"Youthsongs was the best school-wide program I've seen in my career as an educator."
- Nelson Keane, Principal, Paisley Rd. P.S., Guelph, ON
"It was an absolutely wonderful and extraordinary experience for the students and teachers".
- Dave Golden, Education Director, Charles Stockey Centre, Parry Sound, ON
YOUTHSONGS WITH KATHERINE WHEATLEY
Katherine helps classes, up to 6 per week, write songs. In 3 one-hour sessions, she gives them a crash course in songwriting. The class chooses a topic, they brainstorm, they write the lyrics and they write the melody. Each class ends up with their own song. If time allows, the classes co-write a school anthem.
The kids most often write about issues that are important to them - their community, their school, the environment. Their voices are simple and pure.
During the creative process, students are encouraged to listen to and respect each other’s ideas as well as offer their own ideas. They learn, through writing songs together, that open-mindedness, listening and courage are key components of collaboration and creativity.
At the end of the program, the songs are recorded in the library or staff room or whichever room is most suitable for setting up a portable studio. A few of the older students who play instruments may end up composing and recording parts (cello or violin pads, clarinet or guitar solos). All the songs are put on a school CD. The CDs are duplicated and each student receives a CD. The booklet is made with a blank cover so that each student may create their own cover.
A concert is held for friends and family to celebrate the accomplishments of the students. The CDs may be sold to raise money for future arts programs at the school. In addition to school concerts, various classes have performed their songs at the opening Of The Festival of The Sound in Parry Sound ON, The Ohio River Valley Festival in Madison, IN and at The Luminato Festival of Creativity + Arts in Toronto, ON.
"The presentation was absolutely wonderful. The children were so engaged that it was obvious this is the type of outreach that all cultural groups in Guelph should strive to accomplish."
- Nicholas Dalton, Hillside Music Festival
Please click on the “audio” button above for songs written through the Youthsongs Program and the Youthsongs Local History Program.
For more information on the songs, click on the lyrics once you’re on the audio page.
Please click on the “press” button above for more testimonials.
Please click on the “photo” button above for photos of concerts and recording.
Please click on "Basic Requirements" for a more detailed description of The Youth Songs Program, The Youthsongs Local History Program and other school songwriting workshops.
Please click on "set list" for Katherine's biography.
To discuss budget and the possibility of bringing Katherine to your school, please e-mail Katherine at email@example.com or contact Robin at 705 649 2880.
PLEASE CHECK OUT WWW.SASSCANADA.NET
for an incredible songwriting-in-the schools program. Katherine has been a mentor with SASSCANADA for 4 years.
FOR FULL ARTIST BIOGRAPHY, please go to
The following is a list of the individual school CDs Katherine has done with the YOUTHSONGS program.
Paisley Panther Song Book (Guelph 2006)
with Jude Vadala
Laurine Avenue Song Book (Guelph 2007)
with Jude Vadala
Nantucket New School Song Book (Nantucket 2007)
Songs of Parry Sound (Parry Sound 2007)
Youthsongs of Madison and Hanover (Indiana 2008)
Songs of Peace, Nantucket New School (Nantucket 2008)
Youthsongs From Tecumseh Elementary (London 2008)
Songs About Nantucket by the Students At Nantucket New School (2009)
Portraits Of Change In Regent Park, Nelson Mandela Park Public School Songbook, Inspired by The Six String Nation Guitar (Toronto 2009)
"Remembering My Rights"
The Children and Youth Advisory Council at the London Health Sciences Centre Children's Hospital (2009) 1 song
Youthsongs of St. Patrick Catholic School, (Kinkora 2010)
Standing Stone School - Songs of The Oneida Nation (2010)
St. Sofia School - Songs To Celebrate Our 30th Anniversary (Mississauga 2010)
Nantucket New School - New Songs (Nantucket 2010)
Laurelwood Public School - Making The Difference Thru Song (Waterloo 2010)
Humphrey School Songs (Humphrey 2011)
Suddaby Public School - Suddaby Songs (Kitchener 2011)
Westvale Public School - The Westvale Way (Waterloo 2011)
Peace and Love - Grade 3 to 6 classes, Paisley PS, Guelph, Peace Project
Me And My Friend Sam - Grade 3/4 song about the environment
The Healing Song - Wausauksing First Nation Grade 7/8, Local History Project
All I Want - Grade 8 Rap Song about the Regent Park community, Toronto
Dragons (a fun song) - Grade 1/2 Nantucket New School, MA
Regent Park's Our Home - Grade 5/6 Regent Park, Toronto
REVIEWS OF SCHOOL WORKSHOPS
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QUOTES FROM PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS “Youth songs was the best school-wide program I’ve seen in m...QUOTES FROM PRINCIPALS AND TEACHERS
“Youth songs was the best school-wide program I’ve seen in my career as an educator.”
