Voice teacher Melia Olson with the first two of a four-CD collection of music for children.

Children’s CDs highlight local musicians

Collaboration introduces musical genres and concepts

Terrace’s talent-rich musical community is in full voice and instrumentation thanks to a four CD-project of children’s music.

Two of the four CDs have already been produced and the remaining two will be finished the middle of this year, says voice teacher Melia Olson who conceived of the project with collaborator James Powell.

The two have a long time musical connection through Soul Professors, a group now on hiatus, while Powell is also known as one of the lead musicians in Dr. Fishy.

The idea, says Olson, is to introduce children to the elements of music through various forms ranging from country to folk to reggae to jazz and beyond.

“Music can be an important part of our lives,” said Olson in describing the project’s impetus.

And what makes the local work so special, she added, is the involvement and commitment of local musicians.

“That we can have local content, Canadian content, is exciting,” Olson said of the locally-written and produced songs.

The four CDs are named for colours with the Green and Yellow albums already out and with companion Blue and Pink albums on track for release by the summer.

The colours represent the growth cycle of planting (blue, for example, the watering of a plant) and pink, the last colour, emphasizing a hyacinth in full bloom.

The songs were recorded in Powell’s home studio, mixed by his son, Dylan Powell, and produced in Smithers.

Each CD contains 15 tracks with each containing a common hello and a good-bye song. So with 13 songs on each CD, the result is a collection of 52 offerings.

“Just listening to these people makes you realize how great they are,” said Olson of the assembled local talent.

And with each musician and writer bringing their own style, Olson says the resulting broad range highlights local talent.

Featured musicians on the Green album include drummer Jean Lechasseur, bassists Dylan Gordon and Dylan Powell, back up vocalist Amber Zanon and Brinn Powell on the fiddle.

Jordan Beblow and Kenny Giesbrecht of Late Night on Air recorded ‘Lukey’s Boat’ and the Terrace Community Band accompanied Olson on “All the Pretty Little Horses”. Additional back up vocals come from Willow Creek Child Care children.

Original songs were written by Wayne Sheridan, James Powell and Olson.

On the Yellow album, voice and drums come from Jean and Hazel Lechasseur, with vocal contributions from Amber Zanon and Zanon’s six-year-old daughter Claire on four songs.

Jamie Norton and Daniel Talstra play the fiddle and Olson’s son, J.P., who is three, sings “No More Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”.

Original songs were written by Olson and James Powell.

On the Blue album, now being recorded, local pianist Ann Hill and Paul Sametz, another Soul Professor alumnus, are featured.

One of the covers features Olson’s son, Aksel, and another her other son, J.P. Olson has also reached out to local artist Amy Warner for cover design.

Born and raised in Terrace, Olson took voice lessons early on with local voice teacher Marilyn Brodie, continuing her education at Vancouver Island University in Nanaimo and then at the University of Victoria.

Returning to Terrace, Olson planned to become an elementary school teacher by taking courses through the University of Northern B.C. before realizing her passion of teaching music wouldn’t mesh well with a classroom setting.

That brought out an entrepreneurial approach through starting Tiny Tones, teaching newborns to kindergarten-age children.

It’s located in the E.T. Kenney building where Olson teaches music to children enrolled in Willow Creek Child Care in addition to offering her own lessons.

The CDs are available at Misty River Books and the Chill pop up store at the Skeena Mall. Downloads at tinytones.bandcamp.com.

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