Hiding in plain sight – the other stars of the BC Games

Hiding in plain sight – the other stars of the BC Games

Author: BC Games Society/Thursday, June 14, 2018/Categories: Front Page, 2018 News

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Over the past 40 years the BC Games have been well established as a significant developmental milestone for athletes across British Columbia.  But there is another group of rising young stars that have also been gaining valuable experience from the BC Games, and despite the fact that their role puts them directly in the spotlight, most will not think of them when talking about the development opportunities afforded through the BC Games. 

They are of course, the performers. 

No small affair, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies are a highlight of any multi-sport competition and the BC Games are no different.  Audiences number into the thousands and combined with the high energy and youthful feel of the Games, this is the ideal platform for young performers looking to gain big stage experience. 

Particularly if you are singing the official Games song. 

Many host communities work with local artists to compose an original song and then choose a singer from the community to perform it at the Games ceremonies. 

For the 2014 BC Summer Games in Nanaimo, composers Nico Rhodes and Douglas Dodd composed the song “Get in the Game” and 17-year-old Mikaila Tombe was chosen to perform it.  

“They told me that they had a couple artists in mind and that I happened to be one of them,” Tombe told the Nanaimo Bulletin in a 2014 interview. “Immediately I thought that would be really cool because it is a big stage and a huge audience.” 


Mikaila Tombe performs “Get in the Game” at the Opening Ceremony to the 2014 BC Summer Games


With nearly 7000 people present, the Opening Ceremony was of a much grander scale than anything Tombe had experienced before. 

“It is going to be really exciting,” Tombe said a few weeks ahead of the Opening Ceremony. “We have a whole bunch of choreography and it is going to be the whole shebang. It’s exciting. I’ve never done anything like that.” 

With the experience of performing at the BC Games under her belt, Tombe has continued on with her music career, releasing the self titled album “Mikaila” in 2015.  She is now studying at the Nimbus School of Recording & Media in Vancouver, BC. Tombe’s album can be found on her website mikaila.com.



At 14 years of age, Surrey’s Peyton Rector was a “bit nervous” when she first found out she was selected to perform and record the Surrey 2012 BC Summer Games theme song, not only because of the large audience she would be performing in front of, but also because she would be working closely with Doug Johnson, co-composer of the official song and keyboardist of Canadian recording artists Loverboy.  

“To be completely honest, when I found out I was being considered for this project, I was completely shocked.  I was amazed that someone from such a successful band was interested in working with me.” Rector admits in her recorded video with the City of Surrey. “But when I met Doug I was amazed by how down to earth and nice he was.  When I had ideas about the song or when I wanted to make changes he was ok with that.  It was a really great experience because we really saw eye-to-eye on the song.”

Despite her nerves, Rector impressed Johnson with her passion for the project as they worked on producing a recorded version of "Because We Dream” to be used at medal ceremonies throughout the four-day event in addition to the live performance Rector would give at the Torchlighting and Opening Ceremonies for the 2012 BC Summer Games.


“What really impressed me about Payton was in spite of her years, she’s 14-years-old, she has a lot of soul and I think she really captured the soul of the song, the essence of the song, which is to allow your dreams to carry you forward and to inspire you to do your very best.” 

Rector went on to release her first single “Be Alright” in 2016. Available for listening or download from Soundcloud. 

Beamer Wigley, a teenage recording artist out of Penticton, was asked not only to perform the Games song for the 2016 BC Winter Games, but to write it as well. 

“I was asked to do this, to write this song, and I jumped right on the idea,” Wigley told ShawTV at the Torchlighting Ceremony for the Games. “I got my buddy Kris [Orlowski] who lives down in Seattle involved and I think we wrote a great song that especially fits the BC Winter Games. I was so honoured to be asked to write it.” 

Having been performing since the age of seven, the then 13-year-old was certainly no stranger to large audiences, but that didn’t meant the experience was any less impactful for this young star.
“Had an amazing time at a sold out event for the BC Winter Games at the SOEC,” Wigley posted on his Facebook page. “Most fun I've had in a long time, and thanks to my 3 band mates, Dustin McGifford, Collin Croft, and Joshua Ertman for making this work! It was a great honour for us all to be on that stage!


