A nation has come together through music in support of Bobcaygeon, a small Ontario town battling a COVID-19 outbreak at a local nursing home that has claimed the lives of nearly two dozen residents.
“Bobcaygeon has such great residents here that will do whatever it takes to do what they can for this community. As a resident I need to be a part of that,” explains Richard Kyle, a guitarist with The Tragically Hits — a cover band of The Hip that formed in 2015.
In an effort to show that support, Kyle started an online campaign encouraging Canadians from coast to coast to join in and sing ‘Bobcaygeon’ by The Tragically Hip Sunday evening. The idea was inspired after he saw a social media post of a Montreal comedian who sung the Hip’s song ‘Courage’.
“Sing Bobcaygeon to show your solidarity with the town and the feeling this town brings,” added Kyle.
The town of 3,500 is capturing international headlines in recent days not because of its connection to Canada’s beloved band The Tragically Hip, but because of its link to a worldwide pandemic.
COVID-19 has killed more than 20 seniors and infected dozens of staff at Pinecrest Nursing Home in the community.
“We certainly knew that Bobcaygeon is a lovely little place,” says Hip guitarist Paul Langlois
“Ever since we came out with that song there’s been a connection for us, too.”
Langlois joined others as he belted out the tune on his porch in his hometown of Kingston, Ont., with his family by his side.
“It helps people. People love music, they love movies. It’s almost like it’s become more important for people to escape a little bit,” added Langlois.
The community has set up a fund that has raised more than $30,000 to help those impacted by the tragedy. The Bobcaygeon COVID-19 Relief Fund was launched to support Bobcaygeon and area patients, families and health-care workers in need of financial assistance, food supplies, transportation, technology and mental wellness counselling.
“I know that they see the outpouring of loved ones from the community but they’re also focused on taking care of the people who are in there,” says Kawartha Lakes councillor Kathleen Seymour-Fagan.
Seymour-Fagan says the singalong is a great way to lift the spirits of those who have been impacted by the pandemic, whether locally, internationally or abroad.
“We need this. Let’s say we need this and remember the good times and the times to come,” she said.
“We need the unity and music brings everyone together and it makes everyone happier.”
Community members have followed suit.
“I think for a lot of us, we’re helpless because we want to do something so to stay home and self isolate seems rather selfish, so I’ve been trying to find ways I can engage in the community and this is is one way we can do it,” said Jennine Profeta, who spent Sunday practicing the song with her husband, Dave Pearce, and son Lucas.
“Just bringing the spirit of our town together. Let’s do it.”
Langlois says his heart is with those impacted by the tragedy, and he’s offering messages of kindness and resiliency through these trying times.
“Hope, resolve, drive — you know, sometimes it takes that to get up in the morning and just, you know, take on another day of this craziness,” he said.View link »