Raising their voices for Humboldt

Photo courtesy City of Prince Albert

Musicians and non-musicians alike gathering for musical tribute to victims of last Friday’s tragic bus crash

A group of Prince Albertans is planning a special tribute to the victims of the tragic Humboldt Broncos bus crash.

Sunday afternoon, dozens of voices will fill the Dave G. Steuart Arena with a special song for the victims, a way to come together and heal through the power of music.

“There are a lot of people that wish to send their condolences and their help, and people are struggling to make sense of this tragedy,” said Sheryl Kimbley, one of the event organizers.

“Not too long ago we gathered for a very informal gathering to record Lean On Me for La Loche, and after that was done, people came forward and told us how much it meant for them. They didn’t know us and we didn’t know them, but it felt like people cared that weren’t just inside their community, they were supported and it meant a lot.”

Other musical tributes have been done since, including for forest fire relief.

“Music is healing and music can do a lot, not just for the people who are hurting and are impacted directly, but for people who want to find a way to help and don’t know how.”

Sunday, people will gather at the arena and sing a version of Rod Stewart’s song Forever Young, with slightly altered lyrics. The song will be performed in the key of G, instead of the original key of E, and will be slowed down a little as well.

Kimbley doesn’t know if two or two hundred will show up, but she’s hoping Prince Albert will show its strength.

“Just come,” she said.

“If you don’t think you can sing, just come because we’re stronger together, and no voice is going to sound terrible when we gather for a message like the one we’re trying to send. (That message) is we’re here, we care and we’re thinking about you.”

The song will be recorded. Kimbley said those impacted can use it for the days, weeks and months to come.

“We can’t say for how long their suffering is going to be, we don’t pretend to know what they’re going through,” she said.

“But we want to help.”

Kimbley stressed that just because her family is working to put the event on, and just because the Prince Albert Grand Council is supporting the event, doesn’t mean it’s just for members of the Indigenous community. She wants everyone of all backgrounds to lend their voice to the community effort.

“We’re hoping the entire community comes out,” she said. “We’ve got calls from people from Beauval and Ile a la Cross who want to come down. This can be a way for everyone to heal.”

Kimbley said the song chosen, Forever Young, spoke to event organizers for a few reasons. In it, Rod Stewart is singing to a child. Lines like “may the good Lord be with you down every road you roam,” and “Whatever road you choose, I’m right behind you win or lose,” really struck a chord.

“We’re hoping these kids are up there watching us, and they know they’ve got all these people supporting them,” Kimbley said.

To be able to book the Steuart arena was especially important to Kimbley.

The Grand Council had offered the use of the Allan Bird Memorial Centre Gym, but it seemed appropriate that it be done inside an arena instead.

“It’s a hockey team. To be able to stand where they all had their greatest joys means a lot,” she said.

“I can’t say enough about the (Steuart Arena) staff going out of their way to make things accessible to us. These are people that are grieving too. The hockey community is grieving, and I think it’s where we need to be.”

The tribute is scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday at the arena. All are welcome, though musicians bringing instruments are asked to sign up. Some guitars and hand drummers are confirmed, but Kimbley has indicated other instruments, such as bagpipe, fiddle keyboards – anything people can dream up, would be appreciated.

She can be contacted at 306-980-8501.

“This team, these coaches, the trainer, the statistician, the broadcaster, they were all on their way to go win a game,” Kimbley said.

“Right now, the province, the country, we’re saying, win or lose, you’re in our hearts. They’re forever young.”

Lyrics to be performed Sunday

Here are the slightly modified lyrics that will be sung Sunday afternoon:

May the good Lord be with you down every road you roam.
And may sunshine and happiness surround you when you’re far from home.
You have grown to be proud, dignified and true.
And have done others as you’d have done to you.
You’re courageous and you’re brave.
And in our hearts you’ll always stay

Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. (Forever young)

May good fortune be with you, may your guiding light be strong,
Build a stairway to heaven with a prince or a vagabond.
You have you never loved in vain.
And in our hearts you will remain

Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. Forever young

As you start to fly away, We’ll be hoping that we served you well.
For all the wisdom of a lifetime, no one can ever tell.
But whatever road you choose, we’re right behind you win or lose,

Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. (Forever young)
Forever young. Forever young
For forever young