By Tracy Byrne

On the morning of Saturday 9 September, our hot, dry summer seemed suddenly to come to an end. Rainclouds hovered over Victoria and dumped their contents liberally. The parched grass and thirsty trees no doubt rejoiced, but the organizers of the second Singing in the Streets watched the skies (and the falling rain) with dismay and fielded emails from anxious neighbours and musicians – Is the event still on? Are you going to cancel? The response went out: This is a rain or shine event. Come prepared!

Fiona deLange and Rowan Barr-Waldron sing and play for the Topaz-Graham residents

In the drizzle, the organizing team and other volunteers assembled tents and awnings, set out chairs and tables, and hooked up the sound system. A few hardy souls emerged from their homes just before the first musical act took the stage. The clouds still loured but they shed only an occasional drop and, as the music began, so the grey steadily lightened, until, by early evening, almost 100 neighbours and friends were swaying to the music in the sunshine.

Thus, Topaz and Graham’s second annual community music event – made possible by a Neighbourhood Small Grant – was a great success. We sang the clouds away and we wooed the sun with harmony! Seven acts entertained residents from 4:00 until 9:00 pm. Dogwood Rose – a vocal, guitar and stand-up bass trio – kicked things off with a set that included a number of well-known tunes and an invitation to the crowd to sing along. They were followed by singer/guitarist, Kobi Scott, who delighted the audience with her original tunes and cover numbers. Tilted Frame – a young Indie Rock band – came next, turning up the volume and the tempo with a dynamic performance. Clark Brendon and Friends then took the stage and entertained with guitar and mandolin and some tight harmonies. They were followed by The Salty Quips, a skiffle band blending jazz, blues and folk influences, whose energy and humour captured the crowd. Young singer/guitarist, Fiona deLange and her friend, Rowan Barr-Waldron also wove a spell over the Topaz/Graham residents with their pure voices and delicate harmonies. Finally, Graham Street’s very own duo, The Di Gregorios, brought the event to a close with a selection of haunting, soul-filled songs and beautiful melodies.

The Di Gregorios close the event

Neighbours also had the opportunity to enjoy young violinist Sam Spalding and his sister Lili, on piano. As well, Isla Holland (daughter of one of the event organizers) sang Happy Birthday – in English and German – in honour of the 80th birthday of long-time Graham Street resident, Astrid Hauth. There was birthday cake for all – in addition to the many sweet and savoury treats that neighbours had contributed to the festivities.

Over 100 people passed through the event and stayed for a longer or shorter time to enjoy the music, chat with friends, meet new neighbours, eat, dance and sing. “I’m so happy to have been part of this event,” said one of the musicians as he put away his guitar. “Here’s to this lovely September tradition!”

The “Singing in the Streets” organizing team would like to thank the following local businesses for their in-kind support of the event: Caffè Fantastico, Fifth Street Wood Fired Rotisserie and Villages Pizza. Thanks also go out to all of the wonderful neighbourhood volunteers – for fetching and carrying, setting up and taking down, making sure the musicians sounded great, and loaning tents against the rain!

Finally, much gratitude to the Neighbourhood Small Grants Program for making this – and many other community happenings – possible.

If you’re interested in helping to organize “Singing in the Streets 3” in 2018 – or you think you’d like to share your musical talents and passion at the event – then let us know by emailing: SongsOnGraham@gmail.com.

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