By Stephen Dafoe
Legal – Big Valley Jamboree’s Small Town Saturday Night contest have selected their 10 finalists and Legal is one of them. The community recently rallied together to show their community spirit in the production of a two-minute video entry in the contest.
“It’s been a fun ride so far,” said Jeannie Charrois, one of the organizers of the contest entry. “In little towns, I think that’s what we do. It’s not often we find a cause that we can all band together on and get excited about something that we can bring to our small town. I guess this is it.”
That something the community is excited about bringing to town is a mini Big Valley Jamboree concert and $5,000 to be added to monies the Friends of Legal School Society have been raising for a much-needed playground restoration.
“Legal School has been raising money to redo that playground for what seems almost like a decade,” Charrois said. “We’ve had some key volunteers that have been at every function that happens around town putting out the word that we’re continuing to raise funds for that playground.”
Charrois said the plan is to break ground on the playground in May. The $5,000 would be a welcome addition to the approximately $50,000 already raised for the community playground. “If we happen to win this and we happen to get it, this will be a real nice topping off of the pot for them to make that playground complete,” she said.
A community initiative
Charrois said the idea to put together a video entry for the town was brought to her by Legal Town Manager Robert Proux last Christmas. “I realized there was a lot more to it than just putting together some stills,” Charrois said of the project, adding a committee was formed in early January and brainstorming began on just what form the video would take.
The video soon evolved into a music video showcasing the town and centred on a big red cup, an image borrowed from a Toby Keith country song about drinking and lyricized in a community and family-friendly way by Melanie Thibault. Charrois said local musician Keith Bennett sat down with the committee and his guitar and put together the music for the piece.
“The committee was just sitting around the table and she just started pumping out the first and second verse of the song,” Charrois said.
Although the video had the highest number of views of any of the selected entries on YouTube, the production facilities were fairly low key. Charrois said Bennett recorded the vocals in a makeshift recording studio. “We thought we’d need a quiet room that’s not going to get a lot of reverb to put down the main track,” Charrois explained. “We loaded his guitar track on the iPad, gave him a set of headphones, and we stuck him in the back of our walk-in closet. That became our recording studio. So here’s Keith standing in the back of our closet listing to his guitar track on the iPad, singing in the back of our closet.”
Charrois said matching the images to the song consisted of shooting plenty of footage for the video, far more footage than the two-minute time limit allowed. “We just went everywhere and every place we could think of in town, played with those red cups, and really got the town going behind it,” she said. “It just all came together.”
From entry to finalist
The community found out Tuesday afternoon they were one of 10 finalists chosen from 53 entries from Alberta communities. “Originally they were only going to pick five, but I think their response to the contest was overwhelming,” Charrois said. “They had a panel that sat down and looked at all the videos.”
Criteria for the finalists was varied; however, one important component was including what the $5,000 would be used for, something Legal’s entry did.
Now that Legal is one of 10 finalists, the community is hoping residents, neighbours and others will vote for their entry in the competition. Voting opened Mar. 6 and runs until Mar. 20. People can vote for one of the finalists by visiting www.bigvalleyjamboree.com/stsn/vote.