The West Coast’s Glee Kids have produced an uplifting and inspiring music video showcasing their love for their community.
“It’s something different. It’s something that’s really touching and it’s something that shows off our community as well,” Glee co-founder Courtney Johnson told the Westerly News, adding the video includes scenes from Whiskey Dock, Little Beach and Amphitrite Point. “You see them having fun in their environment…Why not show them living their best lives in the place that they’re growing up and that they love?”
Johnson explained that the Glee program was shut down at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic last year, but she found herself inspired to find a way to get it going again safely while watching the American Music Awards last winter.
“I didn’t actually realize how much I missed teaching…It’s part of who I am. I love what I do. That’s ingrained into your soul. If you are an artist, if you are a musician and you want to share that gift and teach children, that is a calling that just sticks with you, nothing can take that away,” she said. “You don’t actually realize how much you miss it until you start talking about it with other people and you start talking about the ideas that you wish you could do…I really, really missed teaching and I know that the kids missed it too.”
Without the ability to get the kids on stage due to COVID-19 concerns, Johnson decided to pursue the program’s first music video and reached out to Geoff Johnson to do the filming and David James Brown to handle the sound production with Johnson teaching the music and her Glee program co-founder Sarah Hogan covering the choreography.
The team received a Neighbourhood Small Grant through the Clayoquot Biosphere Trust to put the video together.
“They’re always very supportive when it comes to the arts and children,” Johnson said of the CBT.
She said about 12 kids from Tofino and Ucluelet participated, with weekly singing classes in Johnson’s yard beginning in June and the video was filmed in August.
“We picked some areas in Ucluelet to film and before we knew it, the project was done,” she said.
“The kids that wanted to be a part of it really wanted to be a part of it. They took it very seriously, which is something that I just loved to see. You get to see their inner Broadway star come out of them. It’s really quite adorable…They get so into what they’re doing and that’s so amazing to see.”
She added she was “absolutely amazed” by the finished product.
“It was blown out of the park. It’s beautiful. I love that the kids sound natural, they all sound really good and they all look happy and they’re all just living their best lives. Everybody who was involved really enjoyed the project and, of course, it’s better than I thought it would be and I think it’s that essence of humanity that really made it that way,” she said.
She said the AMA performance that inspired the project was a duet of ‘Only Love’ by Katy Perry and Darius Rucker, which was the song chosen for Glee’s video.
“The whole point of the song is if you have one day left on this earth what would you do with it,” Johnson said. “It’s a globally familiar hard time in the world right now. People are very on edge, people are very divided, people are very angry and a lot of people don’t even know what they’re really angry about, they just are and they need to be reminded that there are other things that really do matter…If you only had today, would you really worry about all of the awful things or the pointless things, what would you do? You would spend it with the most important people, you would let everything go, you would do everything you could do to be happy in that moment. That is the whole point of the song.”
She added the success of the project could motivate more music videos in the Glee program’s future.
READ MORE: Glee Kids ready to rock in Ucluelet