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The song of a landscape, buried for 50 years

Dana-Marie Battaglia's folksong 'The Changing Valley' is part of Squamish time capsule



The year 2064 is some ways off, but when it finally arrives there will be a reminder of today's residents of Squamish in the form of a time capsule.

It was created to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the incorporation of the District of Squamish, as well as 100 years of Squamish.

Singer-songwriter and composer Dana-Marie Battaglia made a unique musical contribution to the time capsule, which was buried in Pavillion Park on Dec. 16.

Battaglia's song "The Changing Valley," an award-winning folk ballad about the region's history as told by its own landscape, is being put into the time capsule along with other representations of Squamish's current life.

"I wrote it from the perspective of the (Stawamus) Chief and (Mount) Garibaldi. I've always been fascinated anytime I've seen an old photo of the town. The buildings are all different and everything has changed, but the background is always exactly the same," she says.

She says it covers the era when First Nations were the only people in the valleys, to the settlers who came in, to today.

"It fascinates me that there are these constants. I was thinking of the mountains and wondered what I would have seen over the years — I sing the song from that perspective. The Chief and Garibaldi are old buddies who have seen all the changes happening below."

"The Changing Valley" was written for a contest five years ago held by a regional art show at the time called Wild at Art.

It was the first song Battaglia set out to write out as a story, having been led by stream-of-consciousness lyrics before this. So it remains an important song to her.

"It was really refreshing to do it that way. I remember writing the lyrics first and deliberating on what I wanted to say from that perspective. It actually flowed out of me. I did the recording, the melody with string and flute. I did it in five hours overnight just to make the deadline," Battaglia says.

Winning the competition at the time was rewarding, she adds, but having the song in the time capsule has made her especially happy. She rerecorded it especially for the event.

"When I first heard about the time capsule, my first thought was about the song because it is about that exact same thing, the passage of time and the people here, what we're about and what we're experiencing," she says. "The Chief and Garibaldi will be the same in 50 years, providing (volcanic) Garibaldi hasn't erupted!"

Battaglia thinks that when they open the time capsule the story will be similar "but there will be a new verse." All being well, she will be on hand to see it, at 83 years old.