Siren Stories coming to Cold Lake
Tuesday, Sep 05, 2017 06:00 am
It’s not an easy topic to approach, but one woman is hoping that through song, she can get Cold Lake talking about domestic violence.
As a teacher, Andrea Nixon saw the impact domestic violence can have on children. Now, as an Alberta singer/songwriter, through the use of music she hopes to be part of the change.
On Wednesday, Sept. 6, the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre (DMSCC) is bringing Nixon’s Siren Stories Tour to Cold Lake. Based on one of her original songs, Waiting for Sirens, the tour is visiting shelters across the province to create awareness and raise funds.
“It’s one of these things that is often hidden because it’s ugly. That’s human nature, we don’t want to look at the ugly. But, it’s important. I hope to develop this awareness that it’s something we need to talk about more often,” said Nixon.
The idea behind the song started as a personal journey for Nixon, who was searching for a way to connect with her students that were living in violent homes. Struggling to understand where they were coming from, she was able to relate back to her own childhood experiences.
“When I was a child, my dad was terminally ill. I would actually get up in the middle of the night and sit on the edge of my bed and wait for sirens,” Nixon recalled. “I just had this epiphany that they were doing that too.”
After being selected as a finalist for Project Wild, a partnership between Alberta Music and a Calgary radio station, when they presented a charity challenge, Nixon knew exactly what she wanted to do. Using some of the prize money, she decided to go on tour.
In addition to sharing her message through song, Nixon is working on a video series that gives frontline workers and survivors the chance to tell their story.
Much to her relief, the Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters jumped on board to help turn the tour into a reality.
“One of the women in a shelter actually asked me to sit down with her so she could share her story in person. We took a lot of submissions through written work, so actually sitting down with someone in person was really difficult to say the least,” Nixon expressed.
So far, Nixon has already been on the road for a couple of weeks, completing about half of her tour. Each performance is geared towards to the audience she’s playing for, be it frontline workers, those at a shelter, or the general public.
When she approached the DMSCC about bringing her tour to Cold Lake, the local crisis centre was thrilled to accept the invitation.
“Once she contacted me, I just thought this would be an amazing event for Cold Lake. People around here love the arts, love good music, and we really love what Beantree’s has been bringing to the community, so we partnered with them,” explained Serina Parsons, resource development coordinator for the DMSCC.
She added, “It was short notice, but I thought this is going to be a great event that people will love. Plus, we get to speak a little bit about what our organization does and how important the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre is in our community.”
The event itself will be held at Beantree’s Café starting at 7 p.m. Admission is by donation, with the proceeds going to help support Alberta women’s shelters, including the DMSCC.
Nixon noted that while she wants to spread a message, the tour is also a fundraising campaign for women’s shelters in the province. Asking for a wish list from every shelter, she hopes to show people that even the smallest donation will help.
“Some shelters, for example, need toilet paper, some need winter boots for kids, some need rec passes for adolescents; I want people to feel empowered that even with a $10 or $20 donation, they can make a difference.”
A cause close to her heart, Nixon has already committed to continue the Siren Stories Tour annually, but taking place in November to coincide with family violence prevention month.
For this year, Parsons encourages everyone to have a night out this Wednesday to listen to some great music, while supporting a worthy cause.