- Nelson Keane, Principal, Paisley Rd. P.S.
“ I just want to thank you for the amazing energy that you have brought into my classroom. My students and I all look forward to when you come and work with us. We are very proud of the song, "CANADA IS MY FAMILY". Thank you so much for your patience, inspiration, enthusiasm and expertise. We have so benefited from your presence. You need to know that everyone is thrilled with the quality of the CD. You and David did an amazing job of recording and mixing the songs. It sounds so professional! It's been a hit and a real gift to the students, staff and parents of Paisley Road School.”
- Jane Rocher, Grade 4 Teacher
Katherine Wheatley’s Song Writing Workshops with Grade 7 students attending schools in Parry Sound and area schools were amazing. She was patient, enthusiastic, and very talented. It was an absolutely wonderful and extraordinary experience for the students and teachers. Dave Golden, Education Director, Charles Stockey Centre, Parry Sound
“I believe it was an enlightening project for everyone who participated and listeners. It was a fantastic way to bring the school together with our communities. It was uplifting and fun to listen as well!” - Vittoria Balfour, parent
"Creating the music and lyrics was an extraordinary musical experience. Every song captures the spirit of the children in such an exciting way. My children are so proud to share their CD with family and friends." - Anne Phillips, parent
"We have been playing the CD all summer and other families have been also. It's great!" - Mary Anne Giovinazzo, parent
“The program had a big impact -- teachers and kids loved it. I attended the concert and was so moved by it. I support this wonderful work.”
- Erin Kelly, Superintendent, Upper Grand District School Board
“I thought that the music program was wonderful for the students. The trustees were delighted as well and welcomed the performers to the Board Room.”
- Martha Rogers, Director of Education, Upper Grand District School Board
“The presentation was absolutely wonderful. The children were so engaged that it was obvious that this is a venue that should be pursued elsewhere. This is the type of outreach that all cultural groups in Guelph should strive to accomplish. My congratulations to you, Jude and Katherine on a job well done. Sign me up for at least one CD.”
- Nicholas Dalton, Hillside Music Festival
"The music enrichment program last year at Paisley Rd. Public School, developed by Jude Vadala and Katherine Wheatley, was fantastic! The feedback from students, teachers, and parents has been extremely positive. The entire school community was excited throughout the process! The songs written and sung by each class were developed into a CD and are wonderful. We hope to have Jude and Katherine back this year."
- Nelson Keane, Principal
REVIEW OF YOUTHSONGS HISTORY CONCERT
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The Festival of the Sound opened its 28th season this past weekend, and the Charles W. Stockey Centr...The Festival of the Sound opened its 28th season this past weekend, and the Charles W. Stockey Centre for the Performing Arts and the Bobby Orr Hall of Fame celebrated the opening of its 5th season....
But the concert that stands out for me happened on Saturday at noon – Songs of Parry Sound, the Stockey Centre’s 5th Anniversary Celebration. A group of Grade 7 students who had worked with Katherine Wheatley in May and June in a series of songwriting workshops shared the results with the community at this concert.
Ms Wheatley, along with Bob Harley (pedal guitar) and Craig Harley (piano), accompanied the students as they performed eight wonderful songs about the history of the Parry Sound area.
The students were aided in singing the songs by some of our past Parry Sound Idols, plus a couple of parents and teachers. But the words and the music belonged the composers, and touched the hearts of the audience.
From a song about the great explosion at Depot Harbour written by Greg Lawson’s Grade 7 Class at William Beatty P.S., and its chorus “It was the night that turned to day/At Depot Harbour, Georgian Bay/The fire burned on and on/Until the town was gone, gone, gone, gone, gone”, to the love of this beautiful area expressed by M. Derosier’s Grade 7 class at St. Peter’s C.S. in their song’s chorus “If I had just one day/I’d spend it on Georgian Bay,” these honest, heart-felt songs moved many of the audience members to tears. As one person said after the concert, the pride these young people showed for their home in these songs is a sentiment we simply don’t express often enough.
