Winnipeg choir shines in viral video shot at Cape Breton Miners Museum
Rendition of Lean on Me in mine shaft nets more than 62,000 views
A Facebook video of the Winnipeg Youth Chorus's performance of the Bill Withers classic Lean on Me at the Cape Breton Miners Museum in Glace Bay, N.S., is a hit.
The video has netted more than 62,000 views since it was uploaded on Wednesday.
Mary Pat Mombourquette, the museum's executive director, said when she heard a youth choir would be visiting the mine museum last week she wanted them to have the opportunity to sing at the top of the mine shaft.
"It's got a wonderful reverb, so if there's ever a choir or singers or anything, I love to have them sing at the top of the mine because it's just a beautiful sound," Mombourquette said on Sunday.
Mombourquette asked one of the summer students working at the museum to take the video and post it to the museum's Facebook page. It has been viewed tens of thousands of times since.
"That's astounding," she said. "We've never had a viral video. In fact sometimes I wonder — is anybody reading any of my posts? I guess when you capture somebody's attention there is something about that and obviously this choir captured everybody's attention."
Comments on the video have been positive, with many people praising the young, talented voices.
"There's nothing I like better than choral music and youth choirs are very dear to my heart," Mombourquette. "And these guys are spectacular, they were astounding."
The Winnipeg chorus was in Gros Morne National Park on Newfoundland's northern peninsula on Sunday, nearing the end of a 14-day tour of Atlantic Canada.
Garth Rempel, the choir's director, said the 16 members of the chorus who were able to make the trip have been keeping track of the video views. The choir members range in age from 11 to 18.
"The internet is a funny place, you never know what's going to happen," Rempel said. "My wife, Lisa, and I are the directors of this choir and we've been putting stuff out there for the eight years we've been running it and never had anything go viral like that.
"So it's very hard for us to say what seems to have generated all the attention on this, but we couldn't be more pleased. We're just ecstatic that we were able to sing such a great song in such a great space."
He said they sang Lean on Me because it's been in the choir's repertoire since it started.
"It just doesn't seem to get old," Rempel said. "We've sung it with all configurations of our choir in all kinds of venues. It's a great familiar tune that carries a great message. We never get tired of singing it and no one gets tired of hearing it.
"It seemed fitting in that case to sing it on top of the mine shaft, especially as we went on to learn that the miners, it was very important of them to rely on each other as part of day-to-day life in order to stay safe in the mine."
Mombourquette said there's also a special connection between mining and singing. The Cape Breton Miners Museum is also home to the Men of the Deeps choir.
"There is a very strong connection with the mining culture and with singing and I think that's true of anybody who is doing manual labour — it's something that makes the day pass faster," she said.