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Fine Arts Academy writes and records song for CFL

Posted on Jun 22, 2024

t’s been a whirlwind semester for Mr. Thomas and St. Mary’s Fine Arts Academy students! 

The 90-student choir have been working behind the scenes for the past four months to write and record a song for the CFL. The project is intended to share the rules of the game to help people better understand Canadian football.

This has been an incredible opportunity for students, giving them hands on experience and skills that they will carry with them forever. We are grateful for dedicated teachers like Parkor Thomas who support and foster the dreams of our youth!

Yesterday, the music video for the project was filmed at the Methanex Bowl with support from St. Mary’s Jr. Colts Football, Monsignor McCoy Football, Toxic Elite Cheerleading and additional Fine Arts talent from the school!

The project was featured in this morning’s newspaper and on the Chat TV evening news last night. Read both stories online, here:

St. Mary’s students write, produce and star in CFL-themed song and video

Story written by Brendan Miller, Medicine Hat News - June 22, 2024

A Calgary film crew travelled to Medicine Hat on Friday to shoot a music video for a theme song that explains the rules of Canadian football, written and produced by performing arts students at St. Mary’s School.

The school was approached with the unique concept by well-known Alberta historian Rob Lennard, who hosts the YouTube channel The History Wrangler Production, and he was looking for choral students to write and sing a catchy song that explains the rules of the CFL for people who don’t understand Canadian football.

Lennard explains that last year during a conversation with Lois Mitchell, former lieutenant governor of Alberta and part owner of the Calgary Stampeders, he pitched the idea to create a song for youth and new Canadians.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to create a song? It’s never been done,” says Lennard. “Make rules fun, appealing and easy to understand for youth or new Canadian people who don’t have an idea of what the basic rules are to the CFL.”

Using a three-minute melody he had recorded in a previous project that included trumpets and a saxophone solo Lennard planned to fit seven verses in the song about CFL rules, he just needed to find someone to write them.

Using his connections at the Medicine Hat College, Lennard was introduced to junior high choral students at St. Mary’s Schools who were eager to take part in the opportunity.

”I had kids crying, they were so excited,” says Parkor Thomas, choral teacher at St. Mary’s. “Because this is their dream. At St. Mary’s, in fine arts, their dream is to do productions, to write songs, to express their creative nature and their artsy aspect about them.”

Over the past four months students have been researching football, learning the sport and writing hundreds of verses about basic rules for the song including this example:

“60 minutes total where both teams compete, for the start of the game team captains flip a coin in the freezing cold or hot sunny heat.”

Once song lyrics were finalized St. Mary’s students auditioned for solo parts and recorded the final version at local recording studio STIR Studio.

“So cool, it was a huge soundboard and then they had an entire room with padding on the walls and these crazy microphones and headphones,” says Grade 9 student Katie Franchett, who was picked to perform a solo verse in the song. “They had us all warm up in a circle and we recorded this one verse like 50 times, it was crazy.

“It was an out-of-body experience for me because I’ve always enjoyed singing and I never knew that I could be in a professional song for the CFL.”

“It was an absolutely wonderful, wonderful experience,” Lennard says about working with the students. “It was amazing to see the creative students at work at the wonderful St. Mary’s School.”

Friday, camera crews, along with jugglers, stylists, football players, cheerleaders and performing arts students took the field over at the Methanex Bowl to shoot an official music video for the song that included Toxic Elite Cheerleading and members of the McCoy Colts and St. Mary’s junior Colts.

Throughout Friday the five-camera crew filmed a land acknowledgement, players on the field, cheerleaders cheering and choral singers signing the many verses of the song and a large celebration shot that featured the entire cast.

Lennard says he hopes the video will soon be played on the jumbo screens in CFL stadiums across the country.

“The goal is to have it released to the CFL teams across Canada prior to the Heritage Day weekend,” says Lennard. “My ultimate goal is once a year to have the St. Mary’s (performing arts students) CFL rules performing troupe and every year go to different CFL city’s and they perform the song at the halftime show, that’s what my ultimate goal would be.”

Lennard says he hopes to be able to work with the Calgary Stampeders to debut the song and is working to set up an opportunity for St. Mary’s students to possibly perform the song during halftime this season.

Music Video produced at Medicine Hat’s Methanex Bowl on Friday

Story written by Jesse Gill, Chat TV - June 21, 2024