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Kathryn Calder: Her mother's legacy

Victoria-born musician Kathryn Calder (The New Pornographers) is using her voice to help raise funds for causes close to her heart.
Victoria-born musician Kathryn Calder is using her sunlight voice to raise awareness for ALS in a new documentary A Matter of Time. See her live in Victoria July 13 in support of Girls Rock Camp Victoria.

Victoria-born musician Kathryn Calder (The New Pornographers) is using her voice to help raise funds for causes close to her heart.

Calder’s mother passed away after a long battle with ALS, more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a fatal illness that attacks the neurons in the brain and spinal cord. Calder was her mother’s full-time caregiver in 2009, for the year before she passed. Calder wrote and recorded her first solo album, Are you My Mother? In a home recording studio and finished it just in time for her mother to hear it before she died.

Now Calder has teamed-up with Montreal-based Yellow Bird Project to create a feature-length documentary about her inspiring family story.

Calder had worked with Yellow Bird Project years before when she created a T-shirt to raise awareness about ALS. Yellow Bird co-founders Casey Cohen and Matthew Stotland approached Calder to see if she’d be the topic of their first feature film.

“I spent a week going ‘I don’t know, I don’t know.’ In my heart I knew it was a good idea, but I didn’t know If was ready to emotionally commit.”

The film, titled A Matter of Time, was filmed in 2012, and followed Calder as she prepared for an epic concert at the Royal BC Museum’s Old Town in honour of Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day (July 4).

Victoria-born director and editor Brent Hodge did a rough cut of the film, but Yellow Bird Project ran out of money, says Calder, so they put together a trailer and launched a Kickstarter campaign in late June.(

Three days into the campaign, they had already raised $17,000 of the $50,000 goal.

“I was surprised,” says Calder. “It’s a really important cause to me, but I wasn’t aware how important it is to other people as well. I had never heard of ALS before my mother was diagnosed. You just never know how many people are out there dealing with the same thing.”

“It’s cathartic for me,” says Calder. “I’ve been talking about it on and off, but it’s been four years, and I’m only just now feeling more at ease talking about it. It’s such a traumatic thing for a whole family ... it’s one of the most important things I’ve ever done.”

Calder is playing a show July 13 at Lucky Bar to raise money and awareness for Girls Rock Camp Victoria, a six-day camp (scheduled for August 2014) that teaches girls ages 8-18 to play an instrument, sing (or scream), write a song and perform it with a band in front of a live audience.

Calder has been involved with Girls Rock Camp Vancouver and says it was one of her favourite experiences of 2012. When she heard the camp was coming to Victoria, she signed on to perform at their fundraiser event, alongside Mourning Coup.

Calder is also playing on the main stage on the legislature lawn for the annual Canada Day celebration alongside Hey Ocean!, Acres of Lions and the Odds.

Kathryn Calder

with Mourning Coup

Saturday, July 13

Lucky Bar (517 Yates)

Doors at 7:30 p.m. $10


About the Author: Black Press Media Staff

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