What: The Wicks video premiere and Christmas concert with guest Bradford Loomis
When: 7 p.m. Thursday
Where: Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center, 127 S. Wenatchee Ave.
Cost: $10, or $5 for museum members, children under 5 free, canned food donations welcome
Information: 888-6240, wvmcc.org
WENATCHEE — Pauline Wick flipped through dozens of Christmas memories last week, mostly letters and photos sent by people she’s never met. In one picture, a military officer sits in his truck, cradling his baby tight. The next photo, another uniformed man is bent over a computer screen with his head in his hands.
Pauline is the lead vocalist in The Wicks, a band she formed with her husband, Jedidiah. Shortly before Thanksgiving, the Cashmere couple released a video on Facebook asking for photos of local veterans for their first music video, “First Christmas (Away From Home).”
“Christmas memories are so vivid — the smells, the music and in our area there’s snow,” Pauline said. “You don’t realize how much those mean until it’s gone. There’s nothing to remind you of that special time except for maybe an email on Christmas morning. That’s such a special sacrifice.”
Within a few days, thousands of people saw the Wicks’ video plea as it spread fast across social networks. Within a couple of weeks, a Spokane television station and local radio stations aired segments and interviews about the project.
The couple received more than 40 photos and dozens of letters in response — more than enough for a two-minute video. They heard from several more people who wanted to be part of the project. The Wicks said they’re considering making it an annual tradition.
“It was humbling,” Pauline said. “We were really thinking this was a neat way to give a little gift to the valley but it ended up being something quite bigger than that.”
The Wicks will premiere the music video at their concert tonight at the Wenatchee Valley Museum & Cultural Center.
The song, “First Christmas (Away From Home),” was originally inspired by a holiday season Pauline spent working at a Christian youth hostel in Amsterdam. The first verse is sung as a missionary, the second is from a soldier’s point of view. The final verse is Jesus praying to the Father: “I’m where I need to be tonight, loving those who need it most. But, it’s not easy being here alone.”
The song wasn’t the only inspiration the Wicks found away from home. If not for a fateful plane ride in 2009, the Wicks might never have formed a band. Jedidiah struck a conversation with the guy assigned to the seat next to him, Los Angeles producer Jon Skaggs of S2 Artists.
“I got really excited when I found out who he was, but I was trying to keep it on the DL,” Jedidiah said. “It’s the notorious situation when you’ve been traveling, you’re exhausted, and you don’t want to have a conversation with that chatty guy in the middle.”
Jedidiah asked for advice on how to get started in the music industry, and mentioned that Pauline had recently placed in the top 30 on a nationally televised gospel singer competition.
Skaggs handed him a card. At the time, neither one could play an instrument, so they sent him a recording of Pauline singing a capella.
“He heard her and sent back a two-page email saying, ‘Wow, you don’t hear voices like that very often,’ ” Jedidiah said.
Skaggs invited them down to Los Angeles to start recording their first album. While Jedidiah learned to play guitar, Skaggs brought in studio musicians to fill out their sound.
Four months later, the Wicks balancing live shows with the recording of their Christmas album, featuring Tyler Hilton — Skaggs’ roommate at the time.
“When you walk into the unknown and you have a teachable spirit, that’s a crucial element,” Pauline said. “From the beginning, we wouldn’t let our limitations stop us from doing what we felt in our heart is something we’re supposed to be doing.”
Next month, the band will fly to Los Angeles to wrap up a third album. They hope to spend the next year performing at major festivals and perhaps book a national tour.
Instead of moving to a major city to launch a music career, the couple plans to bring more of the music industry here, they said.
“We want it to be something the community gets behind,” Jedidiah said. “We’re a local band. For us, we’re being intentional about being from the Wenatchee Valley.”
Rachel Hansen: 664-7139