We Are The World Nova Scotia: Connecting Through A Love of Music, People and A Place We All Love

Although I have been away for forty years, I go home to Nova Scotia every summer to be with friends and family enjoying the great summers on the Mira River. Yes, I still call it home

This time of dealing with covid19 has been difficult for many including me and to add to that a tragedy that was unimaginable which will have a lifelong impact for many seemed as if the world was falling apart a piece at a time. Getting together in a typical Nova Scotian kitchen style party (online) was a great way to connect with others. Just a bunch of regular people, Maritmers or those connected to the maritimes getting together. Everyone was welcome to join in.

On a day before the tragedies, I happened upon a Facebook post where I saw the invitation to do a virtual choir. A little apprehensive, I thought why not do something scary and fun. Music can help in this time I thought , so I decided to jump in. I did not know a soul or really what I was about to do. I just clicked the button to join and voila they let me in. Somewhat like when I made the quick decision to move to Alberta from Dartmouth , Nova Scotia forty years ago with five boxes, five hundred dollars and did not know a single person or what to expect. I just did it without regret. Life can be like that sometimes if we take positive risks. For me and I am sure for many music can bring life into an otherwise ordinary day and for me that day it absolutely did.

Nova Scotians always seem to find a way to come together in tough times such as this beautiful tribute Nova Scotia Remembers . Music and gatherings define so many in the region.

We too came together because of covid19 and music thanks to the passion project of James Desmond aka Jaye Dee and his team Chris Whalen, Shawn Downey and Jeremy Sikkema. We Are The World Nova Scotia connected us all , adding some positivity into each of our days. Soon there will come a time where we won’t walk the beaches alone and be together.

Hopefully, your days will be just a little brighter just like it was for Pam Donahee Archibald who is a proud Nova Scotian and part of this project. Pam has a passion for music, children, and the beautiful nature her province has to offer. This project has given her an opportunity to be a part of something joyful, a way to lift others up and bring hope in a time when many of us are feeling helpless. Her hope for our world is to remember this time as a time of connecting on a meaningful level. Reminding us to take time for one another and not to take others for granted always giving each other grace. Never stop singing says Pam! Music is a powerful source to share love and peace as well as helping us stay strong together.

Thanks to all who contributed. Consider contributing to the
NSST Fund

There are so many great people involved in this project and you can learn a little more about a few of them below:

Thank you my new found friends and collaborators. Someday soon we may all get together for a true maritime kitchen party and sing We Are The World Nova Scotian Style.

Pam Archibald

Julie Atkinson

Katie Atkinson

Jason Biddiscome

Pat Brogan

George Cameron

Marcie Clowry

Geordy Craig

Yvonne Dawe

Katey Day-Rick

Stephanie Deaton

James Desmond

Jennifer Desmond

Brianna Desmond

Shawn Downey

Lorraine Gallant

Danielle Nicole Gofton

Hannah and Zack  Graham

Theresa Hunter

Bill Jeffery

Denise Jones Kendall

Joey Laviolette

Marc Little

Margaret Macdonald

Marie Ann MacEachern

Elizabeth Mason Squires

Kristina McCulley

Brian Morrison

Myra Moulton

Renee O Brien

Alice Patterson

Amy Peaker

Tina Robicheau

Jeremy Sikkema.

Susan Spellman Cann

Tracy Webb

Chris Whalen

Sawyer Whalen

Julie and Katie Atkinson live in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia . Julie has been singing in concerts since she was about nine years old. her mom says,” I’m pretty sure she was born singing”. She is a 2020 graduate, who is praying that she will have some sort of a graduation and prom. This covid 19 situation has been hard on her as she is a social butterfly and used to being surrounded by her friends. When the opportunity to be part of the this song came along, she jumped at it.

Katie, she is a grade 8 student, who is actually loving the fact that there is no school, she plays hockey, soccer, volley ball and softball and is missing her sports quite a bit. This was a first for her. She sings a lot at home, but never in front of anyone. She dreams of being able to get on the stage like her sister, but just doesn’t have the courage. Her mom Tiffany is proud of her for wanting to be part of this project and having the courage to do so.” I couldn’t be prouder of both of my girls for being part of something that spreads a little positivity, hope and strength in this crazy world!”

Jason Biddiscombe Started playing guitar at 15. I learned how to play and write music on my own. Always looked up to Coldplay. Lived in the dark side my whole life. Dartmouth lol.

