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Earth Hour in Toronto, 2008.

MARK BLINCH/REUTERS

In recognition of Earth Hour, which involves the world-wide switching off of lights for 60 minutes tonight (8:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m., in Toronto), the new Team Earth Hour anthem will be sung at the Distillery District, perhaps by you. Who wrote the song? Again, possibly you had a hand in that too.

In the dark? Let us explain: The anthem, When The Lights Go Down For Earth Hour, was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature. Toronto's Andrew Huang, who specializes in "crowd-sourced" songs, took suggested lyrics posted by people at the WWF's Facebook page. This evening, the collaborative song gets its live premiere when it's sung by Choir! Choir! Choir!, an organization that will teach members of the public to sing the new tune.

"It was a lot of stuff to read through," says Mr. Huang, referring to the deluge of suggested lyrics, submitted in 140-character blurbs. "But I'm really happy about how it's turned out."

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According to the songwriter, who also writes jingles and commissioned wedding songs, the WWF wanted something upbeat, as opposed to something like the heart-string-tugging We Are the World. The result, says Mr. Huang, is an epic that's "catchy pop, with a bit of reggae flavour."

Asked about his favourite submitted lyrics, Mr. Huang is taken with the anthem's key refrain, which goes like this:

When the lights go down

I want to be here with you

And the million candles that we light

When the lights go down

I want to dream something new

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And let the stars come out tonight

"It's a powerful song," says Mr. Huang, "But there's an element of fun to it, and I think it will be enjoyable to sing."

To paraphrase a Willie Nelson song, then, turn out the lights, the party's starting.







WWF's Earth Hour event, hosted by CBC Radio's Garvia Bailey, 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Free (bring candles, lanterns, glow sticks and flashlights). Distillery District, 55 Mill St., earthhour.wwf.ca.

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