Raising Our Voices – Whistler’s Celebration of International Women’s Day returns for its fifth year on March 8!
Raising Our Voices will bring together over 20 local female performers to celebrate Women through music and raise money for the Howe Sound Women’s Centre in the process. The evening welcomes everyone, regardless of age and gender, to come together at the Maury Young Arts Centre for a fun-filled night with live music, dancing and more.
Meet Some of the Voices of Whistler’s International Women’s Day:
We caught up with a few of the celebration’s performers, Catherine Batchelor, Laura Nedelak, Susan Holden and Jody Wilson, all of whom have all participated in Raising Our Voices since its inception and will be part of the action again on March 8, 2019. Read on as the women dish on their musical style, careers, influences and why they love being part of this fantastic event.
Could you give us a little detail on your musical style and career?
I like to think of myself as a part-time rock star. I’m mostly influenced by rock but I have found myself enjoying a multitude of different genres. As for my career, I played in your typical garage band very briefly back home in New Zealand. Over the last 18 years in Whistler I have played in a few different bands led by the lovely and talented Susan Holden, initially playing guitar but more recently behind the drums. I’ve had the pleasure of backing up Barbed Choir a couple of times and playing drums on a track for Laura Nedelak’s latest CD was a fun treat as well.
I’ve always loved songwriting; it is just as much cathartic as it is rewarding when others see their image through my musical lens. My first two albums were folk albums and my latest had elements of jazz, folk/pop and rock. Today I am leaning more into rock and with current technology, can improvise and have tons of fun on the fly.
I have been gigging for nearly 20 years now. Most of my performances have been in the Sea to Sky. As a solo artist, I enjoy playing farmers markets from Vancouver to Birken, anything small and intimate such as the clubhouse at Big Sky. I have been playing with Sean Rose, the co-founder of my band Poor Dirty Sylvia, for almost a decade now. Art Barrientos joined the band on bass, vocals and as a songwriter a few years back and more recently we have been joined by Ellen Domm (vocals and keys) and Andrew Alido (drums). The band has evolved over the decade and we have come to play a very eclectic mix of originals and covers. There’s some blues, gospel, country, folk, soul and rock throughout what play. Anything that is fun for an audience and has some great vocals works for us.
My passion has been music and song, since I started playing the guitar as a young teenager. I like slow colourful music, Latin, Gospel, R&B.
What does it mean to you to be part of this IWD celebration?
I love being part of the IWD celebration each year. Getting to meet, play music with and get to know a lot of amazing women throughout the rehearsal process is so much fun. Plus, it always feels good to help contribute to raising funds for such a great cause.
It’s an event I look forward to every year—honouring female musicians in our community while raising awareness and funds for the Howe Sound Women’s Centre.
I organized the first IWD musical celebration five years ago as a fundraiser for the HSWC and have done so every year after, so this event is near and dear to my heart. I can’t imagine not being part of the incredible musical showcase and fundraising event that it has become. This event means bringing together the Sea to Sky communities as well as the music community.
This Fundraiser is the creation of Susan Holden who has been the driving force with unrelenting energy and camaraderie. I have personally witnessed the evolution of this great event. It’s a real sense of “sisterhood” to get together in song and support each other. I love it that we can have so much fun while raising money for a worthy cause.
What are you looking forward to most about the event?
I’m looking forward to playing music with some very talented ladies and also to see what the event has in store for us this year. It just keeps getting better and better each year and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Appreciating other female musicians as they take the stage and drawing inspiration from their performances and creativity.
I look most forward to providing a well-supported performance opportunity for female musicians of all levels of experience. I can’t wait to discover the next emerging artist on the Sea to Sky music scene! Also, I really love to play the Maury Young Arts Centre stage with such a beautiful and appreciative audience. Oh, and I can’t wait to see how much money we can raise!
I get very inspired at this time of year, that exciting push to ‘work on a song’. I like to find a song that resonates with me, learn the guitar part and see if it works. I also like networking with other women to create an ensemble.
Can you tell us about a woman who has been influential to your music?
I would have to say that the woman who has been most influential to my music would be the aforementioned Susan Holden. We met and became friends when we worked together 17 or 18 years ago. She found out I played guitar and since then has brought me along with her through various different projects and band formats. Her drive and passion for music is truly inspirational. In the second year of the IWD Susan was looking for a female drummer and asked me if I would sit in behind the kit. That reignited my love for drumming and led to the opportunity to play with so many talented people at IWD and beyond.
Earliest influence: Carole King’s Tapestry album cover was reduced to sawdust I played it so much. Later, Cheryl Crow because of her “humble” beginnings as Michael Jackson’s backing vocalist and her songwriting, performance and bass guitar chops.
Lately, I’ve been taking singing lessons from Tammy Wynette and we’re making great progress.
Anita Burleson has been very helpful as a voice coach, I first met Anita when a couple of us were interested in learning to harmonize. Susan Holden has been a source of encouragement, organizing women to practice together and a great support to me personally. My childhood friend Leslie Malm is one of those natural musicians, she can just hear it! It’s great fun to get together with Leslie and just make music.
Do you have favourite local musical women we should check out?
There are so many to choose from. Of course Susan Holden with Poor Dirty Sylvia. Laura Nedelak. Emily Molloy. Lozen. Ellen Domm has a new acapella group Vocalicious she’s been working with and I look forward to hearing what they have to offer.
One of my favorite, local, female musicians is Cayley Alexander. I think you have already checked her out since she is part of the Arts Whistler team but wanted to give her props anyway!
There are so many talented female musicians in the Sea to Sky. Emily Molloy is one who always stands out for me as an authentic artist with great talent. Vocalicious is making their debut at this year’s IWD event and led by the incredibly talented Ellen Domm, I can’t wait to hear them sing! The March 8 event is a great place to find your next favourite female musician.
Raising Our Voices – Whistler’s 5th Annual Celebration of International Women’s Day | March 8, 2019
SEE FULL EVENT DETAILS AND PERFORMER LINEUP
Thank you to these four fantastic musical women for chatting with us.
If you want to learn more about them, check out some of their Arts Whistler profiles below and be sure to join them on March 8 at the Maury Young Arts Centre.