The committee planning the 100th anniversary of the trestle bridge needs to listen to ‘The Trestle Bridge Song’ written by Emily Fell’s Grade 7 Class at William Beatty P.S. which says: “It’s what people always recognize/It adds wonder to the Georgian Bay skies/Its history, its strength, its grace/Make this town, Parry Sound, a more beautiful place.”
‘The Healing Song’ by Dianne King’s grade 7 class at Wasauksing School gave us all a moment of quiet centredness as the voices of the children sang “Sing the healing song."
All day and all night long/When you’re feeling calm/Just sing the healing song.”
In contrast, the song by Barry Jenkin’s Grade 7 Class at William Beatty P.S. reminded us of the great train robbery with the opening refrain: “On an August night in ‘28 three bandits hopped a train/Seven miles south of Sudbury but a mystery still remains/They held the clerks at gunpoint ‘til they got to Parry Sound/They stole outdated King George bills and crept around the town/It was the night Tom Jackson died/It was the night Tom Jackson died.
Rob Hammond’s Grade 7 Class at McDougall P.S. picked a different tragedy – the closure of the Avro Arrow project. The chorus reflects both the sense of loss of the crew who built the planes and the legend that one of the planes flew away before it could be destroyed: “Oh how we could have flown/The fastest the world had ever, ever known/We who worked on it have something to say/Hey Diefenbaker, Hey Diefenbaker/Hey Diefenbaker, one got away.”
Cam Murch’s Grade 7 Class at Nobel P.S. tells the story of one man’s life. His pride in his home is encapsulated by the chorus: “Dynamite to build highways and mines/Water and rocks and beaches and pines/Fastest engine of the day/Killbear Park where the children play/That’s my home, that’s Nobel.”
The Henderson/Golden Grade 7 Class of William Beatty P.S. chose to write about Bobby Orr. Their chorus: “He worked hard every day/To the arena he’d come and play/He changed the game for ever more/His name was Bobby Orr,” showed their pride in the accomplishments of one of Parry Sound’s own.
Katherine Wheatley did a wonderful job leading the students through the process of researching and shaping a topic, writing lyrics and music and polishing the songs to perfection during the workshops. Dave Golden, the Stockey Centre’ Education Coordinator, was a key part of the project’s success as he convinced the schools and teachers to participate in the workshops so close to schools’ end, scheduled the workshops and rehearsals, gathered together all the singers even after the students were out of school, and planned all the details for the concert. The workshops were part of the Stockey Centre’s new education program, SHAPE, while the concert offered the students a unique opportunity to be part of the Festival of the Sound.
Amongst all of the wonderful professional musicians the Festival of the Sound is bringing to Parry Sound this summer, and there are many fabulous concerts to come, this performance reminded us all that songs from the heart, no matter how young the songwriters, touch us all.
Katherine Wheatley Concert Reviews
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"I’m in love...with the music of Katherine Wheatley. A verse into her first song “Mrs. McIvor”, I w..."I’m in love...with the music of Katherine Wheatley. A verse into her first song “Mrs. McIvor”, I was hooked. Being a KW virgin, I was totally unprepared for the absolute beauty of her voice and lyrics".
FOLKSPOKE, Barrie, ON
"This is a performer to keep you on the edge of your seat"!
THE OTTAWA CITIZEN, Ottawa, ON
"Wheatley, sporting a beautiful voice and heady guitar work, brought the house down with her stunningly intimate musical meanderings. Her voice and guitar work drew the crowd in from the moment she started to sing. Her witty repartee gave these songs a footing from whence to fly. And fly she did"!
THE EXAMINER, Peterborough, ON
"...an absolutely transcendent concert...she exudes sheer kindness and love...blessedly, refreshingly, a truly Canadian original".
THE CHRONICLE JOURNAL, Thunder Bay, ON
"When she started her first song, the audience knew that it would be a most unusual concert. Alternately entertaining the sold-out crowd with insightful and humourous vignettes, or simply leading off with her marvelous guitar work, Wheatley took her listeners on an enthralling adventure".
