows bring great entertainment, new faces, a little taste of home, and provide troops with the opportunity to take a break from their daily operational activities."

With a mandate to deliver morale and welfare programs and services to the CF community, the CFPSA has a long tradition of providing show tours to CF members serving overseas and in isolated locations. Over the course of a six-month major mission, a CF Show Tour is usually held at the mid-point (third or fourth month) of the rotation.

"We have named this show Smiles from Home, and that's exactly what we plan to provide," says Robb Hartlen, President and CEO of Comedy HQ - the company that is producing this tour. "The artists are extremely excited to have been selected. We can't wait to get over there and show our support and appreciation to Canada's troops"

From rockers to Celtic musicians to an Acadian comedian, the Smiles from Home TFA Show Tour is made up of a variety of artists to suit all tastes. The audience in Afghanistan will mainly be composed of personnel from CFB Petawawa.

HOST/MC:

Tracey MacDonald: Having conquered the comedy landscape in Canada, Tracey's career exploded in 2003 after she recorded unprecedented voter support on CBS's Star Search, not only winning the most recent series Championship, but also taking the Star Search Grand Championship prize of 200,000 dollars and a Development contract with CBS. Tracey now lives and works in Hollywood, California and performs across the US.

COMEDY:

Marshall 'Lucien' Button: In his unique Acadian blend of English and French (sometimes known as Franglais) Lucien offers his views on everything from religion, politics, relationships, work, sports, health and nutrition, the environment, technology - from a humorous perspective that many Canadians can relate to. With his folksy charm and wit, Lucien is able to provide a snapshot of what is going on in the hearts and minds of many Canadians from Victoria to St. John's.

MUSIC:

Rockstar Party (of the 2005 CBS hit show "Rockstar:INXS")

Suzie McNeil: At the end of summer 2005, Suzie was the last woman standing on CBS television's reality series Rockstar:INXS. This has brought her ongoing media exposure, as well as the chance to work with some music industry legends. Throughout the years, she has compiled an impressive record of musical accomplishments: from live gigs beside some of North America's top acts (Alan Frew, Ronnie Hawkins, Jeff Healey, Dave Navarro, P!nk, INXS) to consummate professionalism tracking in the studio (Nick Lachey, Jesse McCartney) to performing in front of crowds of up to 200,000 people.

Deanna Johnston: Being on Prime Time TV three times a week for seven weeks during Rockstar:INXS was the platform for millions of people across the world to fall in love with Deanna. This extensive exposure combined with the praise and support she received from the members of INXS, Dave Navarro and some of TV's top executives has created a huge fan base and demand for her voice and music.

Ty Taylor: Ty and his band, Dakota Moon, signed with Elektra Records and had two Top 10 hits in the U.S., as well as countries all over the world. After leaving Dakota Moon, Ty produced and performed his solo project in all of L.A.'s hottest clubs. He has also toured with Eric Clapton, Macy Gray, Fiona Apple and Tina Turner, among others, and lent his talents to countless commercials, voice-overs and jingles.

The Fables: Led by former Irish Descendant D'Arcy Broderick and former Wonderful Grand Band member Glenn Simmons, The Fables offer a head-on fusion of contemporary rock n' roll with the time-honoured traditions of Celtic music. Their new sound and fresh approach have earned them multiple nominations and awards, including several Music Industry Association of Newfoundland and Labrador awards over the years, an East Coast Music Award for Entertainer of the Year in 2001 and two years (2002 & 2004) as the Canadian Independent Music Awards' Folk/Roots Group of the Year.

Casey LeBlanc: Casey finished in the Top Five of CTV's Canadian Idol on in the summer of 2005. The young singer hails from Nackawic, New Brunswick. Her musical style is identified as a combination of blues, jazz, and country. She is a member of the new band "Braided," featuring other Idol top 10 finalists Ashley Leitao and Amber Fleury. They have released their first CD and are going to be going on tour in December after Casey returns from Afghanistan.

Gary Sappier: is a multi-instrumentalist, whose unique music is a combination of Aboriginal flavour mixed with contemporary rock. In early 2006, Sappier released the CD "Wanted". This album and song "Wanted Man" became an instant hit on American radio. Radio stations and musicians alike, from rock to bluegrass, have been commenting on Sappier's music and critically acclaimed album masterpiece.

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