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Here's one way to celebrate Canada 150: write a four-part choral arrangement

June 09, 2017

​By TK Matunda, CBC


Frances Robert's Argyle Secondary School choir in North Vancouver made Patrick Galasso's dreams come true after performing his song. 

What would a gold medal win sound like as choral music? One answer: Canada150 Song / La 150éme du Canada, which was inspired by Alexandre Bilodeau's historic men's moguls win at the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games. According to 52-year-old Vancouver songwriter Patrick Galasso, it was a "fitting moment of unfiltered national pride and celebration, the same energy found in the four-part harmony piece."

To Galasso, Bilodeau's win represented a triumph for all of Canada, particularly for French-Canadians. 

"How fitting was it that a French-Canadian would win Canada's first gold medal, ever, on Canadian soil? He symbolizes a people who not only survived the harsh winters of the new world, but flourished in them."

As such, Galasso made sure the song was available to sing in both French and English, dedicating the tune to Samuel de Champlain and the founding of Quebec City.

Galasso was born and raised in Grande Prairie, Alberta. His love of Canada is deeply rooted in seven generations of history and his family's contributions to the country. According to Galasso, his maternal ancestors were pioneers who crossed the Edson Trail in covered wagons pulled by oxen to the Peace River Country in the winter of 1910. They also served in both WWI and WWII.

"I love this country as a child loves its mother and father: out of gratitude, out of respect, for passing down to me values of respect and tolerance and goodness; for providing me the opportunities to succeed and to prosper and to proudly say, wherever I am in the world, that I am Canadian." 

With the help of three others — Eva Caldieri (French lyrics), Frances Roberts (choir director) and Danny Choi (musical score) — Galasso, built a four-part anthem that reflects his love of Canada and the values of the country he holds dear.

"It's remarkable to me that the four individuals who collaborated to make this song a reality so well represent Canada. Eva is from France, one of the founding countries. Frances is from England, from the other founding country. Danny is a new Canadian while I am, if one could say, an old stock Canadian!"

Once the song was completed, the choir from Argyle Secondary School in North Vancouver, led by Roberts, made Galasso's dream come true, by performing his song. 

For a video of the Argyle choir performance click here:

The musical score, credited to Choi, is available to all Canadians with the hopes to inspire fellow citizens across the country to appreciate Canada and embrace the understanding that "on [our] shores all peoples find equality, fleeing war and famine, fear and poverty, seeking justice, freedom, hope and liberty." 

Galasso was just a toddler when Bobby Gimby's Canada was released for the Centennial, but his memories of the song have stayed with him for the past 50 years. 

"It was such a catchy tune, so positive and so uplifting, absolutely everyone was singing it. And it remained that way for several years after 1967. The country was so optimistic. We felt that there was nothing that we could not achieve and the future truly belonged to Canada." 

Following in Gimby's footsteps, Galasso dreams of hearing the Canada 150 Song / La 150éme du Canada sung across the country in both English and French.

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