CARLYLE OBSERVER, Carlyle, SK
"Wheatley’s songs have intermingling themes of underdogs and unlikely heroes all set against a Canadian small town landscape. From LTD’s, Pontiacs and hand gesturing out of a pick-up truck to the neighbours gossiping about an eccentric, yet tenacious old Mrs. McIvor and a very self-conscious game of spin the bottle in a snowmobile suit, her songs are vivid, familiar and engaging".
THE ECHO, Guelph, ON
"The house concert featuring Katherine Wheatley & Wendell Ferguson was better than a solid night's sleep. For the night to be so magical, so memorable, so perfect, it is important to talk more about Katherine's music. Lyrically, her songs are thoughtful and reflective, sometimes funny...often poignant...Melodically and harmonically, all of her songs were beautifully crafted and expertly performed. But it's her performance of the songs that remains so memorable for me".
OLD CHESTNUT NEWS, Kitchener, ON
"Man, can this serene red head ever play guitar".
SEE MAGAZINE, Edmonton, AB
KATHERINE WHEATLEY CD REVIEWS
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"Katherine Wheatley's got moxy to spare". (Four stars) THE OTTAWA CAPITOL, Ottawa, ON "Like Jo..."Katherine Wheatley's got moxy to spare". (Four stars)
THE OTTAWA CAPITOL, Ottawa, ON
"Like Joni Mitchell, Edie Brickell and Bonnie Raitt, Wheatley has an ear for melody lines that stay in your head, a true craftsman's sense of song structure and a voice that commands your undivided attention".
THE GUARDIAN, Charlottetown, PEI
"As a listener, it's hard not to sit back, close your eyes and watch the movie play".
SEE MAGAZINE, Edmonton, AB
"...turns pebbles of everyday life into dreamy mountains of song".
THE TORONTO STAR, Toronto, ON
"Wheatley sings about good things in life, things like secret hiding places, friends, gum, banana seat bicycles, coffee, tea and love. She sings vivid pictures that every Canadian would fondly recognize and she sings them beautifully".
VIEW MAGAZINE, Hamilton, ON (Cover Story)
"Chock full of literate, thoughtful and frequently piercing lyrics, Wheatley is a great storyteller, and her voice, documenting stories of lost innocence, the beauty of the Canadian landscape, hockey cards, and the human costs of so-called 'technological advancement,' fills this record with a warm glow".
EXCLAIM MAGAZINE, Toronto, ON
"A voice that's beautiful and assured".
CHART MAGAZINE, Toronto, ON
Katherine Wheatley - Her Home Grown Lyrics are Nurtured by Parry Sound Roots
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To hear singer/songwriter Katherine Wheatley talk of her childhood growing up in Parry Sound, it sou...To hear singer/songwriter Katherine Wheatley talk of her childhood growing up in Parry Sound, it sounds wildly idyllic, wondrous and maybe even a little enchanted in the simplest of ways.
Born to Michael and Diane Wheatley, as one of six children, Ms. Wheatley’s days as a young girl were filled with adventure and mischief spending nearly every waking moment with friends in the street and backyards near her family’s Waubeek Street home.
“We had a fabulous neighbourhood,” said Ms. Wheatley of the block with mostly girls, all of whom she still remembers by name. “Our addresses were all between 24 and 31 Waubeek, so we were a stone’s throw from each other. Every day after school and every evening after dinner we played. We played Skipping and Yogi and Deer Tag and Hide and Seek and Sardines and Car Car C.A.R. and Nicki Nicki Nine Doors.”
The Wheatley family backyard was big enough for baseball, so a group often played there or in the Snider’s backyard which had a Badminton net.
“We raided the neighbours; vegetable gardens and apple trees,” she said. “We swam, we skied, we cycled, we did cartwheels and handstands. We were always doing something. We hated being called in for dinner and for bed.”
The months during the long,deep freeze of winter were also spent outside where the neighbourhood girls and boys tobogganed and skated on outdoor rinks.
“We’d get there early on Saturday mornings and skate until the boys came and hogged the rink for hockey. Back then, girls weren’t playing hockey in Parry Sound.”
The close-knit family also spent a lot of time together, skiing every weekend at the Parry Sound Ski Hill and cross-country skiing at Camp Tapawingo.
“In fact, from about Grade 9 on, the high school cross country ski team was pretty much the biggest part of my life,” she said.
Summer jobs for Ms Wheatley included being a lifeguard for three summers and being a sanitary engineer with her sister in Archipelago Township.
”Which meant we took care of the dumpsites,” she explained.
