CANMORE – Looking to unite the community during the COVID-19 pandemic, a local musician has teamed up with artsPlace and Mountain FM to host a community sing-along.
Bow Valley musician Ellen Braun is looking to bring the community together with a sing-along of her song “Okay” on April 1 at 1 p.m on Mountain FM.
“We’re inviting folks to turn the radio on, open their windows, get out on their porches, and sing-along," she said.
"It’s a way to bring the community together. Even though we’re all in different parts of the Bow Valley. I think it’s really beautiful because music brings people together … there’s nothing else that does it in the same way music does."
Mountain FM is committed to supporting the local music scene in the Bow Valley, said morning host Rob Murray. He added that support for artists is more important than ever during the pandemic.
Murray said “Okay” was the perfect song to collaborate with artsPlace and Braun, because of the support the tune can provide to the Bow Valley community.
“It’s helpful, it encourages us to get through this because everything will be OK,” Murray said.
ArtsPlace came to the radio station with the idea for the community sing-along and Murray said it seemed like a great idea to try and bring people together in a positive way.
“I think we’re all getting kind of cooped up and feeling a bit of cabin fever right now – this is just something fun for us all to do collectively,” Murray said. “Hopefully people will tune in and sing it loud.”
Braun said she wrote “Okay” three years ago during a difficult time in her personal life.
“I really wrote it as a song to myself, to remind myself that I can get through this and to remind myself of all the good things in life,” Braun said.
“Eventually we’ll get through this dark spot and find some light again.”
The song had a re-emergence, she said, after completing a recording of “Okay” at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity a year ago during a singer/songwriter residency.
Braun said she began speaking with artsPlace to find a way to contribute to the organization's online content. Braun explained that “Okay” was the ideal song to share with the community through the collaboration.
“In a weird way, I get to do my ‘It’s going to be OK’ tour,” Braun said.
“Now it’s going to be more meaningful than ever because more people are looking for that message.”
It is a challenging time in the community and the world and it is hard facing the uncertainty of when things will return to a semblance of norma,l she said. Braun added that it has been distressing to see her solo tour and gigs cancelled in the face of the pandemic
The silver lining has been seeing how the musical community has come together to keep hope alive.
“In the midst of all the chaos, there’s so much love and support,” Braun said.
She added that "Okay” can provide a bright light and bring joy and peace to people during this chaos created by the virus.
The song is very accessible she added, explaining that there is a video of her and her daughter singing “Okay” on artsPlace social media and website. She is encouraging people to learn the lyrics and musical insturment harmonies before the community sing-along.
“People are finding comfort with that song,” Braun said.
“The idea that the whole community would sing that together … is really heartwarming.”
“Okay” acknowledges that not everything is good by noting that there is a problem and is it OK to be sad in the moment, she said, while looking to the actions people can take to seek comfort when they are all struggling in trying times.
“There’s a tear in your eye and a song in your heart. It’s going to be OK,” Braun said quoting her favourite lyrics from the song.
“Stop the one and let the other start.”
“Okay” is available for downloading and streaming now.