It was a team effort to coordinate Big Lake’s student body for a songwriting and music video project.
Parent/volunteer/songwriter Shannon O’Donovan orchestrated the project and applied for the Cariboo Chilcotin Arts and Culture Society grant that hired folksinger Craig Cardiff and later videographer Rick Magnell. . Funds from the Big Lake School Parent Advisory Council also contributed to the project.
The songwriting workshop had been in development for four years, but delays piled up, preventing the original plan for an in-person event from happening.
But then Covid made distance learning the new normal and things came together for a two-day workshop via Zoom to write the school song.
Cardiff is based in Ontario, but he had organized a workshop that O’Donovan had heard about at her children’s school when she lived in Canmore, Alberta. and he has done workshops for schools across the country.
Big Lake School is Kindergarten to Grade 6, has about 40 students, and also has “wild school” status, focusing on connecting with the natural world.
“They’re definitely a fun group to work with,” said O’Donovan, who helped bring the whole project to life.
The song the pupils wrote with help from Cardiff highlights pupils’ outdoor learning and other strengths it has as a small rural school.
Once the song was written, the students memorized it in order to perform it in the school’s talent show, accompanied by O’Donovan and Casey Ladowsky, whose child also attends the school.
To learn the song, the students were also helped by bus driver Andrea MacDonald, who is also very musical, according to O’Donovan.
MacDonald played the song on a CD for children for two weeks before the show to help them memorize it. They then performed it for the parents at a talent show.
“It made a few people cry, so that was cool.” O’Donovan recounted of the performance.
The previous year, O’Donovan had directed an Earth Day music video with a song about climate change as part of an initiative by the Cariboo Chilcotin Conservation Society. This led her to the idea of turning the school song into a music video project as well.
“I really feel a lot of joy doing these music video projects with the kids,” O’Donovan said, adding that since there’s no other music program at school, it helps enhance the school curriculum. school art.
“The kids at the school are just amazing.”
School Principal Sari Small reported that student feedback she received from the workshop mostly started with the word “fun” and was very much about whole school participation and performing in front of an audience. .
CaribooRural CanadaSchool District #27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin)Williams Lake