Yvonne Dawe I’m from London Ontario. My husband William Dawe is from Sydney Mines, Cape Breton. I love to sing. I’ve posted a few videos to the ultimate Nova Scotia online kitchen party. When I heard of this project I was excited to be involved. I’m in the tenor choir. I’ve grown up in a generation where if your sad sing , if your happy sing. When you hear a good song sing. I sing to my grand babies. I have 3. i still sing and dance with them. It helps keep the music in their hearts. I sent in vocals and I’m honored to be involved in this project. We can reunite to send a message we are the world. We will stay strong together no matter how far apart we live. God bless Nova Scotia and to all in the world ! We come home every year. I’ve fallen in love with Cape Breton.

Jennifer Fidgen Desmond I was born and raised in Nova Scotia, currently living on the Eastern Shore, Musquodoboit Harbour. I am Jamie’s mom ❤️ and loved his idea to do this project. He has always tried to use his music to touch someone or show what he was feeling. So yes I am a proud mom lol. I am not a great singer , but was blessed to be part of this project and be able to see all of the amazing talent and support that was shown throughout this whole journey. So thank you to all! I will also speak about Brianna Desmond, Jamie’s little sister (12) she is a singer, actress, pianist, hockey player and so much more. Her and Jamie frequently work together on little projects. She also was excited to be part or this. We all wanted to spread hope and the togetherness that we all need right now.

Lorraine Gallant I am a proud maritimer living in New Brunswick. I am a mother, grandmother, crafter, artist, and lover of music, who’s been singing publicly for 20+ years. As much as the original ‘We Are The World’ collaboration made such an impact on the world, I joined this project thinking that we could replicate a bit of hope and feelings of togetherness in our small corner of the planet to show that we can get through this together. With the situation with covid-19 and the tragedy in Nova Scotia, that is more important now than ever before.


Danielle Nicole Gofton I was born and raised here in Nova Scotia. I currently live in Eastern Passage and have loved singing since the day I could talk. Being a part of this amazing collaboration of “We Are the World” was an honour. Even if this touches just one person we have brought hope to that person. With everything happening right now with COVID-19 and the senseless tragedy here in NS, it is more important than ever that we spread a little bit of hope and love to everyone. My hope for the world is that we come away from this time not taking each other for granted. Don’t take for granted the time we have together, or who truly matters in our lives. Be humble and show your love for others in any way you know how.

Theresa Hunter I was born and raised in southern Ontario until the age of 16 where I moved with my family to beautiful New Brunswick. It is where I have settled and now raising my two beautiful daughters and step daughter with the love of my life. I am an essential worker, a Postmaster for Canada Post in Florenceville NB. I have many passions from art, fitness and outdoor adventures to music. I love playing guitar and I’m always singing my heart out, trying to overcome my fear of singing for others.  

This project sparked my interest soon after I learned to play this song on guitar which I recorded as a tribute to the devastation happening all around us. I feel it is perfectly fitting for what is happening in our world right now and to think that so many can come together from far and wide to contribute to this … it really is a beautiful and meaningful way to bring people together while having to keep a distance.

I am so proud and honoured to have been a part of this collaboration of “We Are The World” from the very beginning and I hope it brings hope and light in a way to touch the hearts of so many in such tragic times. #WeAretheWorld #WeAretheChildren ❤🌎

Bill Jeffery This was a project that while we are in Newfoundland, gave me an opportunity to show support for Nova Scotia and bring people together. Having lived in Lower Sackville for five years, our family considers Nova Scotia our second home. With great support The Lonely Man Project has received from men and women in Nova Scotia, this was a great way to give back and I was so honored to be included.

Denise Jones Kendall I was born and raised on the beautiful Island of Cape Breton. 23 yrs ago, my husband, myself and our son, moved out west to Grande Prairie, Alberta. We’re so excited to say we’re working on moving back home. ☺️ Singing, animals and helping heal the hearts of others, have always been my biggest passions. I’ve kept my love of singing a secret for most of my life out of fear. When I had this beautiful opportunity to try out for this wonderful tribute, I gave it no thought and followed my heart. I wanted to be a part of something beautiful, inspiring and so full of love, and that could also help make a difference in people’s lives. I wanted my 4 beautiful pups to be in the video with me. They give me so much love. They’re a huge part of my life and I know so many others can relate to them. Coming together in tough times sends a beautiful healing ripple all around the world. It can help heal the loneliest and most broken of hearts. Life is so precious. We all need the reminder that we’re never truly alone. Someone is always there with an ear to listen and a heart full of lots of love. I’m so grateful to have been a part of so much love and with such wonderful souls. Home of my heart, Cape Breton, Sydney, Nova Scotia. 💚

