August 24, 2014
About The Naomi Project
In a Nutshell.....
The Naomi Project is a collaboration between Ric Driediger (Churchill River Canoe Outfitters/Forest House), Zane Hrynewich (CyberSlang Consulting) and Sue Leonard (songwriter/recording artist, Hamilton, Ontario). The concept began as a simple conversation between Ric and Zane in the fall of 2012. Zane had just returned from a visit to Forest House. He had posted pictures of his trip on his website, which Sue had seen. (view pics) Ric and Zane had discussed the possibility of using the serenity, beauty, and ambience of Forest House as a backdrop for a musical project on many occasions. Coincidentally, upon viewing Zane's pictures, Sue had messaged him, saying that it was the prefect setting for a musical collaboration. Zane relayed this to Ric. Ric agreed, and the initial concept for The Naomi Project was born.
Naomi Grace Heffler was a vibrant, energetic, passionate young woman, who passed away in the Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia, Canada on Monday, January 20, 2003, at the age of 25 years. Naomi had been a summer employee of Churchill River Canoe Outfitters, where she deeply impressed owner, Ric Driediger, with her personality, her energy, and her fervor for the outdoors. In 2003, Ric Driediger, owner of Churchill River Canoe Outfitters, started the "Naomi Fund" in memory of Naomi. Funds are raised through raffles of donated items, such as home-made quilts, photos, books, etc. displayed at Churchill River Canoe Outfitter's office in Missinipe, SK. Bursaries are then awarded in Naomi's name, to young people pursuing outdoor studies.
Zane had never met Naomi, but was moved by her story. Employees of Churchill River Canoe Outfitters who knew Naomi spoke of her with such high regard and fondness. She truly was a remarkable young woman. Ric, Zane and Sue agreed that using Forest House to inspire music dedicated to the spirit of Naomi would be the goal.
A Year of Planning.....
In order to make the Naomi Project happen, many logistical issues needed to be addressed, ranging from travel, to equipment, to writing music together while living thousands of miles apart, and much more.
Building a Working Relationship:
Sue Leonard and Zane Hrynewich met via social media in 2011. Soon after, Zane featured Sue on CanIndie, his website promoting Canadian Independent Recording Artists. This was followed by Zane's design of Sue's new personal website and accompanying online store, Leonardville. The pair agreed to work on the Naomi Project together in September, 2012, but would not meet in person until August 25, 2013, one day before the duo had to make a six-hour drive together to Missinipe SK, to then fly to Forest House.
Forest House is set on the shore of a pristine lake in the McLennan Lake area of northern Saskatchewan, Canada about 150 km north of Lac la Ronge. Sue Leonard arrived in Saskatoon, SK on August 25, 2013. On August 26, the two drove to Missinipe. They and their gear then travelled to Hutchings Lake, next to the tiny lake Forest House is located on, in a De Havilland DHC-3 Turbo Otter. It was necessary to land on Hutchings Lake, because the lake at Forest House was too small to accommodate float plane landings. The gear was then portaged into the west end of Forest House, and subsequently canoed to the location of the main lodge.