Delayed flight at Canadian airport turns into a party

Posted at 6:01 PM, Nov 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-21 18:01:01-05

Waiting for a delayed flight is usually a pain, but one group of passengers at a Canadian airport used it as an excuse to party.

Michelle Sacrey Philpott was heading home to Newfoundland after a business trip on Monday when she arrived to a delightful scene at her gate at Toronto Pearson International Airport.

There she found Newfoundland musicians Sean Sullivan and Sheldon Thornhill playing the guitar and accordion while their fellow WestJet passengers sang along, danced and tapped their feet.

Passengers of all ages were taking part. Although a large part of the crowd was singing, one young boy stuck out. In a video shot by Philpott, Liam Carrigan is seen soulfully singing and swaying, his eyes closed, as the musicians and the crowd encourage him to continue.

Newfoundland musicians Sean Sullivan, left, and Sheldon Thornhill with Michelle Sacrey Philpott.

When it was time to board the flight, Philpott said the musicians put away their instruments. But then an airline agent announced that the flight was going to be delayed for 30 minutes because they had to wait for the pilot to arrive.

“Everyone cheered. We got the instruments out again and started to continue singing and dancing,” Philpott said. “Newfoundlanders love to sing and dance. It is such a huge part of our culture.”

One of the songs the crowd sang was a Newfoundland song called “Aunt Martha’s Sheep,” written by Ellis Coles and performed by Dick Nolan.

The song begins like a proper folk tale:

Come gather all around me and I’ll sing to you a tale,

About the boys in Carmanville who almost went to jail.

It happened on a November’s night when all hands were asleep,

We crept up over Joe Tulk’s hill and stole Aunt Martha’s sheep.

The crowd clapped and sang, “Happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy, happy,” between each verse.

Philpott filmed five videos and posted them to Facebook as the action was happening. By the time the group finally boarded, a few of the videos had gone viral.