Boreal Pines was commissioned by Ashley Brockway and the Ecole McTavish HS band to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the 2016 wildfire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. This forest fire devastated over 7000 square kilometres of forest and the entire town was evacuated. As one can imagine, this was a highly traumatic event that has had lasting impacts on all who call Fort McMurray home. [Watch this documentary about their story]

Fort McMurray is situated within the boreal forest, which is a bioregion that supports an extensive network of plants, animals, and fungi. The coniferous forests of this region are resilient and, in many cases, have adapted to depend on fire for regeneration. Some species have pine cones which only release seeds under extreme heat; a forest fire can set this cycle of the forest into motion. The pines of the boreal forest are known for their ability to bounce back after hardship, and so are the people of Fort McMurray. 

This piece consists of nature-inspired imagery and reflects the mixed emotions of the community as they rebuild: aleatoric passages represent uncertainty, while hopeful melodies encourage finding and creating light within the darkness. 

One dollar from every purchase of this piece will be donated to Tree Canada’s Operation ReLeaf, an ongoing program working to reclaim the loss of trees from the 2016 wildfire. Thank you for helping us support this initiative.