Kris Demeanor makes beautiful music with Calgary Drop-In Centre

Working with centre's artist-in-residence Kris Demeanor, Drop-In Centre clients will perform an original show of music and poetry on Saturday night.

The Drop-In Centre's artist-in-residence collaborates with clients for Sled Island performance

Kris Demeanor is the artist-in-residence at the Calgary Drop-In Centre. (Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Center)

Some clients of the Calgary Drop-In Centre are taking part in this year's Sled Island festival.

Alongside the centre's artist-in-residence, Kris Demeanor, they'll perform an original work of music and poetry on Saturday night.

Named after the 1975 Bob Dylan song, Shelter From the Storm, the performance is a window into the everyday reality of Calgary's homeless community.

Mar Sims (left), a songwriter and cliet on the drop-in centre, with Calgary poet and musician Kris Demeanor (right). (Danielle Nerman/CBC)

"We're talking about some of the lifestyles of some of the bottle pickers out there," said Mark Sims, a client of the Drop-In Centre involved in the show.

"It gave me an opportunity to share the stories of my neighbours. And there are some tragic stories." 

Sims, who is a songwriter and has competed in several amateur karaoke contests, gave Calgary Eyeopener listeners a preview of the show on Friday morning.

Kris Demeanor says his goal for the project was to try and express as many different themes and stories about life on the streets as possible.

Drop-In Centre clients and volunteers practice "Shelter from the Storm" and original work of music and poetry. (Calgary Drop-In & Rehab Center)

"There's nothing that debunks misconceptions and shatters prejudices — than very specific personal stories. And that's what I think we've really managed to tap into."

Sims says the project also allowed him to show his gratitude for the Drop-In Centre.

"We're really expressing how the Drop-In Centre has really embraced us and really embraced our situations. We all deal with many chemical and alcoholic dependencies where we need guidance."

Shelter From the Storm debuts Saturday, June 27, on the sixth floor of the Calgary Drop-In Centre. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m.


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