for SATB chorus with Mezzo-soprano soloist (5:00)
Text by Aislinn Hunter
Everyone who has driven through the Crowsnest Pass in Southwestern Alberta knows about the incredible devastation caused by the Frank Slide.
The Geological Survey of Canada website says this about the event:
Failure occurred at 4:30 am, April 29, 1903, when 30 million cubic meters of rock broke free from the east side of Turtle Mountain. The event buried part of the town of Frank and greater than 2 km of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Lasting approximately 100 seconds, the Frank Slide is recorded as Canada’s worst landslide disaster killing at least 70 people. More fatalities are suspected due to the potential presence of unregistered migrant workers in Frank at the time of the slide.
Aislinn Hunter’s extraordinary poem reaches beyond the facts, exploring the impact the slide had on the souls who lived in the shadow of Turtle Mountain. I am grateful to her for allowing me to set her words to music.
“Frank Slide, Alberta” was first published in Hunter’s poetry collection, Into the Early Hours (Polestar, 2001), and later in the anthology Writing the Terrain (University of Calgary Press, 2005).