A portable record player in her bedroom and borrowed albums from older siblings ignited a young Ms. Wheatley’s interest in music.
“I’d listen, over and over again, to the albums that my older sister and brother owned - Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, James Taylor, Simon and Garfunkel,” she said, “I took piano lessons from Olive Perry. I think she was mortified when, every year, I’d ask to play a Burt Bacharach song at the recital instead of something from the Royal Conservatory book. I loved songwriters.”
Soon after her love affair with music began, the teen “begged” her parents for a guitar because so many of the songwriters she adored played the guitar.
“When I was 14, I remember looking under my parents’ bed the night before Christmas and seeing a big triangular box - it was thrilling. I knew then that I was getting a guitar the next day,” she said. “I played clarinet in the concert band and saxophone in the stage band. John McGuirk, the music teacher at William Beatty and Jim Ferris at the high school had put together inspiring and rigourous music programs. The are probably my biggest inspirations.”
Songwriting began shortly after Ms Wheatley got her guitar. However, inspiration came from an unlikely source.
“Back then, I didn’t know how to write lyrics, so I’d go to the Rexall Drug store and peruse the Hallmark Card rack,” she explained. “I’d combine stanzas from different cards and copy them surreptitiously into my diary. Then I’d go home and put music to them. I knew I was doing something wrong, but it got me started.”
Her first public appearance was at the Bobby Orr Community Centre in 1978, singing Rhinestone Cowboy with a local band.
“I think I was nervous,” she recalls. “I practised a lot.”
Following high school in her 20s, Ms Wheatley worked for several summers in northern Saskatchewan with geologist Ken Ashton. She had an interest in the field and considered pursuing a career studying rocks.
“Ken loved listening to music and he was a great guitar player. In the evenings, I’d play the guitar while Ken labelled rocks and mapped out our next days’ routes,” she said. “He asked one night, ‘Wheatley, why didn’t you ever go into music?’ I responded by asking, ‘Why didn’t you go into music Ken?’ His answer was simple, ‘Because I love rocks.’ If I was going to enjoy geology for the rest of my life, I better love rocks.
“But I didn’t love rocks. I did, however, love music. That was the moment I began to think seriously about taking up music as a career.”
Although her father had passed away by the time Ms Wheatley seriously considered a musical career, she admits her mother was worried for her.
“Music is a great career in terms of what you do and who you meet, but it’s difficult financially - she knew that. I considered staying in science. I started a masters degree in Environmental Science at the University of Calgary with a focus on groundwater contamination. After a year of graduate work, I realised that unless there was passion driving me to be dogged in my studies, I might not succeed. I left the program and continued working for the Canadian Geological Survey. Through all my studies and my work in geology, I’d play at coffee-houses. I was starting to get work singing back up. It was becoming clear that music was my true passion.”
A year after leaving her masters studies, Ms Wheatley went to Africa where her sister Michele and her husband Michael were teaching in Botswana through World University Services Canada.
“I knew it was the best opportunity I’d have to see Africa first hand, not through a tourist company,” she said, “I couldn’t take my guitar with me. It would have been too big to lug around given the way I wanted to travel. I was without my guitar for the first time since I’d gotten one. My fingers were so itchy to play. Instead of playing, I wrote. Writing became my creative outlet. That’s when I started writing lyrics. When I got back from Africa, I had a bunch of lyrics to set music to.”
However, it wasn’t until many years later that Ms. Wheatley recorded her first album, Straight Line.
“Boy, it’s been so long since I made that record. Probably the most popular song on that album was ‘Water Moves Me’. ‘Fishing’ and ‘Main Street’ got a fair amount of CBC radio play. “Straight Line” was the only song on the album that got commercial radio play. The title to me suggested, not loss of innocence, but a longing for what used to be.”
Just four years later, Ms Wheatley released her second CD, “Habits and Heroes” with most of the tracks being what she calls “character songs.”
“I wanted to reveal the characters’ heroism as well as their habits,” she explained. “Mrs. McIvor, for example, is a woman who’s taunted by the neighbourhood kids because she has some strange habits. But she also has courage. She shows that by being independent and different and by just getting things done despite something tragic that’s happened to her son. There were enough instances on the CD of ordinary people being heroic that I decided “Habits and Heroes” would be a good title.”
