The Wilds is led by singer/songwriters Holly Arntzen – vocals, dulcimer, piano, and Kevin Wright – vocals, cajon, congas, sax, of the Artist Response Team. (The Wilds band poster)

The Wilds is led by singer/songwriters Holly Arntzen – vocals, dulcimer, piano, and Kevin Wright – vocals, cajon, congas, sax, of the Artist Response Team. (The Wilds band poster)

Rock duo educates Haisla Community School students about ecology through music

Eco-rockin’ it online

The Haisla Community School had 75 students perform an educational performance online with the ARTist Response Team (ART).

With different age groups performing different songs, ART worked with the school and had the students perform a 20-minute concert online.

Established in 1991, ART is an independent Vancouver-based production house, headed up by singer/songwriter/producers Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright and their band, the Wilds. They have written a library of eco-rock songs, and specialize in music and entertainment that educates people about ecology.

ART mainly focuses on remote communities at no cost to the schools.

Hoping to start their in-person Watershed Skeena Tour around the region in March 2020, everything shut down because of the pandemic so they had to revamp their curriculum online.

“Sing Out For The Earth was developed in response to the pandemic shut down in March 2020, when we could no longer create and produce live music programs in schools. With the support of BC Used Oil Management Association (BCUOMA) and Tire Stewardship of B.C., we developed a series of online videos that help teachers bring music and ecological education into the classroom,” Arntzen stated in a press release. “The blessing in disguise is that these videos and programs will be useful even after live music programs are allowed back in schools.”

“When Holly Arntzen and Kevin Wright from ART proposed to us the Sing Out For The Earth virtual concert, we knew that this was a fantastic opportunity for our students to show resilience and innovation during a time when so many activities were being cancelled,” Leana Brady, Vice Principal at Haisla Community School said. “The musical program brought the students together as they learned and sang about our natural environment. It has been a successful, fun and entertaining learning experience, and the students are very excited to share their performance with everyone. Also with it being a virtual platform, it allows anyone, anywhere to watch, learn and enjoy.”

BCUOMA is a non-profit which focuses on individuals recycling used motor oil, the Stewardship of British Columbia, which promotes the recycling of used tires, and the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition came together to help fund the ART.

ART attempts to create new ways to learn about ecology with its Voices of Nature School Music Programs and community concerts. Their 8th annual Edmonton project in 2015 saw more than 2000 students pack the Jubilee Auditorium and was filmed as a TV special on water conservation, Water For Life, which aired on CTV2 in Alberta and PBS out of Spokane.

ART works with thousands of youth every year, producing spring tours in the Skeena and Fraser River watersheds called, Up Your Watershed! and Rock the Salish Sea tours to coastal communities. ART’s award-winning music-based educators’ handbooks provide curriculum-linked activities connected to song lyrics and help teachers bring music into the classroom for environmental education.

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jacob.lubberts@northernsentinel.com