By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – It’s been some years since musician Robb Nash was a partying high school student and some years since he hit a semi-truck in a head on collision that peeled back the roof of the car he was in and left him on the highway, his skull torn open, his life hanging in the balance. Nash survived that tragic accident, but his life was put in a serious holding pattern. The hospitalization prevented him from finishing high school and entering college; his long-term injuries prevented him from getting a job. But as the lead singer of Live on Arrival told Morinville Community High School students Tuesday afternoon, he did not give up, not on himself or anything else.
After a successful music career with his band that included two Canadian top ten singles, Nash left the touring world of rock and roll behind and now travels the country speaking to students about dreams, goals and the importance of second chances. Nash, who was given a second chance at life, now uses the power of music and the power of his straight forward and sincere story to reach young people in the hopes of showing them they do not have to make the same mistakes he made.
Nash’s message is not the standard drugs are bad message students often here. It is also not same old stay in school and get good grades story youth have been told for as long as there have been youth and schools for them to stay in. Nash’s message is a deeply personal one and one that encourages youth to find what they are good at and then tap into it.
Nash told students the why is more important than the what. “I never ever wanted to be a rock star,” Nash said, adding his worst marks in school were always in music. The musician said many adults can tell people what they do and how they do it, but are often unable to explain the why.
The why for Nash is his ability to use his story as a catalyst for change and empowerment. Through his music and story, Nash hopes to get youth to realize how precious their lives are and that each student has a purpose.
As was the case with the performer’s visit to Primeau last fall, Nash’s message seemed to resonate with the students, youth who quietly listened to Nash’s stories and message between songs and who enthusiastically applauded each number.
That connection with the singer and his message continued after the assembly through the band’s Facebook page. One student commented on how the use of music was an effective means of getting his message across.
“Thanks so much for coming to Morinville. Our school is pretty artsy and using music to communicate with us probably got through to a lot of people at my school!” wrote student Jaye Drew Ingle. “Thanks for doing what you do!”