Local cover of 'Stand By Me' aims to foster hope and healing for residential school survivors

·2 min read
MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 20:  Members of a brass band play tuba during the opening day of the 2014 Oktoberfest on September 20, 2014 in Munich, Germany. The 181st Oktoberfest will be open to the public from September 20 through October 5 and traditionally draws millions of visitors from across the globe in the world's largest beer fest.  (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images) (Johannes Simon/Getty Images - image credit)
MUNICH, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 20: Members of a brass band play tuba during the opening day of the 2014 Oktoberfest on September 20, 2014 in Munich, Germany. The 181st Oktoberfest will be open to the public from September 20 through October 5 and traditionally draws millions of visitors from across the globe in the world's largest beer fest. (Photo by Johannes Simon/Getty Images) (Johannes Simon/Getty Images - image credit)

Members of the Wallaceburg Brass Quintet have teamed up with Walpole Island First Nation community members to produce a video about healing, hope and the power of art.

As a means of bridging differences and fostering understanding, Dan White, of the Wallaceberg Quintet and Tina Aquash, a member of Walpole Island First Nation, have come together to produce a brass band version of the song, Stand By Me.

The idea came about after 215 unmarked graves of residential school students were discovered on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School in Kamloops, B.C.

"We felt like we needed to do something that would work with our First Nations neighbours," White said.

Last year, the quintet members came together to form a band. White, a trumpet player, contacted Aquash with the idea of collaborating to produce a video to the song.

"I thought it was a really, really good idea just to bring the awareness about everything that has unfolded with the finding of the remains of the children," Aquash said.

"Bringing the two together I just thought it was brilliant," she said.

Aquash, a passionate music lover, has close relatives who are residential school survivors. She thought the video was a way to bring more awareness of the residential school system.

Aquash said her father was taken when he was four years old and the incident was kept quiet in her family until she was much older.

As she grew up, Aquash said she became more aware of stories from residential school survivors and the impact they had on families and communities.

"There's a lot of addictions in a lot of the First Nations communities. A lot of alcohol abuse, you know, drug addictions. I started understanding the connection to that, about why the healing needed to happen," she said.

"Now I understand."

The Wallaceburg Brass Quintet chose Stand By Me for the compassionate message it sent. Since its release, the video has been shared over 1000 times.

"There's not a whole lot we can actually do, we can certainly listen and we can care and we can be compassionate," White said.

For more, listen in to the Afternoon Drive.

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