Banding together: new music video showcases Sea to Sky corridor’s gratitude during pandemic 

Local musicians, more than 150 community members take part in project

click to enlarge A screenshot from the music video project Together From Sea to Sky. - Screen grab
  • A screenshot from the music video project Together From Sea to Sky. Screen grab

Heather Geluk had just moved to Squamish from Toronto and was settling in to her new community when the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

Quickly and unexpectedly, she found herself self-isolating at home. Scrolling through her Facebook one day, she came across a music video for the Andy Grammer song “Don’t Give Up On Me.”

“I love doing music videos. I was like, ‘I should get my sister’s kids to lip sync to this song.’ My sister was like, ‘No way. I have zero time to do this,” Geluk says with a laugh. “I thought, ‘I know, why don’t I try to figure that out on my own?’”

On a whim, she reached out to Meg McLean, the admin of the Facebook page What’s happening in Whistler during COVID-19 to ask if she had any ideas for sourcing content.

“I had no idea what was going on,” McLean says, laughing. “It was Easter Sunday and I called her back. We chatted and hit it off.”

That was the start of both their unlikely friendship—built online and over the phone from Squamish to Whistler over the last month—and the music video project that officially launched on Saturday, May 16, called “Together From Sea to Sky.”

It features familiar Sea to Sky corridor musicians—including Brother Twang, The Hairfarmers, Ruckus Deluxe, and Heather Paul—all from physically-distant locations, singing “Don’t Give Up On Me,” intercut with images and videos submitted by more than 150 community members showcasing how they’re demonstrating gratitude and spreading positivity throughout the pandemic.

Let’s just say you might want to have your hanky ready.

The message in the song—a plaintive but upbeat rallying cry to carry on—coupled with visuals of all the community members (including health care workers), businesses, and institutions we’ve been missing over the last two months creates a moving snapshot of life in corridor quarantine.

“It’s been incredible,” Geluk says. “I feel like I’ve lived here for years … It’s because I see all these faces, people sending me stuff and really opening their hearts. They didn’t just send pictures, they sent the stories as well.”

The video is the result of a month of hard work.

After that first phone call in April, Geluk reached out to Grammer’s label and agent to ask permission to use the track. To her shock, they quickly gave the thumbs up.

“We were jumping up and down in the air,” McLean recalls. “Like an isolated, six feet off the ground.”

For her part, McLean reached out to her pals in SkiiTour—Tim Livingstone, who’s also a video editor, and Dave Rollie, a music editor. Both immediately jumped on board.

But as the hundreds of pieces of content from community members started to roll in and the multiple versions of the song—musicians had to send a version with audio and one with just video—were submitted, they handed over duties to people with a little more experience.

That turned out to be Ian Cameron—one half of Ruckus Deluxe who edited the music together—and Kevin Hardiman, a former Whistlerite who works in Vancouver as a filmmaker and photographer.

“He was so happy to be invited and knows everyone from the Sea to Sky,” McLean says.

Added Geluk: “We didn’t provide any artistic guidance or direction. We said, ‘You understand where we’re coming from. You lived here; you know the community.’ And he created that from our hundreds of pictures.”

The pair also decided to use the video as a way to promote the Sea to Sky Healing Project, which offers a toolkit for people struggling with mental health during the pandemic. (Read more about it here.)

“They’ve done so much for the community and every single person on there is really invested in this area,” McLean says. “They mean it from the bottom of their hearts.”

With their month-long project officially wrapped up, the pair is looking forward to a day when they can finally hang out in person. “The best thing to come out of COVID is our friendship,” Geluk says.

Watch the video here.

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