Musicians tuning guitar strings echoed throughout the Dave G. Steuart Arena as people trickled in Sunday afternoon.
A faux stage with amps and microphones was erected near the player's benches and penalty box. A crowd gathered near centre ice, each wearing jerseys or varying hues of green.
On a table nearby, green and yellow candles flickered fittingly atop a hockey stick. The occasional person would step up and light one. Among them, Kayleigh Feschuk, a close friend of Jacob Leicht, a former Prince Albert Minto, who lost his life in last Friday’s Humboldt Bronco’s bus collision alongside 15 others.
Feschuk and her family were just a handful of over one hundred who joined together to perform a musical tribute dedicated to those impacted by the Broncos bus tragedy.
“It doesn’t make a lot of sense yet,” she said. “But it is good to see that his family has support all the way from here because I know that his time in P.A. was something that Jacob held very close to him."
Those intimately gathered inside the rink sung a modified version of Rod Stewart’s Forever Young. The song was recorded and will be shared online in an effort to provide a “big virtual musical hug” for the families, according to organizer Sheryl Kimbley. The unique way to extend a line of support came about following an outpouring from artists looking to help, as Kimbley had previously spearheaded musical tributes following the La Loche school shooting and wildfires last summer.
Here is a bit from the modified version of Forever Young the group was singing. pic.twitter.com/Xlmh9x20qb
— Tyler Marr (@JournoMarr) April 16, 2018
“Music is a universal langue. This kind of healing, this kind of gathering is what we need to do to move forward and these people knew that today,” she said. “Families are hurting and this is our way of keeping the wave of support going and letting them know we are here.”
The musicians and those in attendance hailed from all across Saskatchewan. Kimbley said the event is an important step along the road to recovery and a way to show and remember the province is strong.
“In this room today … it was just us together and showing that we care. That is what we need to do. We need to remember that this is something we can do if we get together,” she added.
The civilian choir ran through the song a number of times, each growing in power as more and more joined in on the chorus. Twice, the ensemble ended the song with a violinist seamlessly playing Amazing Grace.
Sitting propped up on the ground centre stage throughout the recording was a framed piece of art. It was a hand draw horse with the words “Forever Broncos” in the foreground. After the final recording, Kimbley took to the mic to explain the piece. She said Leicht’s family has expressed a desire to establish a foundation in his name directed towards working with Aboriginal youth.
“That struck me,” Kimbley said. “Because I thought, in the face of their pain ... they said, ‘how can we remember Jacob in a good way.’”
Some art here as well as the musicians get set up. pic.twitter.com/YkRD0prb1h
— Tyler Marr (@JournoMarr) April 15, 2018
After Kimbley was given the art, she figured it was only right to donate it to the family.
The art was given to Feschuk to pass along. She was also given a stick of flowers attached with 16 glow in the dark angels.
“It’s special,” Feschuk said while clinging tightly to the frame. “It is important what the Leicht family is trying to reach out to do. Like everyone said, it is all being put together but someday, we will get there and this is the foundation for it.”
On Twitter: @JournoMarr
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