We Are the City Makes the Grade

Tuesday night was an exceptionally brilliant night in Kelowna as hometown heroes—and winners of the PEAK Performance Project’s Summit Award of $150,000 for career development—We Are the City literally drove across the country to make it to the front doors of the Habitat in time for their own screening.

Off the heels of their debut album “In A Quiet World” they recently released the “High School EP” which has been on continuous play at CBC Radio 3 and Much Music (not to mention some very positive Tweets from Grant Lawrence). It’s always very exciting for a local band to gain such recognition, especially at such an early age, but it couldn’t have happened to nicer guys.

After David Menzel, guitarist, departed for personal reasons (all members remain on good terms) Cayne McKenzie (vocalist/keyboardist) and Andrew Huculiak (drummer) felt now was a good time to re-visit old experiences and start fresh. With the addition of latest member, guitarist Blake Enemark, what started as a side project became an entire album, and a way for the boys to deal with David’s departure.

Moving forward the boys have done what they’ve always done, create. Together with Amazing Factory Productions (a family run video production business) they had the chance to really grow and experiment on this album. This series of videos were created in record time, and with the help of many of their close friends and family, through lots of late nights and early mornings. Much like you’d sit down to listen to a vinyl record, they belong as one collective piece and we were lucky enough to be a part of the very first public screening here in the boys hometown.

The boys have worked with Amazing Factory many times in the past (Andy is a part owner) and the production team was basically given carte blanche to create whatever they wanted based on the videos so they really took this time to spread their creative wings and try a lot of new things they may not have had a chance or opportunity to before. Add in a brand new Canon 5D Mark II they just got (camera nerds everywhere are wetting themselves) and what you’re left with is just a really incredible piece showing off what the best of the Okanagan can really do.

The videos told a story, separately and together. There were long moments of pause where you really remembered how tense High School could be, the awkwardness, the feelings of complete defeat, and then the moments of child-like joy and enthusiasm. If we can support an environment of healthy and creative competition, where peers can invite each other to take part in shaping these visions to create performance pieces like this, we elevate an entire class of people to excellence. The promotion, sharing and openness to come together like this means that eventually everyone makes the grade, and that grade is a resounding A+.

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