Not every small town can claim to have its very own song, but Williams Lake now has an updated version of its 50-plus-year-old tune in honour of the World Famous Williams Lake Stampede.
Originally recorded in 1970, the Williams Lake Stampede song was a perennial hit that came out annually during the month of June leading up to the beloved community event.
In recent years, though, the song has fallen out of circulation and radio airplay because technology advanced to the point that there was no format available to play the original any longer.
When it came to City Council’s attention that the song had faded from the airwaves, the decision was made to invest in a revival and the City commissioned a new recording from original artist Alan Moberg, a well-known B.C. singer and songwriter.
The plan was to have it produced in time for the 2020 Williams Lake Stampede to celebrate the song’s 50th anniversary. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, halted its production and re-release.
As a kickoff to the Stampede month, and in partnership with the Williams Lake Stampede Association, the big reveal of the new recording happened on Saturday night at the Stampede Association’s annual dinner, dance and auction.
Moberg played a surprise set at the dinner after being introduced by members of Council, then joined the entertainment lineup at the dance in the Stampede Park grandstand led by headliners Karen-Lee Batten and Aaron Pritchett to an enthusiastic crowd.
The new digital recording of the music was produced by Nathan Tinkham, a musician and producer at Woodshop Recording Studio in Duncan, B.C. With the newly-produced version and accompanying music score, the hope is the song will come back into regular play and be picked up and played by groups like the Williams Lake Community Band.
“This is a novelty song, but it is our song, and we are happy to have it come back for hopefully another 50 years of play in our community,” said Mayor Walt Cobb. “It was kind of a shock that we had members of Council who had never even heard it before, but if you ask anyone who grew up here over the age of 45, they can pretty much sing the whole thing.”
The City, meanwhile, has partnered with Moberg and the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin to make both the original score and audio of the song available to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
A special limited edition commemorative sheet music jacket has been designed and printed, and will be available for $10 at the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin and at City Hall, with all proceeds from the sales going to the Museum of the Cariboo Chilcotin.
Included on the jacket is some of the history behind the Williams Lake Stampede song as told by Moberg, along with a physical copy of the sheet music tucked inside.
The 50th anniversary re-issue of the Williams Lake Stampede song and sheet music are both available for download from the City’s website at www.williamslake.ca/469/Williams-Lake-Stampede.
Beth Veenkamp, Economic Development Officer
City Hall: 250.392.2311