Latest News

‘O Canada’ remix features at Kwantlen’s winter convocation

By Richmond Sentinel

Published 3:25 PST, Tue February 7, 2023

Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) is mixing things up as it celebrates the achievements of graduating students next week.

This year, KPU will hold a convocation in February, in place of a fall event, as the number of students attending the five-campus university continues to climb. And an O Canada remix video recorded for use in ceremonies during the pandemic will again be part of the in-person celebrations.

The university is expecting 1,700 students to walk across the stage at KPU’s Surrey campus during four days of in-person convocation ceremonies from Feb. 13 to 16.

Early in proceedings the ceremony will hear a fresh take on the national anthem. KPU music instructor Gordon Cobb helped reimagine convocation by transforming the anthem into something more relatable to the university’s diverse body of graduating students.

“Our students are blown away by this video because they’ve never seen anything like it. That’s how it became a permanent fixture of our convocations,” he says. “I did not want to create an O Canada video that represented the past. I wanted to create something that not only represented the current world and the zeitgeist, but also would be a place where our students could see themselves and where their families could see their kids.”

The result is a modern electronica remix featuring six languages, tabla beats, and graphic novel style animation representative of Instagram and TikTok culture. While the video begins with a traditional a cappella singing of the anthem, it quickly morphs into its modern form. Cobb says it represents the current and future Canada, but also tells the traditional story of the country, and includes a performance of the anthem’s little-known second verse.

“Every choice was intentional to communicate a story,” he adds. “Art is supposed to make you reflect upon the world and ask questions. I know our national anthem is an institution but I also know we live in a time of truth and reconciliation.”

Cobb called on students from his music classes to help. The anthem was divided into parts and features the English, French, Italian, Urdu, Pakistani, and Mandarin languages. He used video editing magic to make individually-recorded students appear as a choir.

The finishing touch was a rap interlude, performed by Amandeep Alex Mudhar who came to KPU from New Delhi as an international student. The rap from Mudhar, known musically as MUDHR, tells his story of arriving at KPU and his impressions of Canada.

“Made it all the way from New Delhi; made it hard workin’ every day and did it gently. KPU, it is the start of my post-secondary; and Canada is one of the most beautiful countries,” raps Mudhar.

After 100 years of tradition, O Canada was officially proclaimed Canada's national anthem in 1980. Lyrics to the English-language version have changed over the years—most recently in 2018 to make it gender-neutral.

Graduates from all seven faculties are scheduled to walk across the stage during the ceremonies between Feb. 13 and 16. A link to a live stream of each ceremony will be available on the KPU website. The university’s annual spring convocation will be held in June 2023.

See more canada news

See All

See more international news

  See All
© 2023 Richmond Sentinel News Inc. All rights reserved. Designed by Intelli Management Group Inc.