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'We could never postpone'
Singer Katherine Woodford is happy she can finally perform at an International Woman's Day concert.
Hosted by the Every Woman's Centre in Sydney, the annual event which started in 1978, features live performances from some of Cape Breton's top female artists.
Woodford, 28, is the lead singer of the alternative rock band New Draft and a regular on stage. Her latest role is in the Highland Arts Theatre's show "Here Comes the Sun."
Concert organizer Wanda Earhart had seen Woodford perform in the dinner theatres at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay and asked her numerous times to perform at the yearly concert. Until this year, Woodford always had scheduling conflicts.
"I was relieved to hear they were able to figure that all out so they could have the concert in some way," said Woodford, a native of Glace Bay.
"It was long overdue for me as an artist to do something like this … (In the past) I've been kicking myself wishing my schedule wasn't already booked."
Being a woman in the music industry, she's has seen the male-dominated industry first-hand, particularly in the alternative rock genre.
"My partner and co-vocalist Tristen Baxter and I did a lot of covers at first. There wasn't very much out there for me because there aren't a lot of alternative rock singers who are women," Woodford said.
"A lot of times I questioned my place (in the genre) because I didn't see too many women represented."
Woodford hopes being part of the International Women's Day concert will help bring recognition to females in alternative rock.
"A day like International Women's Day is a day to remember we exist, we fit, we matter," she said. "These are conversations we should be having more often, reminding ourselves as women we do belong here, doing these things."
Earhart said they knew they would have to change the location of the annual concert this year because of COVID-19 health protocols but never considered cancelling.
"Oh goodness gracious, we could never postpone. This is just too important," said Earhart. "It never even occurred to us we wouldn't do something."
Fellow concert co-ordinator Maura Lea Morykot has been booking musical guests, which besides Woodford, will include Jenn Sheppard, Jordyn Crocker and the MacArthur School of Dance.
The performances are being pre-recorded along with video messages from guest speakers. Soundpark Studios and Nova Stream are overseeing the technical aspects of the show.
The virtual concert also includes some of the videos the Every Woman's Centre made for people during the stay-at-home orders in Nova Scotia.
"Here in Cape Breton, there are so many role models for women. For example, our mayor. In another time we wouldn't have seen a female mayor with her infant baby at city hall," Earhart said.
"Women have come a long way. We work with women every day who have come through struggles. They have shown how strong they are …(this concert) is celebrating all aspects of women's lives."
The virtual International Women's Day concert happens on March 8 at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on the Every Woman's Centre's Facebook page.
Nicole Sullivan is an immigration/diversity and education reporter for the Cape Breton Post.