“The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has always been my favourite charity,” says notable Cranbrook musician Ferdy Belland. “I’ve always wanted to produce and promote a fundraising concert for the local East Kootenay branch, but I never found the time until I heard the sad story of poor Claude the cat. And that did it. I made the time, for Claude and for the cause.”
Belland’s fundraising concert – named Clamor for Claude – will be held Saturday, November 16 at Auntie Barb’s Bakery (217 Cranbrook St. N.). The show will run 5:30 p.m.-12 a.m. and features a long list of some of the best musical talent currently active in the combined Kimberley-Cranbrook arts community: classic rockers Split / Shift, songwriting giant Jamie Neve, SheVa (Van and Shelagh Redecopp), ska-punk hero Kevin Honeyman, guitar virtuoso Keith Larsen, the Tall Timbers (Landon Schira and Drew Prinn), country darling Trena Spears, rising folk artist Jessica Gareau, and Belland himself – performing with wife Erin Dalton, bass legend Earl Banman, and Zero People drummer Joel Gagnon.
“It was so heartwarming for me to see this huge enthusiastic response from my friends in the local music scene – the enthusiasm was startling. Everyone was almost stumbling over each other to take part,” said Belland. “Honestly, the entire lineup was solidified the day after I put the word out. The camaraderie around these parts is an awe-inspiring thing, to be sure.”
While known primarily as a high-quality bakery and bistro, Auntie Barb’s is also cultivating a growing parallel reputation as one of Cranbrook’s prime venues for live entertainment – having already hosted vaunted artists such as Leeroy Stagger, Avataar, Ryan McMahon, Tanya Lipscomb, Lion Bear Fox, and Felix Pastorius (son of jazz-fusion bass legend Jaco Pastorius). Helmed by the tireless husband-and-wife team of Barb Smythe and Tod DeBoice, it was a no-brainer for Belland to approach them to host the proposed event.
“Barb and Tod are just awesome,” he said. “You’ll never meet a better pair of community-minded people, and the fact that they agreed to the idea right away, without hesitation, made me feel all warm and fuzzy…like Claude!”
Claude is the name given to an orange-and-white domestic shorthair house cat who was abandoned on the remote doorstep of the East Kootenay SPCA offices on Highway 3 in August, suffering from a broken sternum – a grievous injury possibly delivered from a human kick. Extensive and expensive veterinary surgery was required to save Claude, who has since completely recovered and is now in the loving arms of an adoptive family in Cranbrook.
“By the time the dust settled from us hurrying all the logistics together for the concert, we found out the EKSPCA had already covered Claude’s vet bills with an online fundraising campaign of their own,” Belland explained. “Which was great news, of course! But the show goes on in Claude’s name. The SPCA can take whatever money we raise and use it for whatever they need. There’s never a bad reason to donate to a good cause.”
Clamor for Claude will see the participating performers pass through the stage in 20-minute cycles. “It’s the same audience experience you get when you see homegrown coffeehouse shows in Kimberley, or locals shows in Cranbrook,” explained Belland. “Think of it as a miniature version of Live Aid!”
The underlying emotional reasoning for the event rings true for everyone. “You can better gauge your own worth as a human being by the way you treat helpless, defenseless animals who trust humans,” said Belland.
“All the horrible news stories I hear about puppy mills, or crazy loners with a hundred starving cats, or whatever cruel, sadistic crap that pops up every other day – it bothers me. It saddens me. It doesn’t give me a glowing admiration about human nature. People are lousy enough to other people without succumbing to savage cruelty to beings who can’t defend themselves. Every little act of kindness and compassion we can muster takes a little chunk of darkness away from the world.”
Clamor for Claude happens Saturday November 16 (5:30 p.m.-12:00 a.m.) at Auntie Barb’s Bakery (217 Cranbrook St. N.). All ages welcome.
Admission: $10 advance, $15 door (with any additional donations gratefully accepted). Tickets available at Auntie Barb’s, Huckleberry Books (Cranbrook), and Sprout Grocery (Kimberley Platzl).