Doug vanderHorden is a passionate man. He’s been playing music for well over 20 years as a frontman, singer, guitarist, drummer, and percussionist. More recently, he’s been Kingston’s loudest civilian voice about the realities of human trafficking with his organization Fighting Against Sex Trafficking, or F.A.S.T. 101.
On Saturday, vanderHorden will combine both of these passions for a show at The Embassy with Cambridge, Ontario’s Timea Nagy. Nagy is a sex trafficking survivor. Captured in 1998, she was forced to work as a prostitute for nearly four months before escaping. Since gaining her freedom, she has become one of Canada’s most prominent speakers and authors, working with police and service providers across the country to combat human trafficking.
The highlight of Nagy’s performance will be the live debut of a Hungarian song that she recorded in her native Hungary with legendary Hungarian pop producer Balázs Éry. The song, Life is Still Beautiful To Me, has been translated into English and re-worked slightly to better reflect Nagy’s passion for her cause. The show will not only mark Nagy’s first public musical performance in 27 years, it will be filmed as part of a documentary being made about her life and work.
To vanderHorden, the cause of human trafficking really touched him after watching a 2005 mini-series simply titled Human Trafficking.
“Kingston is not immune to it,” says vanderHorden. “We’ve had girls run into an agency on Division Street barefoot, messed up knees, whacked on heroin and running from a hotel room.” One local hotel, he points out, became suspicious of some guests. The hotel staff contacted the police who were able to get a 14-year-old girl, caught up in the sex trade, back home to her parents, along with apprehending two adult male suspects.
“Ninety three per cent of human trafficking victims in Canada are Canadians,” he explains. “They’re not coming from other countries into Canada to be exploited. They’re our own kids. They’re being lured into this as early as 12.”
Outside of the heavy subject matter, vanderHorden promises a fun show. Nagy’s set will feature bagpipes and drums from the honour guard of Kingston Police – a bit of a thank you to her for all of the education and insight she’s given to police forces across the country and locally.
VanderHorden’s set is a trip through covers from the 70s to the 90s, touching on Steve Miller, April Wine, Train, Neil Young, The Eurythmics, and more. His approach is a simple one.
“I said to myself, I’m just gonna learn all the songs that I’ve always wanted to play,” he explains. “And if anyone else wants to get up and play them with me, that’s awesome. The secret is to surround myself with better musicians.”
Catch Doug vanderHorden and Timea Nagy at The Embassy on Saturday, June 30 at 8 pm. Cover is $5 and includes a coffee or pop and a snack. All proceeds and additional donations go to F.A.S.T. 101.