Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 17, 2004
Mary's song for Alberta
Composer of centennial song says she's blessed by God
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
As a child growing up in Calahoo, Mary Kieftenbeld joined the choir at St. Catherine Church because sitting through Mass was boring.
Now, just two years into a serious attempt to become a Christian singer and songwriter, a tune simply called Alberta penned by Kieftenbeld, 39, was selected from more than 300 entries as the province's official song.
The competition called for Alberta's songwriters to submit an original work to help celebrate the province's centennial in 2005.
The success she has achieved in such a short time is a matter of expressing the gifts God has given her.
"Anyone who knows me, knows that I believe I have been blessed by God," said Kieftenbeld, a mother of four who farms with her husband, Ed, near Riviere Qui Barre, north of St. Albert.
"I am very grateful that I have been blessed. I have been singing and volunteering my entire life and now this is taking me to a different level. I feel I am called to share."
The song, a sort of two-step ditty describing visceral prairie landscapes, was almost shelved after Kieftenbeld completed the first stanza. But helping her son, Jeremy, with his Grade 4 homework about the history of Alberta provided Kieftenbeld with plenty of visual images.
"Honestly, when I kissed the envelope good-bye on the deadline date, I said 'Thy will be done,' not 'My will be done.' This is how I look at things in my life. I'm letting the good Lord steer my ship. If this is where he wants me to be, this will happen. If not, fine."
Several weeks passed before Kieftenbeld received the phone call telling her she had won the competition. She initially thought it was a joke. But then reality set in.
"It was incredibly exciting. I couldn't wait to tell Ed."
Kieftenbeld released her first CD last May. She thinks she might use some of the $2,005 she received from the provincial government to help with another CD in the future.
Kieftenbeld has strong support from Ed and the children. In fact, any one of them can be found walking around their home singing or whistling one of her tunes. She says such moments are incredibly satisfying.
"What started as something for my family, including my mom and dad, has grown. Now I get emails from children who tell me how much they like my songs. I have received calls from women who have lost loved ones to cancer, telling me my music comforts them. This is why I am doing what I am doing," she said.