Zakkaree Coss was the spark that lit many lives, from those of his blended family to his band, North By Nature Collective.
The Port Alberni man, who would have been 23 on Dec. 7, lived life at his own pace; he grew up around music, but never played a musical instrument. He loved to write poetry and found rap music was the perfect outlet for his creativity.
“He was good at singing but didn’t do it often,” bandmate and friend Nik Vance said.
“He had an ability to embrace his silly side,” recalls his mother, Kim Blake.
“Zakk rarely asked for anything. If he asked for something you know it was important.”
Last April, the unfathomable happened: Zakk died in a car accident, leaving his family and friends stunned.
Blake and Zakk’s brothers, Neil, Dallas and Nolan, were coasting through their grief when Neil said they needed a focus, so the family began thinking about a fundraiser.
Lance Goddard approached the family about putting on the Five-Acre Shaker, an outdoor concert/party that Zakk and Nik had always wanted to do.
The first event drew 1,000 people over one weekend and featured musicians like DNA6, whose MC Dosia (aka Brett von Brendel) is from Port Alberni. North By Nature Collective performed, dubbing in Zakk’s voice.
Goddard has donated proceeds from two Shakers now to the Zattzoo Project (Zakk’s childhood nickname was Zattzoo), which will raise money for a youth music program in the Alberni Valley.
Jess Towers, who runs the Nights Alive program at Glenwood Centre, has an idea for a “Battle of the Bands” program for youth bands. She will start sometime in the new year. The winner of the program will get to play at next year’s Five-Acre Shaker.
Blake is grateful that Towers is willing to take on the project. “The Zattzoo Project is family; it’s family trying to heal,” says Blake.
“I had a loss and I was looking to heal, hold a focus and have an event.”
Fans of North By Nature are welcome to come to the Rainbow Room this Saturday, Dec. 6 for An Evening With Zakkaree. Tickets are $10 each (available at Cloud City on Third Avenue but not at the door) and there will be two shows: an all-ages event at 7 p.m. and a 19-plus event at 10 p.m.
Coss’s nephew Maddux Ward will be selling his artwork and there will be a silent auction, door prizes and a 50-50 raffle.
For more info, check out The ZattZoo Project on Facebook.