A group of Grade 2 students at Brooklyn Elementary in Comox put their heads together to create a video containing some simple but profound messages to make the world a better place.
Dubbed A Bigger Thing, the song in the video was penned by Comox singer/songwriter Annie Handley, whose son Cole McLean was among the second graders in Shelley Longland’s class last year.
“It started because she (Handley) had a CD out, and her producer (Doug Biggs) wanted a video of one of her songs,” Longland said.
The video was recorded over the course of a few months last spring. About 20 students were involved in the project.
“It was pretty big,” Longland said of the project. “The kids only saw pieces of putting the thing together when we’d film outside and in the music room. It was a good process for them to go through, and then to finally see the finished product. They got why it took so long and all the pieces that went together.”
Handley, Biggs, parents and others filmed different parts and sections of the video — but it was the students who brainstormed the ideas behind the video on a weekly basis for upwards of a month.
“It was actually the kids’ idea to come up with this story behind the song,” said Handley, who approached Longland with the idea for a project. “They wanted to show the world what they thought — how they thought they could make the world a better place.”
The video starts with a student tapping out a tune on a piano, followed by a group of smiling children playing instruments around a microphone. Students are pictured in the school hallway carrying hearts and warm messages, running on the field, filling a compost container and playing instruments on the playground. In some scenes, they mouth the words being sung by Handley. At other times they sing along.
Following is a sample of the song:
We are all just a part, say hello, hold the door
The picture is yours for the taking,
It’s yours, like our hands and our hearts
We are all just part of a bigger thing.
Handley credits the students for conceptualizing the entire video and the positive messages contained therein: Smile, Conserve Energy, Light, Join a Group.
“Those are all the childrens’ words,” Handley said. “It was all about them. It was wonderful. It was all of their thoughts and ideas, all of their energies.”
Music teacher Andrew Clarke helped out with instruments and singing in the video.
“He was involved in it big time,” Handley said. “It took place during a lot of his music class, so he would involve the kids with the instruments. We actually miked their voices.”
Throughout the video students piece together a puzzle of a world map filled with animals and mammals. The final piece is put in place near the end.
The students all received a copy of the video, which went to YouTube and the school district website.
Watch it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=gjTsLs3uKXk.