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On the program for Saturday June 25, 2011

On this Weekends' edition of Atlantic Airwaves - A feature on the debut solo instrumental recording from Donna Rhodenizer, 'Musically Yours' - and a feature on 'The Wood Buffalo Youth Song Project' from Keith Mullins, Thom Swift, Steven Bowers and the kids from ten schools in Northern Alberta.

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Mulitlpe award winner Donna Rhodenizer is an accomplished songwriter and composer. Her song lyrics sparkle with imagination and humour and reflect a writer who has the ability to reach into the imaginations and hearts of children (and their parents!). She is a music education specialist who has been teaching elementary school music for over 25 years. She has written three song collections with companion CDs for elementary level students as well as co-writing a fourth book with fellow writer/performer Andy Duinker. Drawing on her experience as a classical violinist and her traditional folk roots, Donna is getting ready to release her first solo instrumental recording titled 'Musically Yours'. This collection is a delightfully eclectic mix of gentle waltzes, toe-tapping fiddle tunes and beautiful melodies. Donna created the musical arrangements for all the songs as well as contributing her playing skills on violin/fiddle, piano and accordion; and invited some of Nova Scotia's finest musicians to join her to create this recording.

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A few years back, as a way to expand his school shows that he's been doing for the past ten years, Keith Mullins wanted to create something that was more along the lines of what he was all about. He approached Steven Bowers about creating a "Music Creation Workshop" for schools. He envisioned a presentation that was musical, educational, highly participational and could break down the mysterious walls of songwriting for the students. After doing about a dozen workshops around the Maritimes, he was blown away at how natural students are at songwriting, with a certain amount guidance of course.

Fast forward to last winter, when Keith and Steven were hired by the Municipality of Wood Buffalo in Northern Alberta to put on this music creation workshop and they were even able to bring Thom Swift along! The project is entitled "The Wood Buffalo Youth Song Project". They wrote 10 songs in 10 days, with 10 students in each of the 10 schools. They would start off by writing a song in one hour with the students. Then they would record the students singing that very song. After a one hour performance for the entire student body ending in the song they wrote, the three of three of them would head back to the hotel and finish off recording the tracks with more instruments and voices. Thom jokingly nicknamed the project "Daytona Songwriting 500″. At the beginning of the 10 days they had nothing. Dave Gunning, back home in his studio in Pictou County, had the tracks mixed and mastered 12 days after the project started. There was no debt for the record whatsoever and the municipality has already purchased 5000 copies for the students to sell like chocolate bars. At $20 a piece (at no profit to the Artists), that will raise a total of $100,000 for school programming.

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