At every Winnipeg Jets home game, the intro video is the official pre-game cue for fans to focus their attention to the ice in anticipation of puck drop, rising together with their passion for the Jets and for their community.
It was only natural that the Rise Together mantra that is already resonating with Jets fans would also be the inspiration for the team's intro video for the 2017-18 season.
From the first dramatic pulses of percussion to the fiery flashes of Jet pride, the spirit, excitement and energy of Rise Together was brought to life through a collaborative effort between fans, community partners and our great city.
Video: BEHIND THE SCENES | Pre-Game Intro Video
"Rise Together is all encompassing," said Kyle Balharry, senior director of gameday production and broadcast services with True North Sports + Entertainment. "It's about, players, fans, our city, our province, spirit, unity, being together as one, and that's what we're all here for on game night."
Balharry and his creative production team of Steve Godkin, Dylann Bobei and Aidan Padgett Reimer put their heads together in May to develop the video's concept. While the theme was firmly in place, the rest of it happened somewhat backwards.
"Usually the storyboards are developed first and the score is made to fit," explained Balharry. "This time we put everything in the hands of Shawn Pierce and played off of his composition for the visuals."
This marks the second time that Pierce, a Hollywood composer and Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra (WSO) collaborator, has written the video's song, following last year's successful partnership with the WSO.
"In my world of music for media, its extremely rare that I don't have a picture as a creative and motivational reference," said Pierce, also a native Winnipegger. "I wrote music based on very clear creative direction from Kyle and his team at True North, had it approved and we recorded. Easy right? Not so easy…but in a really good way."
Led by music director, Maestro Alexander Mickelthwate, the WSO brought the notes to life with a full orchestral recording bringing even more drama to the piece.
"The score that Shawn Pierce created is full of emotion - and a full symphony orchestra is the perfect tool to express that emotion," said Mickelthwate. "We loved working with the whole True North team and were thrilled to again record their theme music for this season. Go Jets Go!"
As an avid Jets fan, Pierce notes that working with True North and the Jets has been a career highlight. "I couldn't be more excited or proud of this season's piece and being part of the Rise Together campaign. It was another wonderful experience working with Alexander and the whole WSO team."
True North has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with the Canadian Armed Forces, dating back to the original Manitoba Moose days, and was honoured to have 17 Wing Winnipeg's help in creating the video. Department of National Defence employees, along with Canadian Armed Forces members from the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Canadian Navy and the Canadian Army joined shoulder to shoulder with other Jets fans to celebrate the team.
"Teamwork is essential to the success of both the Winnipeg Jets and the Canadian Armed Forces," said Captain Bettina McCulloch-Drake, 17 Wing Winnipeg public affairs officer. "While one person can certainly make a difference, we are stronger when we work together towards a common goal."
While key Winnipeg landmarks were featured throughout the video, Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg helped set the stage for a large portion of the shoot. Filmed in one of the hangars at the base, the Rise Together video featured the celebrated CF-18 Hornet fighter aircraft which is depicted on the Jets logo. (The specific aircraft used in the video flew in from 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta, on a training flight.)
One hundred and forty men and women representing the Canadian Armed Forces and 200 season seat holders, including super fans Dancing Gabe and Jet, further fuelled the passion of the Rise Together message.
"We're really happy with how it all came together in terms of the community collaboration and representation," said Balharry. "We couldn't have asked for more passion or more energy from anyone involved."
Fans' next chance to see the video is at the Saturday, October 14 home game vs. the Carolina Hurricanes. Tickets are available at winnipegjets.com/tickets.