They sang from the helipad atop Bakersfield Memorial Hospital. They danced on the rooftop of the Fox Theater. They performed from a platform at Memorial Stadium and they raised their voices over the iconic yellow-and-blue Bakersfield sign.
The words they sang — "We're coming back better than before" are at the center of the message, said Bakersfield Mayor Karen Goh. It's a message about Bakersfield and its people making it through a tough year.
It's all part of a new minute and a half promotional video titled "Shout it from the Rooftop," featuring local singers, dancers and musicians performing on several recognizable roofs around the city.
It premiered as part of the State of the City on Saturday.
The germ of the idea started months ago when Goh was looking for information about an old friend. As she searched online, she ran across a "hope video" for Lake Charles, La., a community that had seen more than its share of crisis and disaster.
Over time, Goh began to believe that Bakersfield could benefit from something similar.
"I thought this could be a message that would be inspirational to our community," she said.
Goh reached out to Nick Ortiz at the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce to help coordinate the production.
Suddenly, there was a lot to do, and very little time to do it.
Kaelyn Peterson, policy & public affairs manager at the chamber, got involved.
The central message they wanted to send was about "a new beginning, a new start," Peterson said of the video's theme.
"Our community is strong," she said. "We are resilient. Covid couldn't bring us down."
The Beacon Studios began production with only about 14 days to get it done. In some places, just getting permission to shoot video of singers and dancers on several rooftops would have been a nightmare.
But Bakersfield really came through, said Justin Cummings, who shot and edited all the video and arranged for the rooftop settings.
"I called in some favors," he said.
Still, he doesn't take the credit.
"I think it's just something about Bakersfield," he said. "Everyone wanted to help.
"Not one person asked me for a dollar to do this. There's an accumulation of good people in this town."
Even after the music video was done, it wasn't finished. Cummings said Peterson watched it and told him it was great, except for one thing: It didn't tell a story.
"I had this vision of a closed sign on a business being turned around," she said.
So Cummings called in another favor. Local baker and pastry chef Courtney Ghilarducci-Dendy of GhilaDolci Bakery downtown agreed to star in the opening scene by opening her bakery.
It was the perfect way to tell the story without saying a word.
For Goh, the video is like the sun coming up after a long period of fog.
"My heart was broken during the pandemic when I would get calls from business owners — men crying," she said.
Not only were they losing their businesses, Goh said, more importantly they were losing the ability to help their employees support their own families. It was crushing.
"But the lyrics of the song say we're coming back better than before," she said.
There's always hope.