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If you could name only two things that singer/songwriter Holly Arntzen is passionate about, they would probably be music and her love of the natural world. As it happens, the two seem to be intricately entwined as Holly continues on her life-long mission to educate and change the hearts of people about our environment and the future of our little blue planet.
Surviving as an “environmental” singer for the past twenty five years has not been easy, but coming from pioneering stock and a sea-faring family, always ready to tackle issues that seem insurmountable to others, Holly’s determination to bring the message of environmental sustainability to the world is unwavering. Working in collaberation for many years with her late husband and producer, Stephen Foster, and today with a group of talented musicians and artists, she creates songs of innocence that carry a much deeper relevance. She is always ready to “tilt at a windmill” if it will lead to deeper understanding of the important environmental issues that confront us in our daily lives.
Holly, together with Stephen, created the Artist Response Team (ART) which has developed in-school music programs throughout Canada, working with thousands of children, parents and teachers alike, to help them learn songs about ecological issues, sing them in concerts and record them for CDs and radio shows. ART has now produced provincially reccommended and award-winning educational resources in the form of educator’s handbooks (Cycle of Life/Recycle and Salish Sea) that contain music, art and science, and assist schools in teaching about the issues while meeting their prescribed learning outcomes.
During her professional career, Holly has shared the stage with Stan Rogers, Herbie Hancock, Dan Hill, Paul Horn, Bruce Cockburn, Sarah McLachlan, Paul Hyde, Doug Bennett, David Sinclair, Fred Penner, The Arrogant Worms, Ian Tyson and many more. Since the 1980’s Holly has performed at major folk and children’s festivals across Canada, done concert tours in most provinces, taken part in many radio and television productions, and has recorded a vast catalogue of CDs.
She believes that only through unprecedented collaberation and cooperation can we hope to effectively address environmental issues. “You’d think we could agree to act together to protect the ecological processes upon which our survival depends… but somehow that message isn’t getting through yet. In the face of seemingly insurmountable intractability on the part of many people to see beyond their personal vested interests…and given that people only change when they want to, not because someone tells them they should…the only hope I can see is in the evolution of human conciousness. So this is my attempt to dig deeper”, says Holly.
Holly is committed to share her passion for the natural world so that what she loves will be loved by others. She is living proof that education can make a difference; the students she works with learn incredible amounts about nature, and are prepared to make sound decisions about the environment in ways that will affect their world positively all of their lives. What a great contribution to Canadian culture and the world at large!