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Springhill songwriter connects with Humboldt tragedy

Springhill’s Chelsea Atkinson musical tribute to the Saskatchewan community of Humboldt following a tragic bus crash there has caught the attention of thousands sharing their thoughts and prayers with the community.
Springhill’s Chelsea Atkinson musical tribute to the Saskatchewan community of Humboldt following a tragic bus crash there has caught the attention of thousands sharing their thoughts and prayers with the community. - Christopher Gooding

Grade 12 Springhill High student Chelsea Atkinson is no stranger to music lovers across the region. Atkinson has worked hard at her craft, networking and learning from musicians locally and afar. She’s shared the stage with country music greats and landed spots at a number of concerts and festivals in recent years that would be the envy of any musician.

But when she’s not carrying a guitar and stepping up to the mic Atkinson is a hard-working student who enjoys sports. When an April bus crash in claimed the lives of 16 people from Humboldt, Sask., most of them members of the Broncos hockey team, Atkinson says she felt very connected to the grieving community and it brought her two passions together.

In a moment of inspiration, she took to the school’s music room to grab a guitar and pen a tribute to the Humboldt community, the players and their families.

“I kept seeing the things on Facebook from families and some of the girlfriends, and that’s how I express myself – through music,” Atkinson said. “And hockey is such a big, big part of my life and has been since I was an infant. Something just hit me when I was school. I felt like there was a word and then I put it together and recorded it at the school as soon as I could.”

In a short session, Atkinson wrote and recorded the song but wasn’t as quick to release it. She spent another week deciding if she would upload the live video she shot.

“I wasn’t even sure if I was going to put it online because I knew how much it would affect people in positive, but also negative ways. I was hesitant. I waited about a week-and-a-half before I said I was going to do it,” Atkinson said.

After she did the reaction, Atkinson said, was humbling.

“I’ve had people from all over Canada and even the States comment and share all over Facebook,” Atkinson said. “They’ve said what a nice tribute it was, things like that. It’s been heartwarming.”

As graduation approaches for the local talent, Atkinson already has a number of enviable performances coming up. She will open for award-winning and East Coast talent Christina Martin June 10th at the Capitol Theatre in Oxford, the Anne Murray VIP meet and greet which is also in June, and is one of the openers for the Canaan Mountain Music Fest featuring Blue Rodeo, Tim Hicks and Jimmie Rankin. 

Atkinson’s musical tribute to Humboldt can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/chelsea.atkinson.79/posts/1687146181340359.

As of May 1t the video had 19,000 views, with comments and shares from the public every day since Atkinson posted the video on April 25.

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