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South Cariboo students get lesson in music-making

Norman Foote came to the South Cariboo to help children write songs

South Cariboo school children got a little help writing songs last week from Juno award-winning musician Norman Foote.

The North Vancouver-based children’s folk musician visited several schools last week including 100 Mile Elementary School, Forest Grove Elementary School and Mile 108 Elementary. Foote said he enjoys coming to the Cariboo to make music with the children.

“I get so many people asking me to come to schools and I find it fun. Elementary schools are great because they just have such a positive attitude and good energy,” Foote said.

Foote said he previously went to schools and performed his own songs but a decade ago started offering his songwriting program. He finds this kind of collaboration rewarding because it allows him to learn more about the children and the area they live in.

He starts his visits by having the students come up with a name for their song. The students will then suggest lyrics and ideas while Foote finds a melody and helps them create a complete song.

“You have to have the sensibility for it. People think it might be easier to work with kids, but it’s not,” Foote said. “You have to be able to have a conversation with them and be somebody they want to listen to.”

Mile 108 student Wyatt Payette said his Grade 7 class’ song, Banana, was the best.

“It was about a simple man wanting to buy his favorite food, a banana,” Wyatt said. “I don’t think we’ve ever written songs since fourth grade. It was really fun, actually.”

At Mile 108, Foote and the students performed a mini-concert for staff and parents. Using humour and charm, he coaxed them into singing their songs. The topics ranged from dogs to world peace.

“I thought it was great. The kids were enthusiastic, they listened and they participated,” Foote said. “I hope the songs will live on because people recorded them on their phones and they have the lyrics.”

108 Mile Principal Mark Doolan said he was impressed by the creativity the students displayed in writing their songs.

“He spent two really fun-filled days with the kids and every student in the school got a chance to work with him and I saw nothing but smiles and that’s what it’s about,” Doolan said. “Singing is good for the soul and the whole business of school is giving kids opportunities and this was a wonderful opportunity.”

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Patrick Davies

About the Author: Patrick Davies

An avid lover of theatre, media, and the arts in all its forms, I've enjoyed building my professional reputation in 100 Mile House.
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