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Musician Luke Wallace collaborates with 3 Shuswap schools for CBC entry

‘We have something to say, and that is to thank the people who help protect our land every day’

By Barb Brouwer

Contributor

Music has the power to move people in many ways.

Three School District #83 music teachers and 225 students are hoping judges in CBC’s 2023 Canadian Music Class Challenge will be moved to include their rendition of “Turning the Tide” in the list of winners.

Every year, CBC Music in association with MusiCounts, the charity of the Juno Awards, challenges music educators from across Canada to teach their students a song from a pre-approved list of Canadian songs.

Once a class performance of the song has been captured on video, they send it to CBC Music where it is posted it on their YouTube channel

Bastion Elementary music teacher Shannon MacLachlan chose “Turning the Tide” by West Coast composer and songwriter Luke Wallace. When she heard that Hillcrest Elementary music teacher Hannah Carrier had chosen the same song, they decided to collaborate and include North Shuswap music teacher Zachary Power.

“After our region was ravaged by forest fires last summer, we felt that, as a district that we needed to come together to empower students to ‘turn the tide’ on climate change,” said MacLachlan. “We have something to say, and that is to thank the people who help protect our land every day.”

Because the original lyrics are very much West Coast related, MacLachlan wrote to the composer asking him if he would be willing to adapt the song for the Shuswap.

Not only did Wallace readily agree, he wanted to get input from the Grade 4 and 5 students about what mattered to them and what they love the most about where they live.

A massive Zoom call was set up between the composer and students from the three schools and ideas were plentiful. As a result, Wallace adapted the last three verses to include smoky skies, bears, salmon, Mother Nature being let down and hope that it’s not too late to save the planet.

These are the Shuswap verses:

Walking down to the water, follow the signs

Feel the wind and the sun as it shines

Put my feet in the river, and I start to shiver

Thinking about all the cedars and pines

We are the singers, singing our song,

‘til the whole world is singing along

Like turning the Tide

I’m in love with the mountains, in love with the lakes

I’m gonna give more than I’ll ever take

I’m in love with the salmon, in love with the bears

I think of the trees as I breathe in the air

I’m in love the feeling, the feeling I get

It’s a feeling I could never forget, like turning a tide

I see Mother Nature, being let down,

I think of my home and I think of my town

And I thank all the people, keeping us safe,

I’ve got hope that it isn’t too late

We are the singers, singing our song,

‘til the whole world is singing along

Like turning the Tide

“Our intention was to empower them to understand that even though it seems hopeless, they can work together and they can get through hard times together,” said MacLachlan, pointing out students were very excited to be working with a celebrity, especially one who has appeared at Roots and Blues.”They loved the idea of going to the North Shuswap so we could invite the Anglemont Fire Hall to attend. “We Like to foster making people happy and bringing them together.”

Rehearsals began in early September and on Nov. 16, the song was recorded at the Scotch Creek Campground where they thanked the heroes of the devastating Bush Creek East wildfire for their part in protecting North Shuswap properties.

The day was made more festive by the appearance of Graham Gomme, president of the North Okanagan Teachers Association, who showed up with coffee and more than 1,000 Timbits.

“I was so pleased how it all come together and the patience the group had,” said MacLachlan, noting the 225 kids were sitting on gravel for some time while cameras and microphones were set up.

“They had a lot of patience, kept their smiles and sang beautifully.”

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More than 200 students from three Shuswap schools – Bastion, Hillcrest and North Shuswap – collaborated on a music video for the Luke Wallace song Turning the Tide, for this year’s Canadian Music Class Challenge. The video was recorded at the Scotch Creek Campground where the students thanked some of the heroes of the devastating Bush Creek East wildfire for their part in protecting North Shuswap properties. (School District 83 image)




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