A Song for the Salmon contest winners announced

After over 4 days of listening to the 38 entries, scrutinizing each song and slowly eliminating some, the three judges finally reached their verdict this morning to choose the winners of the first ever “Song for the Salmon” contest. The winner is Anie Hepher, from Cranbrook, whose song Salmon Hymn captures the feelings of both the sockeye’s struggles to survive and the Secwepemc peoples’ connection to these remarkable fish.

Anie, whose twin sister Monika Wilson lives in Salmon Arm and also entered the contest, had this to say about her songwriting experience, “”While writing this song, I felt very honoured to look at the symbolism of the salmon returning in record numbers against all odds and saw the parallels with the efforts of the Secwepemc peoples to give their culture significance. It was an emotional experience that focused on both the survival of the salmon and the First Nations.”

The second prize winner is Marcus Smith, whose song “A seal named Doug” is a lively and humorous rock and roll tribute to those salmon that managed to escape predation by seals and return to spawn in the Adams River.

The three contest judges, Jake Jacobson, Lody Kieken and Kate McKiel, had this to say about the process: “We could all agree on one thing right from the start, this was going to be a very difficult task. We expected about a dozen songs, so when we were presented with 38, we were slightly overwhelmed. Even after the first round of listening to them all, there were very few that could be eliminated. Each one had its own unique quality, be it poetic lyrics, a catchy melody or an interesting story.

We were given a list of criteria to be used in judging the song. One important factor was not to judge the song on the quality of the recording or the ability of the person, or persons singing it. So now we had to visualize the song being done by a professional group. This made the choice even harder. After three rounds of voting, we finally found a top choice, I can’t really say winner because we felt they were all winners!

So as judges we can now agree on one more thing, there is an incredible amount of talent out there that we can be very proud of. And to all those who entered the contest, we extend our deep appreciation and thanks.”

The winner receives $500, two passes to the 2011 Roots and Blues festival and a hand sculpted glass trophy by Chuck St. John. The second place winner will receive $250. Both artists will perform their songs at the Salute to the Sockeye Festival on Sunday, October 3rd at 1 pm at Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park.

A full afternoon of free entertainment is planned, including a concert by Shuswap’s well loved rhythm and blues band, the Salmon Armenians, who are sponsored by Scotch Creek SuperValu. The Festival begins at 1 pm with a Secwepemc opening prayer and song by Shuswap elder, Ethyl Billy, followed by a welcoming address by Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band Chief Felix Arnouse. The Festival Emcee will be the well known Shuswap folk singer and music producer, Ted Crouch.

In addition to brief remarks from Shuswap MLA and Minister of Aboriginal Relations George Abbott and Department of Fisheries and Oceans and BC Parks representatives, there will be a keynote speech by the daughter of Roderick Haig-Brown, Mary Haig-Brown about her famous father and his connection to the park and his role in fishery conservation. In addition, the well-known marine biologist and wild salmon campaigner, Alexandra Morton will say a few words about her work.

For more information, contact:
Anie Hepher, Cranbrook, 489-0380,
Marcus Smith, Salmon Arm, 938-4366

Jim Cooperman, Media Liaison
Adams River Salmon Society
R.R. 1 S10 C2
Chase, B.C., V0E 1M0
250-679-3693, cell 319-4197
jcoop@ribaa.ca, www.salmonsociety.com