Joey Laviolette I am from Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. I am a Plumber, Professional boxer, a Musician and a family man that’s pretty much me in a nutshell. I started playing piano at around 14, then the guitar when I was 16 .I learned mostly from my dad who is a great guitar player. My first introduction to writing music was with rap when I was around 14. I also am a boxer who competed with the Canadian Olympic team for 3 years. I have 4 Canadian titles as an amateur and am currently the jr lightweight champion of Canada I have a great wife Lisa and an amazing 6 year old name Breah

Margaret Macdonald I was born and raised on Prince Edward Island. I have been a resident Care Worker for 35 years love taking care of seniors. I love music and animals. My hope for the world is that we don’t return to our old ways never having time for anyone or anything we know now what is important, family and friends not material things.

Marie Ann MacEachern I was born in beautiful Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and now live in Cole Harbour. I have a great passion for music. I have loved to sing since I was a little girl. This project has meant so much to me and being a part of this project has brought such joy and hope to many people and families in a time when it is needed the most. Nova Scotia Strong! We Are The World and We Are All In This Together.

Kristina McCulley I’m a 20 year old yodeller, born and raised in the Annapolis valley. I’ve always been very passionate for music, participating in fundraisers, variety shows, jam sessions and contests across the maritimes. I’m so grateful to be a part of this project that has brought people across the world together. Hopefully this will strengthen us as a province and create love through all the tragic events happening. #NovaScotiaStrong

Tina Robicheau I’ve lived in NS since I was 10 yrs old. My parents were both born here and decided to move back home in April of 1978. I remembering thinking how beautiful it was and was surprised that first winter, how warm it was compared to where I was born, which was Winnipeg, MB. From as early as I can remember, my mother has been my biggest musical influence and inspiration. She would drag me around with her to different benefits all over the place. I would sing with her and the band and think … wow, this is kinda cool. I joined my high school choir along with two church choirs in my teens. Music has been a part of my life for a long time. When this opportunity came up … I did not hesitate. And with the recent tragedy involving two VON Colleges from the Colchester Branch, I felt even more of a passion to participate.

Amy Peaker I live in Victoria, B.C and have been singing since I was little. I have a passion for all kinds of music and was so proud to be part of a remake for “We Are The World”. I believe it will bring hope and strength to everyone who has lost someone. We are all in this together 💜

Tracy Webb  While born in Ontario, I have lived in the Valley for most of my life, coming from generations of proud Nova Scotians (Cape Breton, Westchester, and the South Shore) and recently retired after 35 years of teaching High school sciences. Music has always been a huge part of my life, from a child to now, as I play different instruments in several groups. While not really a vocalist, I do love singing and I am so grateful to be part of this project. The idea of the original “We Are The World” still holds as much power now, if not more so, as it did in 1985. To come together and share the message of hope, of being there for each other, and supporting our communities beyond borders is so important and precious. In light of the Covid 19 paradigm affecting so many globally, and in particular, the recent horrible tragedy of 23 lost lives here at home, this song and collaboration among “strangers” sharing gifts of music from the heart is profound and poignant. My wish is that every child can grow up knowing love, that people live in gratitude for who they have in their lives, and they can live life fully each day. Do random acts of kindness, and exist in simple joy … care and empathy for others goes a long way in living peacefully. We Are The World … together ❤️

Geordy Craig I was born and raised in Ontario. but have many, many relatives in NB mostly in the Miramichi. I’ve been playing music and singing for about 15 years and love it. I was very happy to be a part of this project and being the first person to sing on this video was really amazing too. Music brings people together as you can clearly see in these times. Although I live in Ontario, I feel very connected to the East Coast and was deeply saddened by the events that happened in Nova Scotia. Knowing that people will listen to this and donate money to help people recover from losing loved ones is a great feeling too! Great job everyone on this project!

Maybe we can pick the pieces up , one piece at a time and music is a great place to start. Thank you James Desmond for caring enough to want to do make a difference and inviting us all to be a part of this virtual kitchen party..

James Desmond, also known as Jaye Dee, was born in Halifax Nova Scotia, raised in Musquodoboit Harbour. James has been writing music ever since he was 12 years old . He use to do hip hop for a long time, and then switched over to country/folk. His favourite singer is Elvis Presley. James always wanted to change the world with his music . This collaborative video came from his heart. 

