The song was created with the help of Saskatchewan singer-songwriter Megan Nash as part of a unique “Culture Days” experience.
Nash was in town to work with Grade 6 students from both Shaunavon Public School and Christ the King School to create a song inspired by what students see when they visit the Grand Coteau Centre. A total of about 30 kids, including some Grade 5 students from CKS, were involved in the project.
The end result was a toe-tapping winner that paid homage to the Centre’s importance to the community and its wide assortment of services, programs and activities.
“It was pretty neat to see how it all worked and how they started putting verses together,” said Wendy Thienes, the Director of the Grand Coteau Heritage and Cultural Centre. “The boys and girls were all pretty eager to get involved and contribute.”
The song, entitled “Meet Me At The Grand Coteau”, featured several verses highlighting different activities and features at the Grand Coteau Centre, including references ranging from birch bark biting and African drumming to Frank the Bison and the Parade of Lights. And like any good popular music, there is even a couple of cutting edge lyrics, like the line about “boring math.”
Still, the song was all in good fun and the kids had a blast offering their suggestions for the tune.
The chorus read:
“Meet me at the Grand Coteau,
The place that we love to go,
One thousand things to see and do,
We love our Centre, we welcome you.”
“It was interesting to hear the ideas that are in their heads about coming to the Centre,” said Thienes. “The Centre is a community facility and the kids really have an awareness of that.”
The whole effort was led by Nash, a talented singer/songwriter who has been described as having an honest insight into a young woman’s old soul with a powerful, moving voice.
Nash, whose mother grew up in Eastend, has opened for the likes of Serena Ryder, Amelia Curran, The Heartbroken and Del Barber. She has toured the majority of Canada including the Northwest Territories. Nash’s country background is evident in her style but her songs are heavily influenced by artists such as Neko Case and Stevie Nicks. Nash currently lives in Palmer, Sask., located near Gravelbourg.
Nash was joined in the project by Yellowknife performer/artist, Mary Caroline, who is orginally from Climax.
The duo also took part in similar songwriting workshop on Saturday that was open to teens and adults. The workshop coincided with the final day of the Farmer’s Market, culminating with a lunch and performance of the songs created.
Nash shared the creative nature of songwriting in an effort to help participants learn more about the process and offer some insight and understanding of everything involved.
Megan will also be returning to Shaunavon in January as part of the Stars for Saskatchewan Arts Council series for a performance in the gallery at the Centre. The Shaunavon Arts Council and Shaunavon & District Music Festival have contributed funds towards these workshops in addition to the Centre receiving a Culture Days grant through SaskCulture.
Celebrating its 5th Anniversary, Culture Days will be celebrated in hundreds of cities and towns from coast to coast to coast, with thousands of free activities from a wide range of disciplines including: visual arts, music, dance, theatre, architecture, heritage, film and video, literature, culinary arts and new media. Over 5.5 million Canadians have participated in 25,000 Culture Days activities hosted by 4,440 Canadian artists, cultural organizations and groups since 2010.