Death of a child inspires musician

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A trip to Romania helped Andrew Christopher decide music was his life.

The one-time drummer who had picked up the guitar took it with him to the Eastern European country, where he found himself singing for the children at a camp where he worked.

That job, finished, he headed to England, tried busking —  and found himself heading to New Zealand and Australia, guitar in hand, guitar case open for donations.

Back in Canada for four years, many British Columbians know him as a member of Pardon My Striptease (PMS) but, this year, he took on a solo project.

It’s what’s bringing him to Kamloops for a show on Wednesday, Dec. 5, at The Dirty Jersey.

Going solo for a while was a way to deal with the emotions he was experiencing as his young daughter was treated for brain cancer.

“Music seemed to be my only outlet,” Christopher said.

“I quit my job that I was on leave from as a support worker with disabled adults and decided to focus all my energy and emotion on music.

“PMS on its own wasn’t going to pay the bills so, for no other reason than money, I started playing more solo gigs and busking.

“I realized then that I really had a passion for my own style of music, the songs that are too girly or mellow for PMS.”

He recorded his songs with PMS guitarist Brendan Woodroof, was delighted with the results and is, as he put it, “running with it.”

The recording is called Gone, the name of a song Christopher wrote about a youngster who had become friends with his daughter, Lilee-Jean, at B.C. Children’s Hospital.

“We just received news that her friend Maddison was not going to make it,” Christopher said.

“They were putting her up in Canucks Place to make her last few weeks comfortable.

“LJ was sleeping in her crib right beside my bed at the hotel and the sadness for Maddison, and fear for Lilee-Jean consumed me entirely.

“I wrote the song in silence, as odd as that sounds, to make sure I didn't wake LJ.

“The next day I got to play it aloud and I broke down completely.

“Music is an incredible thing and I just want to share mine with everyone.”

Admission to the show is $5. For $10, you’ll also get a CD.

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