Nfld. & Labrador

Toronto airport kitchen party inspires new tune and gigs for N.L. musicians

The duo behind the song-and-dance at a Pearson gate have a new song about their viral fame.

'People are enjoying [the new song], it's a nice lighthearted look at what happened'

Sean Sullivan, left, and Sheldon Thornhill, perform a new song about their airport kitchen party, a singalong that was videotaped and viewed hundreds of thousands of times. (Paula Gale/CBC)

The two men who roused delayed travellers at Pearson Airport into an impromptu singalong say they are still reeling from the video going viral — and have a new song about that experience.

 "Almost everywhere you go, people know about the story," said Sean Sullivan. 

Sullivan and Sheldon Thornhill have become celebrities of sorts in the last few months. Thornhill recounted how dozens of people approached him in the Avalon Mall in St. John's before Christmas, after recognizing him from the video that spread like wildfire in November. 

Their WestJet flight from Toronto to St. John's was delayed, so they hauled out their accordion and their guitar at the gate and started playing. A few dozen people joined in, singing a handful of songs such as Grey Foggy Day, Sweet Forget Me Not, and Music and Friends.

"We didn't do it for the purpose of fame and fortune ... it was just spontaneous and for fun," Thornhill told CBC Radio's St. John's Morning Show.

Michelle Sacrey Philpott recorded several of the songs and posted them on Facebook, and by the time her flight landed in St. John's, they had been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

New fans

Both men credit the airport kitchen party for landing them multiple gigs in Newfoundland and Labrador and a couple in Toronto in the coming months.

They've also got a new song, Pearson Kitchen Party, about the whole experience, written by Sullivan's friend Tim Murphy of Calvert.

"People are enjoying it, it's a nice lighthearted look at what happened," said Sullivan.

Musicians Sean Sullivan and Sheldon Thornhill helped get a group of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians up singing and dancing in November at Pearson International Airport. (Michelle Sacrey Philpott/Facebook)

There was some criticism about the impromptu song-and-dance, as some people argued it only perpetuated stereotypes about Newfoundlanders and Labradorians.

Sullivan dismissed those naysayers.

"[It was a moment of] pure enlightenment, pure pleasure. People cried, and it was just a nice warm feeling and we didn't know it was going to take off," said Sullivan.

Watch Sullivan and Thornhill perform Pearson Kitchen Party below.

A song about that Newfoundland airport kitchen party

5 years ago
Duration 2:21
Sean Sullivan and Sheldon Thornhill penned a tune about that time they broke out their instruments for a kitchen party at Pearson International Airport

With files from St. John's Morning Show