Boreal Ultimate Music Society Releases New Album

By Jamie Varga

An organically homegrown group that affectionately refers to itself as B.U.M.S.—or the Boreal Ultimate Music Society—is working hard to keep local music pumping its healing powers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and has dropped a new album.

Scott and Rachel Macsemchuk, owners of Amberlite Resort on Weikwabinonaw Lake, found themselves in a bad way when the coronavirus hit the region and the floor dropped out for their whole way of life. Adding to their loss of livelihood, they also had to cancel the fourth year of their music festival, AmberJam. Like others affected by the shutdown, the Macsemchuks and their resident sound engineer, Rob Nickerson, quickly came up with a new idea: to record the event instead. It was a concept they had been planning for some time, but it took root as they found themselves with empty cabins, the necessary studio space, and recording equipment ready to go. 

“My buddy Bob Chabluk and his band Urban Ditchweed were about halfway through performing their original song, ‘No Man’s Land,’ at last year’s AmberJam and I got goosebumps,” Scott Macsemchuk says. “I ran down and told Rob, ‘I don’t know what it’s gonna take but we gotta record this stuff!’ That was the inspiration for this whole project and, sure enough, that song is the close-out track.”

The Boreal Ultimate Music Society channeled its efforts into Boreal Oasis Studios, recorded as many of the acts slated for the festival that they were able to, and released the album Eleven in December. The album features 11 different acts that include The JB Band, The Chain, Sunday wilde, Toxic Neighbour, and Cole Myronuk and The Wild, to list a few. It is now available on most streaming services and for those who would like to throw a little extra support directly to the sources, CDs are also available at Backstage Music on Red River Road.

As if all of this wasn’t  a grand enough undertaking, the B.U.M.S. also enlisted the talents of Confederation College Film Program alumnus William Shaw and a team of creatives to produce a video for each of the tracks, allowing us to actually see the acts that we had missed this year. The videos are scheduled to be released each week until February 13; they kicked off on December 5 with Toxic Neighbour’s track “Sane Asylum.”

It is all too easy to get wrapped up in sadness and negativity these days, but it is during these hard times that we especially need to appreciate the access we have to incredible musical medicine like this project, thanks to great local musicians, studios, events, and innovators like the Boreal Ultimate Music Collective. Go give them some love and let the music wash away your stress for a little while.

Visit, or subscribe to the Boreal Oasis Multimedia YouTube channel and check out a new video every week.