Beamer Wigley during the 2016 B.C. Winter Games in Penticton kicking off the opening ceremonies.


Five months after his performance at the BC Games, Wigley released his first single “Meteorite” followed up by his album of the same name. He continues to write and co-write new music with highly accomplished writers in both Canada and Nashville and recently opened for country music star Brett Kissel in Penticton in March of 2018. 

You can learn more about Beamer and his upcoming performances on his website http://www.beamerwigley.com/.

For the 2016 BC Summer Games in Abbotsford, the ceremonies team took a different route and decided to express their theme through dance.  This led to an impressive full-scale dance production, which created a once in a lifetime experience for many BC dancers.

Mary Boonstra, co-Director of Ceremonies, was very passionate about creating a Ceremony that would celebrate the outstanding commitment of the athletes at the Games as well as provide a unique and amazing experience for the performers. 

“We wanted to give the performers an amazing experience – to have an audience of a lifetime (yes 7,000 approx), full lights, sound, on a real stage,” said Boonstra. “We wanted an A-Class show and that is what we delivered. BC Games is a unique opportunity to perform at an amazing venue with a large audience, plus everything else the Ceremonies Director brings and their team.”


Boonstra was not the only one that saw the value in the production. 13 year-old Maya Lutz was one of the over 100 dancers that participated in the ceremonies productions, but there was one thing that stood her apart.  She is from Kelowna. 

Lutz, who already had an impressive dance resume which included dancing in the 2015 Disneyland Parade and earning a spot on the 2015 Team Canada Tap Dance Team, made the three hour drive from Kelowna to Abbotsford almost every weekend from January to July to participate in the ceremony rehearsals. 

“This young lady understood the value of an experience like being a performer in the BC Games and her family supported her all the way,” said Lorissa Arndt, Entertainment Chair for the 2016 BC Summer Games.

As Founder, President, and Creative Director of the internationally acclaimed Patrick Roberge Productions (PRP), Patrick Roberge knows what he is talking about when it comes to event productions. His take on the BC Games - a highly valuable experience to those in his industry. 

“The BC Games provide an opportunity at a grassroots level for community leaders, business owners and especially young performers to gain valuable experience and insight in the multi-sport games event industry,” Roberge said in a recent interview. “There are lots of community-based festivals, cultural events and tournaments that provide volunteer opportunities, but the BC Games stand out in my mind as a great entry into the multifaceted, multi-sport games industry.”

Roberge, who is also a past BC Games volunteer, acknowledges that the experiences to be gained through the BC Games are not limited to just the headlining performers. Roberge’s own roles, as Production Manager for 1987 BC Summer Games ceremonies and then Producer when the Games returned to his area in 1997, are two experiences he credits with helping to lay a foundation of knowledge that he still draws on today. 

“To this day, I still have strong relationships with people I met working at the BC Games,” explained Roberge. “The BC Games provided me an opportunity to learn, take risks and engage with volunteer committees, young performers and government officials. All of this laid the foundation of knowledge that I pull from and continue to build upon to this day. Whether it’s the FIFA World Cup or the Invictus Games Opening Ceremonies, I am constantly drawing from the skill set that I learned at an early stage of my career.” 

So the next time the BC Games roll into your community be sure to take note of the talented stars on the stage as well as those on the field.  Or perhaps, even get involved yourself. 

“I would encourage young people interested in a career in large-scale events to seek out opportunities with the BC Summer Games as a fantastic portal to a vast industry. There are so many opportunities at the BC Games to gain real experience.” – Patrick Roberge, President and Creative Director, PRP

About the Author

To this day Victoria still vividly remembers watching 1994 Winter Olympics and being incredibly inspired not just by freestyle skiier Jean-Luc Brassard’s gold medal performance, but by his two minute promotional video titled “I Love to Fly”.  It is this memory that drives Victoria in the work she has done for the past eleven years with the BC Games Society, using graphics and video to share the stories of the BC Games, helping to inspire athletes, coaches, volunteers, and performers across British Columbia to follow their dreams. 



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