Stettler couple brightens up the community with online Sunday afternoon sing-alongs

Doug and Shirley McKay play a variety of favourite tunes at 2 p.m. via Facebook

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there is plenty of stress to go around these days. But a Stettler couple is lifting people’s spirits through song each Sunday afternoon from the comfort of their own home.

“A couple friends of ours from Red Deer who play the piano had posted on Facebook a song that they had recorded and shared,” said Doug McKay, who hosts the singing times with his wife Shirley. “In response to their post, I did one as well and thanked them for their inspiration. It was a fun thing to do.”

The wonderful set of tunes garnered quite an enthusiastic response from the community. Their most recent post attracted more than 700 views and 25 shares with grateful comments ranging from, “A joy to have you join with us all the way over the seas. Happy Palm Sunday!! God’s blessings sent your way!” to, “Thank you Doug and Shirley! Beautiful! You know we’ll be expecting you to share every week” to “Thank you Doug and Shirley, love the songs. Brings back a lot of good memories!”

McKay’s son had encouraged his folks to utilize Facebook Live for the sing-alongs.

“He said why don’t you guys do a little concert this afternoon and I’ll help you put it ‘live’ on Facebook. So we did put up a little notice to friends and family that if they wanted to tune in at 2 p.m. to feel free to do that and to sing along,” he explained.

Again, the response proved really positive.

“It seemed to touch people, and they were encouraging us that we should do it again,” Doug added with a laugh. “We are not professional musicians – it’s was just pretty basic.

“A lot of people said to please do it on another Sunday, so we did it this past Sunday again. I think we will do it for the next two or three Sundays,” he said. “It seems like Sunday afternoons people are home, and they can’t really go anywhere anyways these days so it’s kind of met a need. That was our purpose in doing it.”

The McKays have indeed put together an engaging mix of tunes each Sunday, including favourite classic songs to beloved gospel numbers as well.

“It was our hope that, in a little way, it would cheer somebody up,” he said. “We’ve had people say that they danced around their house and sang along! That was our intent,” he said. “We have friends in Denver, Colorado and relatives in Ireland that have tuned in. We also have friend from Norway that have tuned in as well. So it’s a nice technology that lets people do that.”

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