Entertainment

Northern Rain returns to Rock the Ridge

Northern Rain band members (from left): drummer Matthew Stockwell, lead guitarist/backup vocalist Matt Friesen, rhythm guitarist Bryan Miguel and lead vocalist/bassist Sam Hobeyn. - Colleen Flanagan/The News
Northern Rain band members (from left): drummer Matthew Stockwell, lead guitarist/backup vocalist Matt Friesen, rhythm guitarist Bryan Miguel and lead vocalist/bassist Sam Hobeyn.
— image credit: Colleen Flanagan/The News

Hockey, firefighting and drumming are not activities typically associated with heart problems.

But 18-year-old Northern Rain drummer and former minor hockey team captain Matt Stockwell is hardly typical.

Now that he’s a high school graduate and his heart surgery is out of the way, Stockwell is thinking about what his future might incorporate.

“I always thought I wanted to try firefighting but figured my heart might prevent that from happening,” he explains.

Stockwell was in B.C. Children’s Hospital in July for a four-and-a-half-hour surgical procedure called catheter ablation.

A medical procedure performed to treat some types of irregular heart rates, otherwise known as arrhythmia, catheter ablation is when surgeons guide a series of catheters into a blood vessel leading up to a person’s heart. Through a separate machine, they are able to send energy to the heart through one of the catheters. That in turn destroys small areas of heart tissue where abnormal heartbeats may cause an arrhythmia to start.

So impressed with the support he received from surgical and support staff, Stockwell was more than willing to take part again in the B.C. Children’s Hospital Foundation’s second annual fund-raiser Rock the Ridge.

Scheduled for Aug. 22 at Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall, this year’s Rock the Ridge’s concert roster includes six up-and-coming young bands, of which three – The Basement, And a Little Guitar and returning group Ria Jade – are from Maple Ridge.

Concert promoter Sara Stanley says the event raised $1,100 for the foundation last year. She picked the event’s charitable organization recipient based on a personal experience she recalled vividly.

“I am a recent graduate of Garibaldi Secondary School, but finishing Grade 11, I became aware of a classmate who had recently been diagnosed with cancer,” she said. “I followed her journey through Instagram – where she would constantly be posting photos from her room at B.C. Children’s. Her courage to post those photos inspired the event. I have always loved music and had realized the foundation would benefit greatly from a charity concert.”

Stockwell’s band Northern Rain performed at Rock the Ridge last year. A drummer since his parents purchased him a flea market kit when he was six, Stockwell says they are excited to return to the event that they will be closing for this time around.

An alternative four-piece band with a rock-pop-punk fusion feel, Northern Rain, which has been compared to the band Hedley, has been writing its own songs since  beginning. The members have a collection of 17 live performance and promotional music videos, more than 1,000 Likes on their Facebook page, a demo album and another one on the way, several awards and dozens of gig credits to their name.

Although fans have already labelled them as one of B.C.’s best teen bands, their roots are still humble and include Stockwell’s parents helping with band promotion and practicing in his family’s living room two days a week.

“We have to kick them out for a few hours each time,” Stockwell says with a laugh.

Rock the Ridge

Rock the Ridge concert tickets are $10 and will be sold at the door, Aug. 22, at Pitt Meadows Heritage Hall, 6:30 p.m. They are also available at T's ( on 224th Street in Maple Ridge, G&G Music and Pet Planet Hwy, PMs.

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