Fanning the flames it has sparked, IGNITE! continues to match emerging and established artists with an inaugural fundraiser called Side by Side.
Seventeen-year-old musician Kate Kurdyak is looking forward to sharing the stage with seasoned dancer Vanessa Goodman of The Contingency Plan contemporary dance collective at the Feb. 13 event held at the Cultch.
“I’m excited to see all of the other artists, as well as perform there, and I’m really excited for the collaboration because we’ve never played and had dancers make up choreography to our music,” Kurdyak said.
The Cultch’s IGNITE! Mentorship Program gives aspiring young artists a chance to hone their craft and be mentored by some of the city’s leading artists, free of charge.
Side by Side will match contemporary dancers, including Tara Cheyenne Friedenberg, Noam Gagnon and Amber Funk Barton, with six indie bands, including The Sumner Brothers.
Kurdyak sent a selection of tracks to Goodman, who will dance to Kurdyak’s song “Minefield.”
Kurdyak writes the lyrics and music, sings lead vocals, plays keyboard and guitar, and is backed by a band of six to produce what she describes as a mix of pop and alternative music.
Kurdyak and three bandmates are in Grade 12, while three members are in Grade 9. “We’re very teen,” the resident of West Point Grey said.
Kurdyak and three others attend Byng Arts mini school and most of them are classically trained. “My cellist, we actually found him at my little brother’s cello recital,” she said. “I heard him play there and I went up to him afterwards and was like, ‘Hey, you were wonderful. Would you like to join my band.’”
Kurdyak and her band played the Summer Playland Festival and won Youthink Magazine’s B.C.’s Best Teen Band contest last year.
Prior to the win, Kurdyak benefited from the IGNITE! Mentorship Program.
“The best part was definitely working with the mentors,” Kurdyak said. “I still am in contact with Kathryn [Calder] and she helps me when I’m looking for advice and so does Aidan [Knight.] He came over to my house and we just worked through songs.”
Kurdyak and her band are recording an EP that’s slated for release in June with Jay Evjen of Juicemix Productions, who’s worked with Hot Hot Heat. Kurdyak hopes to follow that release with a “mini tour” of B.C.
In the meantime, the daughter of two family doctors is applying to music school at the University of B.C. “I’m really hoping to take a gap year,” she said. “I want to write as many songs as I possibly can and just see what I can do with this music thing.”