The Municipality of Colchester started a web page called “Heart Colchester” that shares more than a dozen links to GoFundMe pages for victims. The link in this video is for the Stronger Together Nova Scotia Fund and we hope you too will consider contributing in some way.

Maybe we will see you all in the next virtual kitchen party. Until then stay safe , sing to your hearts content, cuddle up or send messages to the ones you love and keep Nova Scotia and the people in your heart. We look forward to you visiting our beautiful province and the people who make it special soon.

Who Matters?

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Who matters?

“Everything you do has an impact. Who you are – that you are – actually matters. In an interconnected world (the only kind we have), our actions and the actions of others are inextricably linked- we are always and forever in a dance of mutual influence with those with whom we directly and indirectly participate. It is the unavoidable reality of being social creatures, only magnified by an ever-increasingly complex and interwoven societal structure. We matter to each other.” – Paul Greiner

This sums up my feelings about so many people and about so many things. Today I sobbed as I viewed the faces of all those lost in the Vegas tragedy. They mattered to so many people and today they mattered to me even though I did not know them.

Life is truly fragile and I am ever reminded of this. I try very hard to live every day as if it is my last. Am I always successful ? No, but I really wish to live life as fully as I can, love those I can and let the people in my life that I am closest to know they matter. I don’t want to wait til someone passes away for them to know that they really matter to me.

So if you are one of those precious people in my life reading this , know that you do really matter to me and I am so grateful to have you in my life. So today and every day let others know that they matter and hopefully you too will see as Greiner says that in this complex interwoven societal structure we matter to each other.

5 Things Worth Sharing

Painting I made for my family
Painting I made for my family

1.Family 

Nothing matters more to me than my family. I am at a point in life where our children are grown up and don’t need me as much, but I continue to love every moment I spend with them.  They bring a smile to my face and joy in my heart every time I sit down to a meal with them or get to be around them. I am grateful … oh so grateful. I hope my children and husband realize just how much they mean to me not only by my actions, but also through my words. Part of the reason I blog is for my children so that they can see another piece of who their mother is. My heart is so full of love for them.

“One Hundred Years From Now”

One hundred years from now

It won’t matter

What kind of car I drove

What kind of house I lived in

How much money I had in the bank

Nor what my clothes looked like

BUT

The world may be a little better

Because, I was important

In the life of a child.

Author: (excerpt from “Within My Power” by Forest Witcraft)

“What A Difference You’ve Made In My Life”. This is the song that played at our wedding and it holds true for my children as well as my husband. Seeing this you tube video was a trip down memory lane for me because as a teenager I loved Donny Osmond. We’ll let’s say i liked him,my friend was obsessed with him .I flew to Toronto to see him with my friend Evelyn when I was fifteen years old. (LOL) . I digress. The point I really want to make is my children and my husband have made a profound positive difference in my life.

2. Friends

I am so fortunate to have amazing friendships that lift me up, bring me great joy and fill my heart with love. We have bonds that cannot be broken. We share so many special moments in life. Each friendship I have I absolutely treasure. I value the precious moments I have with them and don’t ever take them for granted.

I moved to Calgary via Nova Scotia and Atikameg in 1981. It was a move that would change the course of my life and so began my story of lifelong adult relationships.

Fortunately for me I have enjoyed wonderful friendships in my life, so I knew how they could make a difference and sustain me. I have lifelong childhood friends from Nova Scotia who remain my dear friends today. Even though I have been away for thirty-five years, we still make a point of seeing each other and celebrating our friendships every summer.

Little did I know when I moved to Calgary, it would become my home or that I would discover extraordinary life giving friendships that would sustain me for life. “The gang” as we would so affectionately call ourselves are wonderful, kind, intelligent, considerate, amazing, loving and caring people. Our connections remain unbreakable.

The thing that I think is so amazing about these people is that we have been friends for over twenty-five years and never ever had a fight or major disagreement with one another.

In over twenty-five years we have missed very little time where we go not seeing each other.  We have celebrated Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, New Years, birthdays, births, deaths, and we often get together for absolutely no reason at all. There rarely goes by a month where we don’t sit down once , twice or even more times together to enjoy a feast.

Every celebration creates fabulous memories. We laugh, sing, play games, tell stories and just plain enjoy each other’s company. Our children have been blessed with such great role models of positive, lasting friendships.

