Hillcrest Elementary Grade 5 students and music teacher Brook Roberts, left, perform a cover of the Hawksley Workman song, Safe and Sound, for their video entry to this year’s CBC Music Class Challenge on Nov. 10, 2021. (Hillcrest Elementary image)

Hillcrest Elementary Grade 5 students and music teacher Brook Roberts, left, perform a cover of the Hawksley Workman song, Safe and Sound, for their video entry to this year’s CBC Music Class Challenge on Nov. 10, 2021. (Hillcrest Elementary image)

Salmon Arm school’s music video receives love from indie rocker Hawksley Workman

Hillcrest Elementary releases entry to CBC Music Class Challenge

Hillcrest Elementary Grade 5 students have won over a fan in award-winning Canadian indie rocker Hawksley Workman.

On Friday, Nov. 19, the school’s video entry in this year’s CBC Music Class Challenge hit YouTube. It features the school’s Grade 5 students performing the Workman song, Safe and Sound, from his 1999 album, For Him and the Girls.

Workman spotted the video on Saturday and shared his appreciation on Twitter:

“OMGoodness… another artful, stunning and emotional rendition of •safe and sound• from Hillcrest Elementary… I’m floored again…”

Hillcrest music teacher (and Workman fan) Brook Roberts replied, saying he was happy Workman took the time to watch the video and he looked forward to telling the students. Workman, in response, said, “my goodness Mr. Roberts… it’s SO beautiful and the innovation and cleverness of the video can’t be understated! so much imagination!”

Roberts started sharing the positive feedback with students on Monday.

“That’s the coolest – what a great guy,” said Roberts.

The video, described as a “car-tune,” with parts of it having an illustrated look using coloured cardboard cutouts of buildings and trees in the background and a Volkswagen Beetle travelling in front, with students taking turns singing in the driver and front passenger seats. Brooks explained the video was influenced by the song, which he picked from the list of Canadian artists’ songs available to choose from in this year’s Music Class Challenge.

“This is the first year there has been a Hawksley Workman song on the list so I was drawn to it, probably initially by that…,” said Roberts.

Read more: Salmon Arm elementary school a finalist in CBC Music Class Challenge

Read more: Bastion Elementary students brighten downtown Salmon Arm with song

The video came together over a couple of months, starting with a drawing on a whiteboard in Roberts’ classroom. As the project developed, it became a conversation piece among the younger students.

“I sat in the car and just did my lessons in the car for kids…,” said Brooks. “It became a discussion piece and I think the value in that is it’s sharing with younger kids what the older kids are doing and I think that just kind of helps move the music program forward, with the younger kids thinking about what’s going to be happening next year.”

The project hit a speed bump at the beginning of November when potential COVID-19 exposures required students involved in the project to self-isolate. But filming came together on Nov. 10, after the school’s outdoor Remembrance Day assembly.

“It’s a live-off-the floor recording and that’s what they want… It’s all happening right there,” said Roberts, crediting teacher Tyra Menzies for camera work and involvement in the project.

Hillcrest was a finalist in the 2019 CBC Music Class Challenge with students’ version of Wolves Don’t Live By The Rules by Elisapie.

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