Saskatchewan

Sask. Songs 4 Nature summer camp releases their first single

The annual camp to release song that features the collaboration of 22 songwriters

Posted: July 06, 2020

Saskatchewan singer Megan Nash with campers at the Songs 4 Nature camp at Kenosee Lake (Supplied by Ryan Hicks)

An annual summer camp that focuses on songwriting are now releasing songs that were made at past years of the camp.

Songs 4 Nature is an initiative between the Royal Saskatchewan Museum and Environment and Climate Change Canada. It was created in 2016 by Ryan Hicks, Megan Nash and Glenn Sutter.

"The initial thing was there was a grant program that Environment Canada had that wanted to connect Canadians to nature," Hicks said.

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Hicks said each province got to propose what they wanted to do for the program and Sutter decided there was no better way to connect the province to nature, than through songwriting.

At the camp, which takes place at a different site in the province every year, participants join together to write a song about their natural surroundings.

Songs 4 Nature released their first song, which was a collaboration at the 2018 camp, late last month. The song, Thrill on the Wind, can be found on YouTube, Spotify and Apple Music.

Hicks said the song came to be during a beautiful weekend at the Last Mountain Regional Park.

"The sun was shining, it was hot and there was all these pelicans on the water and they were swirling around." Hicks said. "Then about twenty minutes later this big storm happens just out of nowhere and all this rain came down and that's really what inspired this Thrill on the Wind song and just that memory of this beautiful storm."

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Hicks said the group had plans to record the song in studio before it's June release, but the COVID-19 pandemic altered their original plan.

From left to right: Joyce Belcher, Glenn Sutter, Dave Grandel and Bob Davies singing songs around the campfire at Kenosee Lake. (Supplied by Ryan Hicks)

"We have Dana and Tanner from Bears in Hazenmore on bass and drums and they did a fantastic job." Hicks said. "We were going to do a vocal session with all of the campers that were at that but we weren't able to."

Hicks said he plays guitar on the track, with Sutter on piano and Rhonda Gallant-Morari on lead vocals.

Collaboration of 22 songwriters

While the next Songs 4 Nature camp has to be virtual due to COVID-19, Hicks said he got an opportunity to collaborate with 22 songwriters in one of the upcoming singles.

"It's a balancing act you know because everyone has their own ideas and their own and all really good things." Hicks said. "It's making sure that everyone feels a part of the song and ownership."

Hicks said there is a research component to the camp with a person from Campion College observing how people feel when they're in nature.

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"What her research has found is that nature helps relax us." Hicks said. "I think for everyone at the camp it just makes us feel good and makes us feel relaxed."

Hicks said the loss of nature with the upcoming camp is something that is challenging.

"How do we bring that feeling of relaxation and bonding that we normally have while being outside to people when they're sitting in front of their computer."