TEC student puts a new spin on an old classic

PORT HASTINGS: A Tamarac Education Centre student’s rendition of a popular Canadian tune has been receiving some attention.

Last Christmas, SAERC teacher Corey MacNeil sent a video of his 11-year-old son Nolan singing an acapella version of the “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” to his friend and fellow teacher Stephen Richardson, a JUNO nominated teacher at École St. Joseph School in Yellowknife.

“He was reading a book about famous ship wrecks and it mentioned the Edmund Fitzgerald in that book. When he was talking about it, I said to him, ‘there is a song about that, a Gordon Lightfoot song.’ So I played it for him and he loved it right away, just the story. He played the song a few times over and over again, and he picked up on the lyrics pretty quick,” Corey recalled. “Any story with a historical tie, or a song with a historical tie, he really enjoys. He was just drawn to that song. He was singing it in the car, or he was singing it to himself around the house.”

Because he found it interesting how the Grade 5 student took to the song, Corey decided to film.

“One time while he was singing, I said, ‘I’m just going to record this,’ because I just found it funny being an older song and to have someone his age singing it for enjoyment, it struck me as interesting,” he recounted.

Corey sent the video to Richardson, who he has known since their days together at Saint Mary’s University.

“I thought that he would enjoy listening to Nolan’s version of the song and I didn’t think anything else of it,” he said.

Richardson then had his band back Nolan’s version and record a video.

“Today my band surprised his family by turning his son’s plaintive vocal into a full on band backed song and video,” Richardson wrote via email.

Corey said he was surprised when Richardson replied to his email.

“He put his band to work, and set the music to go with it. I really appreciate the work and the time it took for him to set that up for Nolan,” he said. “When he heard his voice, he was in shock, he said, ‘Wow, that’s me and it sounds great.’ He was very excited. He’s definitely proud of himself for being a part of it. But overall, he was extremely happy hearing his rendition with the musicians behind him.”

Also surprising was the strong connection Nolan had with a song written and recorded 50 years ago.

“It was interesting the see the twist he put to it when he was singing it,” Corey said.

While his son has shown an ability to pick up on song lyrics quickly, Corey said his son’s musical tastes run the gamut. He added that he might make another video with his son.

“It would be great in the future if we could do it again some time,” Corey added.