seniors music fitness

The Log Driver's Waltz

The song of the week is a Canadian composition by the Brantford, Ontario born folksinger/songwriter Wade Hemsworth. He served in the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War 2 and worked in Northern Ontario, Quebec and Labrador as a wilderness surveyor. After moving to Montreal in 1952, he was employed by the Canadian National Railway until his retirement in 1977. It was in 1956 that he released his album “Folk Songs of the Canadian North Woods” using his life experience to draw from. Wade Hemsworth only wrote about twenty songs in his musical career, but many of them will go down in history including “The Log Driver’s Waltz”. 

A few of Wade Hemsworth’s songs became the musical background and subject matter for National Film Board Canada animated vignettes. In 1977 the Canadian government provided CBC with funding to create projects that promote cultural unity so $2 million dollars was given to the NFB for a series of vignettes that 80 people worked on for three years. The “Log Driver’s Waltz” piece was directed and animated by John Weldon, released in 1979 with the recording of the song by Kate and Anna McGarrigle and The Mountain City Four providing the soundtrack to the animation. It became the most popular vignette of all of them though I must say I also love “The Black Fly Song” vignette featuring another tune written by Wade Hemsworth. 

“The Log Driver’s Waltz” tells the story of women who say they would rather marry a man who was a log driver than a doctor or lawyer as they were no doubt better dancers since their occupation required them to be so strong and physically agile. The log drivers profession required them to walk or run on the logs as they floated down rivers.

The song is a charming tune and the tempo is perfect for chair dancing movements. It has a wonderful flow and waltz tempo that will provide musical variety to your class and inspire your choreography. 

A visual snippet from the NFB vignette 

A visual snippet from the NFB vignette