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Produce workers lay down fresh holiday jams for Food Bank
Take one part produce, throw in six musically inclined employees and stir in some goodwill for a one-of-a-kind holiday album.
The recipe may sound unusual, but it's one that has proven successful for the 'Bin Boyz' – a group of employees who man the fruit and vegetable bins over at Ralph's Farm Market in Murrayville.
Earlier this month, the group – some of whom have a musical background and others who just 'love to jam'– released their debut CD – 'Fresher to You.'
Every cent made from sales of their festive CD, named for their employer's slogan, will go to the Langley Food Bank.
For the young men, Josh Denny-Keys, 24, Josh Redekop, 17, Josh Strauss, 18 Tyrone Warriner, 22, Jeremy Wiebe, 24 and Madison 'Chuck' Friesen, 17, it has been a project that has been in the works since August.
Denny-Keys can't exactly pinpoint how the whole concept for the philanthropic endeavour began, but the musician is thrilled with the end result and the support they've received from the community and their employers.
"I'm not really sure who came up with the idea, but we are a musical bunch, said Denny-Keys, who recently completed his music degree at Kwantlen Polytechnic University.
Warriner and Denny-Keys had both played in a brass ensemble at KPU, but the group — which got together by fate, or more like employment — had never played music together, other than maybe whistling while they worked the produce bins.
All six tracks on the album were recorded in Strauss' Langley home with his equipment. Denny-Keys played the banjo, piano, guitar, base and keyboard, while Warriner played the trumpet and base; the rest of the members, including Denny-Keys and Warriner sang vocals.
"We'd come in and record and he'd mix it all together," noted Denny-Keys. "It wasn't done in a studio... it was all DIY."
The Bin Boyz decided to record five songs in the public domain to avoid any copyright issues. While they are all classic Christmas tunes, the group put a unique spin on each track.
"There's a different sound and feel to the songs," noted Denny-Keys.
"For example, 'Do You Hear What I Hear' has a folksy tinge to it, with a trumpet solo and a bit of a Mexican flare. We also recorded 'Hark Now Hear the Angels Sing,' which is more regal with a time-keeping snare drum and large swells."
Being able to hold the finished CD in his hand was a special moment for Denny-Keys.
"I had heard the songs through each stage, but to see it and hold it . . . well, that was a big thing."
The CDs first hit the shelves at Ralph's Market last Monday and are for sale with a minimum donation of $5.
Along with their produce, many customers have been leaving with a copy of the freshly produced album.
"There are people who have been very generous – we're almost halfway to our goal of $1,000 and still have two more weeks to go," he said.
While the CDs cost about $3 apiece to make, the market's owners Ralph and Elizabeth Merk as well as the managers Murray and Dianne Redekop covered the majority of the cost — the band members took care of the difference.
When it came to choosing a charity, the Food Bank seemed like the right fit, explained Denny-Keys.
"Basically we all come from families with strong holiday traditions.
"The Christmas season is about family and giving – that can be lost with the materialism of shopping and whatnot. The Food Bank hits close to home for so many people... it can provide a good Christmas dinner for someone who couldn't have that without help at this time."
Some of the Bin Boyz will be performing Dec. 13 at 7 p.m. inside the Murrayville Wired Monk, located at 22198 48 Ave.