Alberta Heritage Music Project

The Alberta Heritage Music Project aims to connect youth and seniors in the sharing of musical memories from the seniors’ teenaged years (can also be from when they were younger or a little older). The story-memories are then recreated through music, dancing, acting, sets, costumes and community involvement.

The goal, when Nathene Arthur started this program, was to build relationships between the generations, and illustrate how music can bind people together, and how strong it is in our memories. All four projects to date in Cochrane, Red Deer and Fort McMurray met with great success and feedback. Many volunteers donated their time and effort to put them together.  As an AMEF program, help will be available through both Coordinators of the Project; Nathene Arthur and Cara Brown, and also through the office. 

See the Step-by-Step Guide on how to bring this program to your community.

Interested groups and individuals are being encouraged to plan well in advance to assist AMEF in budgeting and finding funding for the Project. 

For more information:
T: 780-409-8407 or info@amef.ca

PROGRAM COORDINATORS: 

Nathene Arthur | COCHRANE
narthur@telus.net

Cara Brown | FT. McMURRAY
carabrown1@mac.com


AHMP 2009

The Alberta Heritage Music Project from the eyes and heart of AMEF Board Chair Cara Brown

I have been a studio voice teacher in Fort McMurray for 5 1/2 years, and launching the Alberta Heritage Music Project has been one of the best decisions I have made in this capacity.

All of the voice students were not only receptive, but generous of their time and spirit during the interview process that took place in February of 2009. They were eager to prepare and perform the story memories from the seniors that they met and talked with. I watched all of them, without exception, be gracious and attentive with this generation that they may have thought they had nothing in common with.

And yet, they most certainly did. They were transformed when they laughed and shared intimate moments with people sharing their love of music and dancing

Cara Brown with participants of Alberta Heritage Music Project Cara Brown [center] with participants of Alberta Heritage Music Project

I was extremely fortunate to work with a supportive and enthusiastic team. Nathene Arthur shared her expertise and guided me through the process. My supervisor at the Keyano College Conservatory, Sharon Price, was immediately responsive to this and helped in the planning and organizing of all aspects. Tim Moen, who agreed to be our videographer, was caring and creative in the interviews and the editing of the video, and brought a team of volunteers together to help with lighting and capturing the performance as well.

I believe the Alberta Heritage Music Project is a well thought-out and heartfelt project. It has the ability to strengthen and touch students and seniors and their families, and entire communities. I would encourage anyone that has a love of music, and believes that it adds colour and intensity to our lives, to take part in the Alberta Heritage Music Project in your community!


AHMP 2007

Bethany Care Lodge | Cochrane, Alberta

The Alberta Heritage Project for 2007 was held in Cochrane, Alberta at the Bethany Care Lodge, May 27, 2007. It was a four-part project.

Part I was back in March 2007 when several teenage music students interviewed 14 seniors at the Lodge about the musical memories they had from their childhood and teenage years.

Part II was April until May 26th when these and other students chose which stories they would like to be part of — for various reasons. Sometimes they already knew that song (like Mairzy Doats or Blue Skies); other times there was something about the senior themselves (the teen and the interviewer had a bond) or the story line caught their interest. Other times it came down to a matter of skill — can I do ballroom dancing? Or can I play in a marching band? Rehearsals were held in private homes, with teachers, with bands, in dance studios, and at Bethany Care Lodge on Saturday, May 26th, for a drop in by-appointment rehearsal on the stage. There were still program and performer changes happening right up to May 26th, and in one instance, in the middle of the Concert itself! We got a reporter from the Cochrane Times to do an interview the week before, and there was a half-page article with a picture in the Cochrane Times May 23, 2007.

Part III was the Concert itself. It started at 2 pm and ended at 4 pm. We had originally hoped to be done within 1 1/2 hours because we feared losing the audience. As it turned out, for the first time ever in the memory of the directors at Bethany Care, every single senior stayed and was totally involved in the production until the very end. Both the Recreation Assistant, Shari Jefferies, and the Bethany Administrator, Barb Fredrich, made a point of stating how amazed they were at the level of interest, involvement and sense of happiness the seniors displayed during and after this Concert, even “the difficult seniors who are normally very critical and unhappy with life in general” were vocally and visibly positive and talking about this Concert with enthusiasm for days afterward. As in the past AHMP, during the concert there was much applause, clapping, foot tapping, many tears, some hooting, and many, many smiles and laughter. The performers really went the extra mile and rose to the occasion, many of them never having been on a stage before; some as young as 4 years old, and others professional CPO members who traveled from Calgary and farther to take part.

Part IV involved the production of a DVD video which will be used to promote the AHMP across Alberta and Canada. We are currently in the process of getting the recording rights to as many of the songs as possible so they may be legally included into that DVD. All performers signed a waiver that allowed their image to be used in the DVD without further recompense. The DVD will include portions of the interviews, rehearsals, concert, a short on how to do an interview and a short recap by the Director at the end.

This project was a win-win for all involved, and made a very real difference in the lives of all involved. It was one of those things that we do in life that we know is the right thing to do. Although it was rather labour intensive at times, the end result was beyond price ... we did get to sleep eventually, and our dreams are the dreams of those who know they made the world a better place, if just for a little while, and we will be the better person for our labours.

For AHMP 2007,
Nathene Arthur
| Director

Letters of support from citizens of Ft. McMurray:

Music is the art which is most nigh to tears and memory.  –Oscar Wilde