The legacy of a visionary musician and environmental crusader has reached a generational milestone. Teenaged musicians now eligible for grants from the Daniel Kingsbury Music for Youth Endowment were not yet born when Kingsbury created a fund to equip emerging Sunshine Coast artists.
“He felt so deeply and so strongly,” said Bronia Kingsbury, Daniel’s mother. “Music was the portal to his soul, there’s no question about it.”
In 2005, Daniel Kingsbury, then a Grade 12 student at Chatelech Secondary School, recruited a group of friends to record and release a double CD of original music under the banner Waking Life Records.
That fall, they donated over $8,000 from the album’s sales to the Sunshine Coast Community Services Society. The funds became the Music for Youth endowment, which annually distributes support to Sunshine Coast youth who require financial assistance for fulfilling their musical goals.
The following year, money pledged by CKAY-FM to the Coast Cultural Alliance was added. The sum was transferred to the Sunshine Coast Community Foundation, with annual interest payments disbursed to selected applicants.
Now in its 15th year and supplemented by further donations, the endowment’s capital value has reached $43,000. Over $14,200 has been distributed to applicants to date.
Following Kingsbury’s death in 2015 at the age of 28, the fund was renamed in his honour.
One year before, Kingsbury delivered a keynote speech at an event recognizing high achievers on the Sunshine Coast. He chronicled his early experiences as a visual artist, filmmaker, touring musician and ultimately founder of the Jellyfish Project, a still-thriving environmental nonprofit that uses rock music to spur youth into action for the climate.
“As performers, we believe that it’s a privilege to appear on stage and play music in front of people,” said Kingsbury in his 2014 remarks. “With that privilege comes a responsibility to speak to the issues that are important to us and to carry on the great tradition of using music as a tool for social, political, and environmental change.”
In the weeks before his death, Kingsbury recorded dozens of his original songs and uploaded them to the Internet. “We have this really big bathroom,” said Bronia, “it’s sort of a temple in a way. It has pretty good acoustics and [Daniel] just sang into his computer and then uploaded it all directly to SoundCloud.”
One of the endowment’s recent beneficiaries, Solomon Hergesheimer, spent time listening to Kingsbury’s tracks. “His stuff is inspiring,” Hergesheimer said, “and his legacy is inspiring. [Through it] I got to know that people were believing in me.” Hergesheimer, a vocalist and guitarist, is now in his senior year at Chatelech and used a grant from the Music for Youth fund to purchase recording equipment.
Multi-instrumentalist Jack Davis, 19, received funding for rental of a standup bass. “Honestly, it’s such a big thing for youth to have access to things like this,” said Davis, who last weekend played two shows with local rock band Belt. “I would have never had nearly as much ability to play the bass as I do now if I didn’t have that [grant]. And I remember many fond memories of being up on stage with my family band playing the standup bass.”
Daniel Claudepierre, 15, who in 2023 won the Composition Award for Piano at the Sunshine Coast Festival of the Performing Arts, used a Kingsbury grant last summer to attend a jazz camp run by the Vancouver School of Music. “It helped me do something I typically wouldn’t be able to do,” said Claudepierre. At the camp, he received instruction from acclaimed jazz pianist Miles Black, who performs regularly on the Sunshine Coast. “He was an amazing mentor,” recalled Claudepierre.
Kingsbury’s own words foreshadowed such experiences. “It was through my experiences in childhood milestones… that ignited my own desire to be a volunteer and give back to my community,” he said in 2014, “an ongoing theme in my life that has become a core value and an identity.”
Applications for the 2024 Daniel Kingsbury Music For Youth Endowment Grant are being received until Feb. 23. Information is available online at coastculture.com.