Winners of ole's second annual Hitsville single song deal competition, Shane Chisholm and Ron McNeill, we're crowned victorious at this year’s CCMA’s held in Vancouver. Their co-write of “Kickin Up Dust” has officially joined the ole roster of great songs. This is the second win for McNeill who won last year’s inaugural event for his song “Places I Ain’t Never Been,” a song cut by Ole songwriter and artist Willie Mack on his 2009 album, The Journey.

McNeill’s other notable co-writes include: "Half Way To Nashville," released as a single by former Canadian Idol contestant Justin Ament; “Dancing In My Mind,” reaching #65 on the Canadian Country Charts; and “Never Too Late To Change,” the title track on Levi Webb’s debut album. Ron also co-wrote on “West Texas Crude” for 2008 CCMA nominee Joe Hikk and The William Sideband released his song “Truck Stop Betty” last year.


Ron McNeil’s voice will soon be heard throughout the world. The local professional songwriter’s composition, Let it Burn will debuts in an upcoming movie. “The coolest thing is it’s for kids and it’s my voice and my song helping them,” said the 43-year-old singer, songwriter and producer.

Let it Burn will be released on iTunes after the movie premieres. It will be featured in the movie, For the Love of Children, starring philanthropist and Hollywood actor Angelina Jolie, the Dalai Lamai, Canadian award winning producer and director James Sinclair and founder and president of For the Love of the Children Society, Ashid Bahl. The documentary will premiere at the 2013 Monaco International Film festival, Dec. 6 to 8 and McNeil, along with his girlfriend Georgie Lyons, who helped with the song, will be in attendance. “The great thing too is it will premiere all over the world,” said McNeil, adding there are scheduled screening in Nepal, India, Mexico, the USA and Canada. “My voice will be heard all over the world.”

It’s not the first time the songwriter’s pieces have found acclaim. Not only have his songs been recorded by a number of local artists, but he is also a two-time winner of Ole Publishing’s song writing competition, Hitsville, at the 2008 and 2009 Canadian Country Music Awards. McNeil said this opportunity is one of the highlights of his career. “It will be hard to top this,” he said.

He was told about the opportunity through his girlfriend, Lyons, who is a also a musician and a teacher at the Calgary Arts Academy. She learned of the chance when she met Ashid Bahl, president and founder of For the Love of Children Society, a non-profit group based in Canada that provides aid to more than 100,000 disadvantaged children locally around the world. The documentary features the Society’s work building schools, orphanages, and delivering care to children. “His (Bahl’s) presence is such a gift. He gave his own money to start this organization and just all the work that they do, this (song) seemed so small of a token to contribute,” said Lyons. She said Bahl mentioned he would like a song to represent the society and she immediately thought of McNeil.

“Georgie told me about him and I watched his bio and thought ‘this guys on fire, his soul’s on fire.’ I picked up my guitar and called Georgie and within 15 minutes pretty much had the song finished.” Lyons helped compose the song but also coordinated having a children’s choir, of students of the Calgary Arts Academy, to sing along with McNeil. “Originally I thought someone else would sing it,” said McNeil, who performed for the demo. “But they liked my voice and went with it.” Lyons spent three weeks training the children. She said she didn’t do auditions but instead invited all of the children interested in taking part to do so. “I knew I could whip them into shape,” she said.

The song is a heartfelt ballad, capturing the passion, hard work and love of the society dedicated to helping children around the world, the two explained. “His voice is rugged and is pitted against the innocent voices,” explains Lyons of the sound. McNeil said it has a country-gospel feel. “I almost cry every time I hear it,” said Lyons. “It came together in a way that was so quick and easy, like a gift.”

The two said they are “very excited” about this opportunity, adding knowing the piece will reach international audiences and raise awareness for less fortunate children was the ultimate goal.
                                                                                                                                    ~ Article by Sylvia Cole


Calgary Sun aritcle by Renato Gandia

For Calgary philanthropist Ashid Bahl, it's all about helping children living in unfortunate and disastrous conditions. "I've found everything I'm looking for in life by helping these kids," said Bahl, who's currently visiting super typhoon Halyan victims in the Philippines.

"That's why I keep doing it - just a simple smile on their faces, the happiness we bring to them, it's all very rewarding." Bahl, founder and president of Calgary-based nonprofit group For the Love of Children Society of Canada, said he was only 11 years old when he discovered the joy of giving to less fortunate kids in Kenya, where he grew up.

"I used to give away my lunch and toys to the less privileged and learned about the significance and importance of giving."  After moving to Canada as an adult, he founded the society in 1980 with the unwavering belief that one person can make a difference in the lives of those less privileged.

Thirty-three years later, the society has more then 2,000 volunteers across the globe in areas where people need compassion, generosity and humanitarian spirit.  The society supports 76 schools and orphanages around the world apart from supplying essentials such as food, medical aid, water wells, educational supplies, electricity, among others.

Recently, Bahl's work was captured in a documentary film called For The Love of Children. The film, which won various awards and the 2013 Monaco International Film Festival last December, showed his journey in helping the less fortunate around the world.  It's main message is Bahl's philosophy in life that "even one person can make a big difference to bring peace and stability in this world."

I was named best feature documentary, best film, and was the recipient of the grand prize Angel Awards for best picture. Bahl said the honours the documentary received mean a great deal for him and his organization. "It gives us great opportunity to share to other people our work and encourage them to follow suit in our footsteps."

The documentary, which will be shown around the world, means greater exposure for the society's work that with any luck could inspire others in helping the less fortunate, he said.  Whether the victims are local - such as those devastated by the historic 2013 Alberta flood - or off-shore, such as Haitians ravaged by an earthquake, helping them is the life mission Bahl says he will continue to pursue.
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