Students in Calgary’s Father Scollen School had a special visit from a rising Canadian country music star Thursday.
Calgary-born country musician Lindsay Ell — who has recently seen successes with singles like “Criminal” and Brantley Gilbert’s “What Happens in a Small Town” — brought her guitar and a literal gift of music.
Ell was at K-9 Father Scollen School to help MusiCounts Band Aid program present a $15,000 grant for musical instruments.
“To walk into Father Scollen School and sing for these students, the smiles on their faces was just so… It just warms your heart,” Ell told Calgary Today on Global News Radio 770 CHQR.
Ell credits learning music at a young age with her chosen career.
“It became the thing that I leaned on,” Ell said Thursday. “Music was the thing that I went to when school got stressful or worse; there was something going on with my friends. I just always turned to music.
“And I don’t know if I honestly would have chosen music as a career if I didn’t have much good musical education when I was younger.”
The grant presentation from Canadian music education charity MusiCounts came at the start of Canadian Music Week in Calgary, which culminates in the Canadian Country Music Awards (CCMAs) on Sunday.
Ell is nominated for four CCMAs, including Female Artist of the Year and Single of the Year.
Ell relocated to the country music industry hub of Nashville nine years ago but said she’s reminded of her humble Calgary roots every time she flies in.
LISTEN: Lindsay Ell joins Calgary Today after visiting a Calgary school with a $15,000 grant for musical instruments
“When I land at the [YYC Calgary International] airport, I remember playing on top of the baggage claim at the airport. I saw a mic stand set up on top of the baggage claim and I thought life has this way of coming full circle, really showing you where you started and yet how far you’ve come.”
Having the annual awards in the city she grew up in made even more special for Ell.
“To be nominated in my own city, my hometown… I have so much family coming,” Ell said.
“It’s going to be a really special weekend.”
Watch the Canadian Country Music Awards on Global TV, Sunday, Sept. 8 at 7 p.m.