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Tuning into Nature brings music and the great outdoors together in Tryon

Flutist Morgan Saulnier is shown performing at Tuning into Nature in Tryon earlier this month.
Flutist Morgan Saulnier is shown performing at Tuning into Nature in Tryon earlier this month. - Garth Hurley

Music and nature were in perfect harmony during the recent Tuning into Nature walk in Tryon. 

The event, put on by the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra and the Island Nature Trust, was held Oct. 18 on the trails of the 12.3-acre Barbara Green Natural Area, overlooking the Tryon River salt marsh.

For the walkers it was an opportunity to enjoy nature while listening to six Island musicians representing various musical genres at different spots along the trail. 

For many of the musicians, it provided a stage, albeit a unique one, to perform publicly during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I’m happy to be playing anywhere right now,” said flutist Morgan Saulnier.

Harpist Lana Quinn called the event “very innovative … a great idea, considering the times”.

Lana Quinn sings and plays the Celtic harp during Tuning into Nature in Tryon earlier this month. The musical nature walk was put on by the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra and the Island Nature Trust. - Garth Hurley
Lana Quinn sings and plays the Celtic harp during Tuning into Nature in Tryon earlier this month. The musical nature walk was put on by the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra and the Island Nature Trust. - Garth Hurley

Bruce Craig, president of the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra, said the event, which was sold out two weeks in advance, was the brainchild of Ryan Drew, the educational outreach co-ordinator for the orchestra.

“If there is a positive to this pandemic thing, it has people thinking in new creative ways,” said Craig, who is also trust board member. “Musicians across the country are going through some tough times,” he said. “Hopefully, these smaller events can help them during these difficult times.”


At a glance

The following musicians took part in the recent Tuning into Nature event in Tryon:

  • Julie Pellissier-Lush and Richard Pellissier-Lush, Indigenous drum/song
  • Morgan Saulnier, flute
  • Todd MacLean, sax
  • Dale Sorensen, trombone
  • Jennifer Barrett, guitar
  • Lana Quinn, harp

Megan Harris, executive director for the Island Nature Trust, said while the event was proposed by the symphony it “instantly felt like a natural marriage of two subjects that feed our human souls".

“We are part of the natural environment, not separate from it, and our music should mix with that of other beings in a natural ecosystem,” said Harris. “Tuning into Nature is a great way to introduce supporters of both organizations to this connection of worlds.”

Fall colours provide the backdrop for Dale Sorensen and his trombone during the recent Tuning into Nature in Tryon. The musical nature walk was put on by the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra and the Island Nature Trust. - Garth Hurley
Fall colours provide the backdrop for Dale Sorensen and his trombone during the recent Tuning into Nature in Tryon. The musical nature walk was put on by the Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra and the Island Nature Trust. - Garth Hurley

She said the Barbara Green Natural Area was the perfect location to showcase a marriage of musical and natural beauty. 

“(We) met many people on the day with whom we share common ground,” said Harris. “We had an opportunity to connect with new people to a landscape we love, and we’re so happy to find that they saw value in this protected space.”

She said the Barbara Green Natural Area represents the great generosity of Islanders, including Green, who began the process of planting the site back in native trees and then donating those 12 acres to the trust so it could continue to rebuild the forest over time. 

“That spirit of caring for and reforesting the land extends to many others in the Tryon community, including the Sorensons and the Butlers, both neighbours to the trust’s natural area,” said Harris. 

“The community is gaining ecological richness that adds to the integrity of the Tryon River salt marsh and a long history of habitation by the Mi’kmaq and Acadians.”

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