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VIDEO: Rainmakers of Haida Gwaii surprise residents with pop-up Hospital Day set

Band performed live at Echo Bay Lodge so residents could listen, dance from a distance

The 112th annual Hospital Day is one of many events that have been cancelled due to COVID-19, but local band the Rainmakers of Haida Gwaii did not let the good weather on Saturday afternoon (June 20) go to waste.

Guitarist Mark Baggaley, who has done the announcing at Hospital Day for decades, decided to organize a pop-up performance at Echo Bay Lodge in Queen Charlotte, so that residents could listen from “from afar or from your car.”

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“I thought we could do something … everybody could be socially distanced and enjoy some pop-up music,” Baggaley told the Observer.

The rest of the Rainmakers are Julia Weder (vocals), Sean O’Neail (bass), George Farrell (mandolin) and Shawn Gairdner (drums). They played for about three hours throughout the afternoon, including covers, an improvised “pandemic song” and an original titled “Windows.”

Baggaley wrote “Windows” inspired by the social impact of the pandemic, with a chorus that goes: “Now we are hiding behind windows / Waving behind windows / Singing out our windows / Windows separating us all.”

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Terry Tollestrup, who owns Echo Bay Lodge, said he texted residents at the Martin Manor assisted living facility below his property to let them know the performance would be happening.

Several seniors came to sit outside the manor and enjoy the music, and at one point Elna Macdonald of the nearby Queen Charlotte Thrift Shop Society walked up to the lodge to make sure the band knew they had drawn a good crowd.

“I just want to tell you that people down at the manor are sitting outside really enjoying it and I’m dancing,” Macdonald said.

Baggaley thanked Macdonald for letting them know.

“We didn’t know if anybody could hear us. Thanks Elna,” he said.

Tollestrup said he hopes to put his stage to similar use on Canada Day.

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