O Canada has never sounded quite like this.
Groups of elementary students at Bert Edwards and St. Ann’s Academy took turns singing the national anthem Tuesday as part of a cross-Canada celebration of the Maple Leaf.
With funding from Heritage Canada, Flag of Canada – Hometown Proud has taken a recording studio on the road to the selected schools in every province and territory that have been given an opportunity to participate in what will be a larger than life recording project.
“We are doing the largest recording of O Canada that’s ever been done in history,” said Rob Hanson, a recording engineer who has toured the country gathering young voices for the project. “We’ve been to every province and territory so this is representative of Canada, coast to coast.”
Starting in Ontario — the project originated in the town of Whitby, Ont., — and moving to the East Coast in spring, Hanson is winding up his recording odyssey out West. In all, the project will capture 25,000 voices from 83 schools in 41 cities. Kamloops is one of only four cities taking part in B.C.
Each recording session begins with a short history lesson focused on the flag and a bit of coaching on how to sing for the critical moment. Knowledge-testing questions from Hanson prompted eager shows of hands.
“You are going to be singing with all those areas of Canada, so it’s really important to stay in tune. We need regular singing voices. Your regular singing voice like in a choir.”
The grades two and four group at St. Ann’s needed no coaching on the lyrics, though. They eased through the song in a confident, professional-like fashion.
“Fantastic, guys, that was awesome,” Hanson told them. “You guys are now official recording artists of O Canada.”
At the conclusion of the cross-country tour, all student voices will be blended into one master recording that will be shared with all of Canada. The recording, along with a video documentary, will be featured in the 50th Anniversary Digital Yearbook.
For more information on the commemorative project, visit www.flagofcanada.ca