The countdown to the 2012 Newfoundland and Labrador Summer Games has now entered the home stretch, with only 19 more sleeps before the opening ceremonies Saturday, Aug. 18.
To help ignite the excitement surrounding the Games in the host communities of Harbour Grace and Carbonear, as well as the surrounding area and the province, last week event organizers rolled out the Games' official anthem.
When one thinks of a Games' theme song, campy sounds often come to mind.
That is not the case for "Ignite the Light," the aptly named theme song for the 2012 NL Summer Games which was premiered at a press conference at Fong's Hotel in Carbonear Thursday, July 26.
Written by Carbonear native Kyle O'Grady and recorded by the Kyle O'Grady Band, the song can be classified as an upbeat folk-rocker with a little edge to it, and organizers hope it becomes an anthem for both these Games and the area in general as excitement begins to build for the start of the event.
When the song was rolled out for the first time, it featured only Kyle and his guitar performing an acustic version of the tune.
He said the finished product is going to feature electric guitars, bass, drums and a bit of the fiddle.
"It's going to sound a lot bigger," said Kyle of what he expects the finished product to sound like. "It sounds a bit more Newfoundland influenced on the recording."
Games co-chairman Milton Peach said he thought the song will appeal to the ages of athletes coming to the area for the athletic event..
"I was pleasantly surprised," Peach said. "It really blends into the music our youth would want to hear today."
The lyrics of song evoke images of athletes striving to succeed on one of the grandest stages in provincial sports.
It's folk-rock sound is sure to ignite the passion of the host communities and the thousands of athletes descending on the region from all over Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Kyle O'Grady Band features three other members who all hail from the Carbonear area - Liam Peacock, on bass guitar, Braeden Pilgrim, percussion and Josh Pynn, fiddle
Kyle started writing the song after a discussion he had with his former Carbonear Collegiate music teacher, Anne Whelan, during which Whelan asked Kyle if he would be interested.
"I said yes when she called me and I wrote the song the next day," he said.
Kyle said it took him a couple of hours to write the song and then he went immediately into the studio to lay down the tracks.
Taking the "Ignite the Light" slogan as his central theme, Kyle weaved together a catchy tune that should work its way into the heads of listeners and remain there well past the time when they first hear it.
"It was for the Summer Games, so I wrote an inspirational song about achievement," he said.
When Kyle strummed the first notes of his opening riff, the crowd of sponsors, event organizers and government officials noticeably inched further up in their seats.
As he progressed through the song, furiously strumming his guitar and his voice dripping with emotion, the audience's eyes never left him.
After his performance, he was greeted with a standing ovation. Kyle humbly bowed his head in appreciation.
Kyle's father, Brian O'Grady, said he was proud of the song his son had put forth.
"I think it has a rock sound, and has a lot of energy," he said. "It fits the environment."
A couple of firsts
The Summer Games committee also took the opportunity last week to officially announce its official mascots and the patron of the Games.
Dr. Leslie Wells was officially introduced as the patron for the event.
Dr. Wells, 87, is a well-known and respected physician in Conception Bay North. The native of Northern Ireland who practised surgery at the old Carbonear Red Cross Memorial Hospital and Carbonear General for more than three decades before retiring in 1990, said he was "honoured to have been asked" to be patron.
Peach said the choice of Wells was a "simple one."
"He played a very crucial role in our 1992 Summer Games. He dedicated a tremendous amount of work, particularly in the sport of tennis," he said.
The combination of Zippy, Bolt and Peppy will be very visible over the next 19 days and for the duration of the Games as its mascots.
Donned in body suits, they represent the official colours of the Games- green (Peppy), blue (Bolt) and orange (Zippy).
About the athletes
Carbonear-Harbour Grace MHA Jerome Kennedy was on hand to take in the festivities.
"This is going to be a great summer games," Kennedy predicted. "In 1992, it was a first class event and I'm sure it will be the same in 2012."
Kennedy wanted to place the focus on the youth who will be participating in the Games this summer.
"Athletics give kids all kinds of great lessons in life," he said.
Being a part of a team, pushing one's potential and meeting new friends are all aspects of the athletic experience, said the minister of Natural Resources.
"There's also having to learn to deal with both winning and losing, but most of all it has to be fun," he said. "The key aspect we have to keep in mind as we put off these Games, is that the kids have to have fun."