New Christian CD honors wishes of young woman killed in car accident
BRANTFORD, Ont. (CP) - Former Canadian pop star Gary Weeks hadn't laid down a track for years, but that didn't matter to Bonnie Heikoop.
The twenty seven year-old woman was so convinced Weeks should record his Christian music that she offered to pay the costs of making a CD.
Heikoop, who lived in Mount Pleasant south of Brantford, died in a traffic accident last year before her wish could come true. But a set of circumstances has helped create a disc that is doing just what she intended.
"My goal and purpose is for people to find the peace with God that I have found," said Weeks, who has given away dozens of copies of the CD since it came out in September. The disc, called Eternity, was recorded under the pseudonym Elwood, so that Weeks could preserve his anonymity - the music, not he, is what's important.
The album is a "fitting legacy" for Heikoop, who was devoted to spreading the word of God, said her sister Diane Heikoop.
The songs - such as Come to the Saviour, You Call Me Son, Jesus Is the Way - are meant to help people through their personal trials, said Weeks.
Now living in Markham, Ont., the 55-year-old Quebec native is a married father of three sons, leading a life far removed from his days as half of the popular duo Gary and Dave.
Weeks and partner Dave Beckett began recording in 1969 and were signed by Axe Records in 1972. The next year, Could You Ever Love Me Again? became their biggest hit, rising to No. 1 in Canada.
"Dave and I were the highest paid touring act in Canada," recalled Weeks.
But their career took a downward turn, and at the low point, in August 1978, the duo played a gig on a Greek cruise ship.
On that voyage Weeks, then 28, took a side trip to Jerusalem that changed his life.
"I ... was absolutely overwhelmed by the contrast between the sinless and selfless life of Jesus Christ and my own sinful and selfish life. It was stunning to me."
Today, Weeks preaches at the Markham Bible Chapel and sings at Christian events across the country. That's how he met Heikoop - at a youth conference near Kitchener in February 2003.
After he performed some songs, she asked if he had a CD. He replied no.
"Immediately, she said, 'I'd like to pay for it,' " Weeks recalled.
"I was very, very touched by that."
The idea percolated for a while - until Weeks learned she had been killed. After performing at her funeral, he was told that she had been talking about the CD right up until her death.
Her family didn't meet Weeks again until a concert in February this year, after which they agreed to fund the CD, later recorded at a studio in Brantford.
Eternity has attracted attention, Weeks said. "People are finding great comfort in its messages."
Weeks has been sending out free CDs in response to requests. He can be contacted at the e-mail address email@example.com.