Ms Wheatley said she has always looked up to the lyrical style of Canadian folk singer Gordon Lightfoot and still aspires to do the same.
“I always admired how Gordon Lightfoot was able to use images from nature as a metaphor for the human condition,” she said. “Growing up in Parry Sound, there are many images to draw from. So I find myself drawing on both the landscape and character of home.”
In addition to performing solo, Ms Wheatley also performs with singer/songwriter Wendell Ferguson’s band, The Smoking Section. "Wendell and I perform together in a number of combinations,” she said. “I hire him to back me up. He hires me to back him up (as part of the Smoking Section). We are often booked as a double bill. It all started with me hiring him to back me up about 10 years ago. At our sound checks, he’d often sing one of his funny songs. I couldn’t believe how good they were. I was touring a lot in northern Ontario at the time, so I started to perform one of his songs, Rocks and Trees. People loved it. One night, I said “Wendell, why don’t you play it yourself?” He did. And then as time went by, I asked him to perform more and more of his songs at my shows.”
The duo also play in ‘Betty and the Bobs’, a seven musician band.
“We’re all good friends. We’ve played together, in the studio or on stage, with other bands or backing up other musicians, “she said. “We all happened ot be a Summerfolk Festival in Owen Sound about 10 years ago, singing our hearts out at the hotel we were staying at. It was then that we noticed that we love to sing together. And we loved to sing songs we’d never get a chance to perform in our own bands. We decided to form a band.”
Ms Wheatley said the best part about her job is the musicians she works with, whether she sees them every week or once a year.
“Even though I love performing and writing songs - for me - it’s all about who I’m working with,” she said, adding that it has taken her time to learn to enjoy the experience of being on stage. “For a number of years, I’d often get off the stage wishing I could start all over again. It was because I’d forgotten to breathe and to focus. It still happens. In fact, it happened recently at a show in Boston. Now, though, I have enough experience that if I find myself on stage unhappy with my performance, I try to breathe and focus right away. It’s all about being present.”
Most recently, Ms Wheatley was working with eight local Grade 7 classes writing songs about Parry Sound’s history to be performed during the Festival Of The Sound in July.
“Oh my goodness yes,” she said of writing songs about the area. “I’ve been working with the classes in town writing songs about the history of Parry Sound. We’re writing about Depot Harbour, Bobby Orr, the Avro Arrow, the Parry Sound train robbery and the natural history of the town.”
Although her family moved away from Parry Sound in 1980, Ms Wheatley said the area is still very close to her heart.
“We still have a cottage here, and it is the family gathering place,” she said. “I see people I grew up with or friends of my parents whenever I’m shopping or stopping for a coffee. It’s still home for all of us. It really is a very big part of my life.”
Story by Stephannie Johnson
BIOGRAPHY - KATHERINE WHEATLEY (please visit www.katherinewheatley.com or www.sonicbids.com/KatherineWheatley for full biography)
"I'm in love...with the music of Katherine Wheatley. A verse into her first song, I was hooked. Being a KW virgin, I was totally unprepared for the absolute beauty of her voice and lyrics". FOLKSPOKE, Barrie, ON
"Katherine Wheatley gave an absolutely transcendent concert. She is able to take minor observations in life and find their soul. On stage...she exudes sheer kindness and love. Blessedly, refreshingly, Katherine Wheatley is a truly Canadian original"
The Chronicle Journal, Thunder Bay
Arresting vocals, great guitar playing and vibrant lyrics mark her work. Every song evokes her uncanny depth of observation. With offhand wit and an infectious passion for performing, Katherine Wheatley has been captivating audiences everywhere she performs. According to the Ottawa Citizen "This is a performer to keep you on the edge of your seat."
Before she was a working musician, Katherine worked for the Canadian Geological Survey, gathering not just rock samples, but material for her songs. Then - music was her hobby. Now - as she travels between shows on North America's highways where the rock cuts show the best of the earth's history, geology has become her hobby. The landscape, as well as the characters she encounters on her travels, continue to inspire her songs.
"She turns pebbles of everyday life into dreamy mountains of song".
