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Passengers greeted with song

Katherine Hudson
Northern News Services
Published Wednesday, February 16, 2011

SOMBA K'E/YELLOWKNIFE - It wasn't what you'd expect when you step off the plane in Yellowknife, or anywhere for that matter.

NNSL photo/graphic

Julie Loomis, left, Sonja Martin-Elson, Glenn Abalayan and Colten Fyfe sing their hearts out at the Yellowknife Airport Sunday afternoon as a group of about 15 people danced, sang and played instruments to the surprise of arriving travellers. - Katherine Hudson/NNSL photo

As passengers from Air Canada and West Jet flights trekked into the arrivals area to collect their bags Sunday afternoon, they received a much bigger welcome than they expected.

A group of about 15 people danced, sang and played instruments to a medley of upbeat songs in a 'flash mob-esque' performance to a crowd of gawking travellers.

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By the end of the performance, which lasted about seven minutes, some of the crowd was joining in, singing, clapping or attaching on to the train of people making their way around the facility.

"I just thought this was how people in Yellowknife say 'Hi,'" said Mike Smith, from Toronto, as he looked for his luggage after the show came to a close.

"Welcome to Yellowknife. It was fun. I was singing a little bit."

Yellowknifer Ruby Trudel knew about the ambush performance and said it was better than she could have imagined.

"It was just magnificent. What a way to come into the airport with that type of welcome. For the people who are picking others up, it's just beautiful. I think it just made people feel special," she said.

Sonja Martin-Elson was one of the singers belting out snippets of 'All You Need Is Love' and 'Stand By Me'.

Being part of the choir at Sir John Franklin School, she said this type of act had a lot more edge to it.

"Usually you're in a choir on the stage and you're not really interacting with the audience. This time, we're pulling them in and walking amongst them and it's a lot more fun," she said.

The group of participants was a conglomeration of community members as well as members of the Sir John Franklin School choir and band.

Brad Dahr, pastor at the Seventh Day Adventist Church, was one of the main organizers of the event. He said he saw a T-Mobile commercial of a flash mob and thought it was an exciting way to have a little fun.

"Personally, I like moments where people break out of the everyday," he said.

After receiving permission from the airport, Dahr got his group together and it built from there.

"A little bit of something happens in their lives. A little bit of joy. A little bit of love. When that happens, people are changed for the better. I like that."

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