Chamber seeking submissions for Great Amherst Song Contest

Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - If you could write a song about Amherst, what would you say?

Would it be about the town's rich history, its Victorian architecture, its storied hockey team or about life in small town Nova Scotia?
It's a question the Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce will put to people this summer as part of the Four Fathers Festival when it hosts the Great Amherst Song Contest.
"We haven't finished all the details, but we're looking for a unique and novel way to celebrate what it means to be in Amherst," chamber president Randy Smith said. "We think it's an element we'd like to create during the Four Fathers celebration during the summer."
Smith said there is enough talent in the area to challenge people to come up with their best Amherst song. The chamber president said the goal would be to create a buzz in the community and to instill a feeling of community pride.
Mark Raddin, who has been writing songs for more than 25 years, thinks the contest is an excellent idea.
"It's wonderful. It will test us to come up with something about Amherst and put it to words," said Raddin, who thinks he will probably participate in the contest.
While it's still early, Raddin thinks the perfect Amherst song would be about its status as the home of four Fathers of Confederation.
"I'm not sure how I would write it, but having four Fathers of Confederation is a distinction no other town has," said Raddin, a frequent contributor to the Tantramar Theatre.
Barb Sharples said there are so many subjects for people to write about. While she hasn't been very active in recent years, the contest is definitely intriguing.
"I think I would write a love song about someone crossing the marsh to see their lover, and I think I would write it in a historic context," said Sharples, who not only writes songs, but performs and acts. "There's so much to write about in Amherst. You have the Victorian heritage of the town, there's the Saxby tide and the fact this town was so busy so many years ago."
The concept of the Great Amherst Song contest comes from a CBC Radio promotion that asked listeners to name a location in their province and have artists write a song about that area. The compilation album was released in 2009.
The chamber, with the assistance of CKDH Radio, will be looking for an original song from any genre. The song must be written by someone from Amherst, the music must be written from someone from here, it must be enthusiastic and entertaining, performed live in Amherst and have the Amherst area serve as the inspiration for the song.
The chamber and CKDH will stream the recorded songs on their websites.

Organizations: Area Chamber of Commerce, Tantramar Theatre, CBC Radio

Geographic location: AMHERST, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Kev Corbett
    March 10, 2010 - 14:15

    Thanks to Greg for the vote of confidence, but the song's already been written: Pat Melanson's 'Fields of Tantramar'. It captures the feel of the place, without coming off like an ad. I'm sure Ruthie Nichols has 20 ringers as well. Looking forward to the final tune, Kev

    • anita melanson
      May 12, 2010 - 11:53

      i agree with kev,listen to the song fields of tantramar,it tells the story of amherst pretty well

    • anita melanson
      May 12, 2010 - 11:54

      i agree with kev,listen to the song fields of tantramar,it tells the story of amherst pretty well

  • Fuzzy Bear
    February 24, 2010 - 23:46

    How about this for starters....
    Oh give us a home
    Where the slum lords don't roam
    And the Tim crew can't mooch, all day
    Where the councillors all try
    To get along side by side
    And the tourists will enjoy their stay
    Verse two coming at a later date!!

  • Gerard
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    I think it would be a lot of fun if someone wrote about the quarrie and all the neat stuff that's been found in there over the years!..

  • Greg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Blue Max, I haven't taken anything away from anyone! I know very many talented people from Amherst. I wanted to clarify that submission could be made by others too. I happen to think Kev is a great songwriter, but you are entitled to your opinion.

  • Vince
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Great first verse, when can we expect the second verse. GOOD JOB.

  • Feist's
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Here are the potential first verse lyrics for a contest entry, which Ms. Feist just scratched out on a used napkin while we had lunch at a delicatessen in Alberta:

    *I lived in Amherst for a very short time,
    Even less time than the guys in April Wine,
    Hope you people can move on and find some way,
    To give an actual real Amherst hero the time of day.*

    She hopes to be able to perform it live for you, as long as her upcoming tour opening for The Scorpions doesn't interfere.

  • Robert
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    That's what we want to Greg, so any artist with a connection to Amherst is welcome to write a song, that includes Fiest who rumor has it lived in Amherst for a very short time. The FACEBOOK event for The Great Amherst Song Contest has the official version, in a nutshell there are 5 criteria, and to be eligible the only must is for the song to be performed LIVE in Amherst, plus 2 of the remaining four. Help spread the word to Chuck Follini, Kev Corbett and all the rest of the talented songwriters that have roots in Amherst. This could be huge!

  • Amherstonian
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Sorry Frankie but Fiest was born at the Highland View Hospital.

  • Blue
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    What? Kev Corbett??? Please! You have talented people like Ed Cooke, Nancy Mooney and a great local band like Offshore, and you want that guy??? Give me a break!

  • Frankie Goes to Halifax
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    For the last time FEIST IS NOT FROM Amherst and DID NOT live here for a short time. She lived in SACKVILLE, NB for a VERY short time. She is from Alberta and so she is automatically excluded.
    My vote is for either Robert Graves, Andrew Douglas, or the guy from Amherst who won the Nobel Prize last year.

  • Greg
    February 24, 2010 - 23:45

    Is the contest restricted to residents of Amherst? I'd like to see submissions from some of the excellent songwriters who grew up here but have moved on, such as Chuck Follini and Kev Corbett.

    No doubt Mark Raddin's submission would be incredible!