Bruce Coughlan was first commissioned by the SOCAN Foundation to write a song about early agriculture in B.C. before discovering the story of Sam Robertson. (Langley Advance Times)

Bruce Coughlan was first commissioned by the SOCAN Foundation to write a song about early agriculture in B.C. before discovering the story of Sam Robertson. (Langley Advance Times)

Maple Ridge musician seeks to immortalize settler Sam Robertson in song

Tiller’s Folly will be playing a fundraiser concert for upcoming documentary on Sept. 23

A Maple Ridge historical icon will soon be honoured in a new documentary thanks to a local musician.

Bruce Coughlan, who has spent the last 25 years “preserving Pacific Canadian history in song”, hopes that his new project will teach people about the extraordinary life of Sam Robertson.

“Most Maple Ridge residents are familiar with Samuel Robertson Technical High School, or SRT as it’s popularly known, but few people could tell you who Sam Robertson was,” said Coughlan. “I would hope to change all that.”

In a combined effort with the BC Farm Museum, Coughlan plans to put together a 10 to 15-minute multimedia presentation that tells the story of the pioneer Sam Robertson and how he shaped Maple Ridge.

Robertson, who was born in Scotland in 1823 and later migrated to Fort Langley in 1843, was the first European to settle and farm in Maple Ridge, according to the Maple Ridge Museum. He was also responsible for planting the first fruit trees in Maple Ridge not owned by the Hudson Bay Company, which can still be found along Kanaka Creek.

Coughlan explained that the project will include a virtual tour that takes viewers through various historic locations, all while Coughlan provides a voice-over to explain the significance of each area in relation to Robertson’s life.

The project will also have several pieces of original music created by Coughlan’s band Tiller’s Folly, including a new music video for their song “A Simply Extraordinary Life”.

Coughlan referred to the project as a “fast-paced magazine-style documentary look at how one-man’s life transitioned the most pivotal time in Western Canadian History.”

RELATED: Maple Ridge musician pays tribute to Van the Man

To raise money for the project, a fundraising concert is being put on at the Fort Langley Community Hall by the BC Farm Museum and Creative Compass Society.

This concert will feature performances by Tiller’s Folly, with tickets costing $25 per person online and $30 per person at the door. There will also be a cash bar available.

Supporters of the project can attend the concert on Friday, Sept. 23, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and music starting at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased ahead of time by visiting www.creative-compass.com.

RELATED: Preserving history through song


Have a story tip? Email: brandon.tucker@mapleridgenews.com

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