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Cape Breton's The Men of the Deeps surprise air passengers with inflight performance

Members of The Men of the Deeps coal miners chorale group are shown performing outdoors in this file photo. CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO
Members of The Men of the Deeps coal miners chorale group are shown performing outdoors in this file photo. CAPE BRETON POST PHOTO

Coal miners choir often does impromptu performances when asked

SYDNEY, N.S. — Travellers on a recent WestJet flight from Cape Breton didn’t need to worry about an inflight entertainment system.

The back of the plane took care of that.

The fortunate passengers on the Nov. 27 flight from Sydney to Halifax were ecstatic to discover the plane to be filled with members of The Men of the Deeps choir, who gave an impromptu mid-flight performance.

“We were in flight possibly over the (Canso) causeway at the time when the flight attendant approached us,” said Stephen Muise, The Men of the Deeps’ assistant conductor/business manager.

WestJet flight attendant Lisa Belisle posted the video to her Facebook page and it has, of course, gone viral with more than 118,000 views by late Wednesday afternoon.

Here's the video:


Muise said they were travelling to Ontario at the time to begin a two-week tour. The choir belted out “Dust in the Air,” which Muise said is often the song the choir sings when approached for a spontaneous performance.

“These guys jokingly call it ‘The Airport Song,’” Muise said.

“They are so used to being asked and love to sing so it’s like they go on automatic pilot. It usually happens in the airport itself and that’s the one we usually sing as it’s an a cappella tune, which means you don’t need any accompaniment for it.”

As well, the topic of the song couldn’t get any deeper into a coal mine, talking about dust in the air, he added.

“It really talks about one of the main, key topics of coal mining.”

Muise said during this performance the choir was at the back of the plane.

“The rest were sitting at the front of the lane and many were taking videos too.”

Muise said this isn’t anything new. As a volunteer choir, everyone involved loves to sing and often do impromptu performances when asked.

Back on March 31, 2016, The Men of the Deeps treated air travellers to a few songs at the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport before boarding a plane for a tour in Ontario.

Often after giving concerts or performance in a church, said Muise, the ladies auxiliary will treat the choir to a meal.

“They’ll usually get up afterwards and give a little performance as a thank you,” he said, “The people who have that opportunity to hear them really like it, as it’s like their own private show. “

Yogi Muise, a member of The Men of the Deeps, said a memorable time for him when the choir broke out in song was while touring the Great Wall of China in 1976.

“About 10 of us got to the top,” he said. “Others were talking and singing and we said, ‘Why not?’”

The men broke out with ‘O’ Canada.’

Muise said he can’t really remember a trip where they weren’t approached by people and asked to sing.

Whether at Tim Hortons or a restaurant, we’ve never said no, he admitted.

“We stand in one spot, usually on our way out and belt out one of our a cappella songs.”

Choir member Jim MacLellan said his most memorable impromptu concert was in 1989, when the choir was traveling to Vancouver and had to stop in the Toronto airport first.

They had to go to the baggage claim and while getting their bags one of them said: “Lets sing.”

“When we started no one was around,” MacLellan said.

“By the time we finished turned out to be about 1,000 people. It was like someone yelled there was a sale and everyone came rushing. That was quite the experience right in the middle of Toronto airport. We got such great applause that we sang a second one.”

The Men of the Deeps formed in 1966 and now have 27 members. The choir is on a two-week tour in Ontario and will arrive home Dec. 10. Stephen Muise said the tour is going well, with 11 shows, nine of which have been sellouts so far.

“We’re spreading the Christmas Cape Breton cheer wherever we go.”



If you want to see the Men of the Deeps:

• The choir will be special Guests performing in the Happy Ha Ha Holidaze show at the Savoy Theatre in Glace Bay on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 2 p.m. as well in a second show at 7 p.m.

• Individual members of the choir will be selling their CD “Christmas in the Mine” at the Mayflower Mall from Dec. 18-23.

• The Men of the Deeps will be performing at the Mayflower Mall on Dec. 23 at 2 p.m.


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