We are there for each other whenever anyone needs something no matter what. I can count on these people for whatever I need. They are my family. No, we are not related, but we are closer than some families. We have made a connection that will last a lifetime.

What do we all have in common? We moved to Calgary to work. We needed to be able to use the skills from our education. It was a place to create a life for ourselves. None of us knew we would remain in Calgary after all these years. There are other commonalities, but this and the fact that we all had no family in Calgary brought us together.

We all happen to be from a place near the water. Prince Edward Island, Vancouver and Nova Scotia. Other friends come to some of our celebrations, but they don’t get to celebrate all of them because they have family here in Calgary. The rest of us don’t ( except for a few cousins who we adore).

I absolutely love these people, and so do our children. We have been blessed with laughter in abundance over the years. I have positive memories that are etched vividly in my mind and will be passed on down to our children and hopefully our future grandchildren. There are stories upon stories that have been shared over the years. We never get tired of telling each other stories.

When I tell people about how much we really care about each other after all these years, they are often amazed. Really, we have never fought with each other about anything throughout the years.

What a gift I have been given. If I could I’d jump over mountains for these people I most definately would. They make such a difference in my life. I have work friends, neighbourhood friends, long distance friends , on line friends ( yes, you can create amazing on line friendships)  and lifetime friends. Each holds a special place in my heart. each is a true gift.

I have been so blessed with all the friends that surround me. I can’t even put into words what they have meant to me.

If I pass anything onto my children it will be this.

Find great friends, not friends you necessarily always agree with all the time, but friends who you love being around and they love being around you.

Friends who :

accept you just the way you are
you can laugh and cry with
would be there in a minute no matter what you needed
the spouses / partners like and respect each other
don’t mind being silly with you no matter how old you are
share the good times and the bad with you
you always know will be there no matter what the circumstances
share your hopes, dreams, successes and losses
find friends who always seem to know the right thing to say or do

I am so happy to celebrate my friends. I want to shout from the mountaintops that YOU have provided me with some of the happiest memories of my life. I LOVE YOU so so much!

3. Life is To Be Lived 

I have believed for many many years that we need to live life to the fullest, maybe because of all the early deaths that have happened to people I have loved or people I have cared for. Zach is an amazing example for all of us. He is a teacher with many wonderful lessons and ones that are definitely worth sharing.

You don’t have to find out you are dying to start living

  • most people live in the middle, but you don’t have to
  • be empathetic and compassionate
  • always look for the good in people
  • things are OK when you believe in something greater
  • what makes you happy is seeing someone else smile because you put it there
  • what’s awesome about living in this world is that you can help people
  • the structure of a family is great
  • to be in the same room with your siblings is enough
  • it is not the life in your years , but the years and passion you put into your life
  • spend time with the people you love
  • it’s ok to dream big
  • celebrate the life you have
  • you can communicate love through music
  • music can heal
  • releasing feelings through music is helpful
  • letting people know you love them is important
  • sticking together as a family is extremely important
  • be happy no matter what
  • treat people the same and everything will be fine
  • smile despite what is happening in your life
  • memories are essential…create positive ones
  •  friendships help
  • fill your heart up with joy
  • it’s ok to have ultimate dreams
  • people we don’t really know can change our lives
  • the way you live matters
  • surround yourself with those people that lift you up
  • LOVE makes life BETTER

Zach says it alll better than I could ever do, his message is one that I will share again and again. Thanks Zach for giving us your gift of life. I know I treasure each day I have been given.

4. Find a Career You Love

I have been blessed with work I love to do. I have felt honoured to be able to be in the presence of so many students who have helped to teach me so much in life. I feel honoured that they allow me to enter into their world. Each day I go to work I am grateful. It doesn’t mean that every moment of every day I am happy, but most moments of most days I really am very happy. My work brings me great joy and fulfillment. I really try to put passion into practice .

5. Have Hope

Life is not always easy and sometimes just downright hard, but having hope has gotten me through all the rough times. Even when I might have felt like giving up I haven’t because I could see a spark of hope. May you find HOPE in your life.

Music can heal the soul and inspire hope. I love music , well who doesn’t.  This last song is one when I hear it , I think of my husband who I am forever grateful for. Finding him is a gift that has made my life better. The words speak what I have in my heart.

This reflective post has been worth sharing for me. Thanks to Maureen Crawford for inspiring this post.

Now I challenge you . What are your 5 things worth sharing?