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Happy Canada Day!

A while ago, Jonathan Baird, living in Malaysia, reached out to me for a new project. He was missing home, especially at this time when people are forced to be isolated. He wanted to be able to share his love of Canada with his family and friends, even though he couldn't be there in person. I felt the same way. So we decided to create a remote version of O Canada for Canada day!

He asked me to arrange the music, and we came up with a list of Canadian ex-pats who might feel the same way, and be willing to add their voices to ours. We came up with an amazing group of Canadians living abroad to play this arrangement, and I'm thrilled to share it with you all.

Then we needed someone to take all these different sounds coming from everybody's homes and studios, and merge them seamlessly, and we got the brilliant Steve Bellamy on board to massage and tweak all the sounds until it sounds like we're all in one place!

Finally, Jonathan has a friend in Malaysia who has been working with video editing to put it all together in this wonderful package, including our closeups and elements of fun in the credits. A really fantastic job by Rebecca Chan!

For those who want to dig in a bit further, here's a bit of the process:

Of course, the first step was to make a list of Canadian ex-pats brass players that we knew and could ask to do this project. Everyone we asked jumped at the opportunity to make some music during this shutdown! And after we had a list, we added the wonderful Gina Ryan on percussion, who added so much to this performance.

For the recording, first, Jonathan created a click track with: a tuning note, an audible *clap*, and metronome clicks for the whole piece. Then he created a document with instructions for the players. The idea is that the player claps in time with the prerecorded clap, which allows the video editor to line up the video with the audio. We also gave some instructions for video format and how to send it along, as well as what to wear (which is why everybody is looking so delightfully patriotic!)

Once the videos were submitted, Steve worked his magic to strip the audio off of each video file and mix them. I have no idea how he managed to make it sound like we are together, but he did a brilliant job!

Then the audio and video files were sent to Rebecca, who constructed the video for us. After some edits & tweaks, that got sent back to Steve so he could make sure all the sounds matched what we were seeing on the video, and then back to Rebecca to merge them together for the final masterpiece. It was quite an endeavour!

Here is the list of musicians involved: (with their current residence)


Jim Ross (New York)

Jon Challoner (New York)

Ingrid Jensen (New York)

Rachel Therrien (New York)

Jonathan Baird (Kuala Lumpur)


David Smith (New York)

French Horn

Jeff Nelsen (Indiana)

Margaret McGillivray (Maryland)


Peter Sullivan (Pennsylvania)

Alex Jeun (New York)

Todd Stubbs (Maryland)

Mike Fahie (New York)


Kevin Thompson (Hong Kong)


Dave Kutz (Amsterdam)


Gina Ryan (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

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