Singer-songwriter Joel Kleine is living with a ticking time bomb – Friedreich’s ataxia.
It is an inherited disease that causes progressive damage to the nervous system with symptoms ranging from speech problems to difficulties walking. It can also lead to heart disease and diabetes, but does not affect thought processes.
However, the former St. Albert resident refuses to lie down and let the disease take control of his life. Although wheelchair bound, Klein continues to teach a Grade 5 class part time at Edmonton public schools and is the bass player for Bombproof the Horses.
Since Kleine’s diagnosis seven years ago, members of his church, Christian Reformed Church of St. Albert and the community at large have helped build a wheel-chair friendly home in Starling located just south of the Enjoy Centre.
Now Kleine wants to give back. He is mounting a Concert for CureFA.org, a benefit concert where 100 per cent of the ticket proceeds will go to Friedreich’s Ataxia Research Alliance.
“I don’t know how long I’ll be able to do this. We tend to do runs and walks to raise awareness. But I like to play music, so let’s do some music to raise money and awareness,” Kleine says.
His own band, Bombproof the Horses, as well as F&M, The Gibson Block, Two Bears North and Jesse Northey will be featured on Saturday, April 5 at Avenue Theatre.
In addition, Avatar Media is planning to capture live footage of Bombproof the Horses and The Gibson Block. They are billed as part of the multi-media company’s Secret Set List, a TV music series airing later on Telus Optik.
The concert itself is an eclectic menu of some of the area’s most authentic sounds. Folk singer Jesse Northey has what Kleine calls, “a good rootsy sound. Everything about him sounds real. It’s not fake whatsoever.”
The duo F&M crosses folk, pop and rock focusing on intense lyrics and melodies while Two Bears North delivers an upbeat pop sound with catchy hooks and a hint of darkness.
The Gibson Block is straight ahead rock and Bombproof the Horses delivers imaginative indie rock, a reflection of its unique name.
Laughingly, Kleine explains that the band’s name is borrowed from a traditional term in the equestrian world. It is a technique that trains skittish horses from panicking at unforeseen noises or circumstances.
“I like the meaning of not being spooked and building up a thicker skin and that’s important in my life. I like the idea that it’s (the term) been around for ages but no one really knows about it.”
Kleine was inspired to mount the benefit concert after Justin Bieber met with Amanda Renneberg, a young girl who also suffers from Friedreich’s ataxia. The ensuing tsunami of news reports and social media comments instantly boosted awareness for the neuromuscular disease.
“Since Amanda’s meeting with Justin Bieber, I want to keep awareness in the news.”
Bombproof the Horses, with the talents of Remco Dalmaijer (guitar-singer), Darrel Roy (guitar) and Richard Visscher (drummer), will also have a soft release of their four-song EP The Ground, The Sky.
Both Kleine and Dalmaijer are the chief songwriters. Kleine describes himself as a straight-ahead romantic that writes songs inspired by his wife, whereas Dalmaijer paints his stories with a more ethereal approach.
“We’re very down to earth. We don’t let ourselves get pretentious. We know our weaknesses and we know our strengths. These are songs that come from our heart and we enjoy what we do. The songs are very personal, but they also reach out to other people.”
That’s precisely the formula Avatar Media wished to explore in their Secret Set List. Approximately 40 groups submitted their names for consideration, but only six were chosen for the first series.
“The submissions were based on musicianship, but also on their stories and the challenges they had to overcome,” says Jaro Malanowski, founder and executive director of Avatar Media.
“Bombproof not only had strong music, but they also worked hard to do other things in the community,” Malanowski adds.
“As for Gibson Block, we were blown away by them. Two months ago we went to see their EP release. It was a magical night. They blew everyone away. It was a great show, their energy, their music.”
St. Albert resident and cinematographer Braydon Regimbald is directing the concert shoot. Directing up to seven camera operators, Regimbald will shoot with Red Epic cameras, the same model that shot The Hobbit, Malanowski notes.
“It looks beautiful. It’s great in low light and it’s ultra HD. We’re also putting together a DVD and Blue-ray mixed with 5.1 surround sound. At your home theatre, you will experience the concert in its full glory.”
For further information on the concert contact Kleine at bombproofthehorses @gmail.com. Anyone with inquiries on the series can Google secretsetlist.ca.
Concert for CureFA.org
Bombproof the Horses, Jesse Northey, F&M, Two Bears North and The Gibson Block
Saturday, April 5, doors 8 p.m., concert 8:30 p.m.
9030 – 118 Ave.
Tickets: Advance $13 plus ticket fee, door $18. Tickets at Blackbyrd Myooski or yeglive.com