The Toronto Star
Katherine's music has been used for television documentaries, series and films. She has been a featured vocalist on Stuart McLean's Vinyl Cafe, as well as a musical guest on TVO's Studio Two, CBC's Vicki Gabareau Show and CTV's Canada AM. In addition to touring across Canada, the U.S. and Europe as a singer/songwriter, Katherine is a member of the band "Betty and The Bobs" and plays guitar in Wendell Ferguson's "Smoking Section". She was one of 33 artists, including The Barenaked Ladies, Bruce Cockburn, and Sarah McLachlan, selected for FACTOR'S (Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records) 20th Anniversary compilation CD. Her first CD, Straight Line, spent 17 weeks on Sam's Top 10 Independent Chart with nine of those weeks at number 2. Her second CD, Habits and Heroes, featured a stellar cast of musicians (The Band's Richard Bell, Blue Rodeo's Basil Donovan, Blackie and the Rodeo King's Colin Linden) and received glowing accolades from critics and fans alike.
"As a listener, it's hard not to sit back, close your eyes and watch the movie play. And man, can this serene red head ever play guitar". SEE Magazine, Edmonton
Katherine's passion for songwriting began with a $13 guitar ordered from the Sears Catalogue. Her own musical experiences in middle school and high school inspired not only her career as a professional musician but also the desire to bring music back into the schools. Katherine is a mentor with SASS (School Alliance of Student Songwriters), a program that nurtures songwriting clubs at schools in the Greater Toronto Area. There she is valued for her genuine caring and special intuition for connecting with all age groups. Along with singer/songwriter Jude Vadala and Sarah Harwood (a parent at Paisley Road Public School), she created the "Youthsongs" program in Guelph, ON. She has expanded and developed the program, taking it "on the road" with her.
KATHERINE'S RECENT SCHOOL WORKSHOP EXPERIENCE:
- 2005 to 2007: 3 years as a mentor in the SASS program for the Durham District School Board Grade 7 to 12 (~100 visits to schools giving 1 to 2 hour workshops)
- 2006 to 2007: 18 songwriting sessions with Grade 5 classes of the Upper Grand District School Boards, sponsored by the Edward Johnson Foundation in Guelph, ON. Katherine wrote and recorded a song with each class during a one-hour visit.
- Spring 2006: A 6 week YOUTH SONGS program, along with Jude Vadala, at Paisley Road Public School in Guelph for 15 classes.
- Winter 2007: A 6 week YOUTH SONGS program, along with Jude Vadala, at Laurine Avenue Public School in Guelph for 6 classes.
- May 2007: A 1 week intensive YOUTH SONGS program at Nantucket New School, Nantucket, MA
- May 2007: A 2-week intensive songwriting program with Grade 7s from 8 schools in the Parry Sound area. The songs celebrated the history of Parry Sound and were performed at the 5th Year Anniversary of the Charles Stockey Performing Arts Centre.
- June and October 2007: 2 day songwriting workshops with Grade 10s at an Arts School in Toronto.
February 11 to 22, 2008 - Madison, Indiana
March 10 to 14, 2008 - Nantucket, Massachussets
KATHERINE'S THOUGHTS ON THE BENEFITS OF A SONGWRITING PROGRAM FOR CHILDREN
During the creative process, students are encouraged to listen to and respect each other's ideas as well as offer their own ideas. What they may find is that their idea didn't end up in the song, but it led to an idea that led to another idea that ended up in the song. They see that the class would never have arrived at that idea without their first courageous offering. And that courageous offering might never had been made had the class not agreed at the beginning of the process to be respectful of each other's ideas. In this way the kids learn that respect for each other and courage are key components of collaboration and creativity.
More Notes on the Benefits of Songwriting Programs for Children:
- It's a popular art form and therefore compelling and attractive to many students.
- It combines different skills: lyric writing, composition, musicianship (vocal and instrumental), and performance.
- It is a precise art and teaches the kids to be clear and focused.
- Because a song is short, writing a song is manageable in terms of time commitment and resources. The kids feel a sense of accomplishment and boost to confidence relatively quickly.
- Songwriting requires both right and left-brain activity. It involves techniques that help students tap in to their creative spirit. It also helps them develop problem-solving abilities and editing skills.
- Songs are a form of self-expression. Songwriting is an outlet for one's feelings, thoughts, observations, queries, philosophies and politics. Kids not only learn to understand themselves, but also to observe and empathise with others. Songwriting gets kids thinking as well as being creative and productive.
- Co-writing a song in class encourages kids to listen to and appreciate each other. Not only do they learn to listen, but they also enjoy the benefits of having their creative expression taken seriously. Thus they build respect for each other and for themselves.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.