Brotha, can you spare a dime?

Silver Starling busk for change in charity performance

by Denise Audette

Commuters traveling through Berri-UQAM metro station last Tuesday morning were treated with the sweet melodic sounds of Silver Starling, a local indie pop band.

Silver Starling was one of many artists performing in the metro that day as part of an event called “Busking For Change”. The goal of the event was to raise funds for War Child Canada, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing humanitarian assistance to war-affected children around the world. Similar events have been held by War Child in other major Canadian cities in the past, raising over $100,000 for this worthy cause. Volunteers were present to collect whatever change listeners and walkers-by were ready to spare.

The band opened their three-song set with “Caught In Your Glow”. Catchy yet mellow, this song had folks swaying to its gentle rhythm while taking a pause from their morning routine. Marcus Paquin, vocalist and guitarist, sang each note beautifully, drawing new members into the crowd as the song progressed.
Playing in an unusual venue such as a metro station can sometimes bring in unexpected difficulties. In this case, the familiar dreaded metro alert message was played several times over the course of the set, as service attention on the green line between Angrignon and Honoré-Beaugrand stations was at a halt. Though it did not interfere significantly with the music, it did impede on their earlier show at Place-des-Arts metro station. “The first show we played this morning was really weird because the metro was closed, so the only people there were the homeless. They seemed to enjoy it though!” said Paquin, optimistic of the situation.

Next on the set list was “Love And A Broken Heart”, a slow-paced reflection on faith and finding love. This song had more of a relaxed mood, yet the band was showing signs of a build-up in energy. Though it may have been in an effort to keep warm, they were definitely moving around more and getting comfortable with their audience. The doors to the entrance of the metro station were constantly opening and closing, resulting in wave after wave of chilly fresh air bursting in from outside. “Close the doors!” joked Paquin.

To wrap it all up, Silver Starling performed “Ghosts”, a whimsical tune that tells a story about toughing it out and facing one’s fears. With its playful nature, most spectators couldn’t help but tap their toes. Much to their enjoyment, Marika Anthony-Shaw, violinist in the band and wife of Paquin, put down her bow and began plucking her violin. It added a rather pleasing twist to the song.

Though their performance was quite short, there were several more acts to follow over the course of the day, such as Amy Millan, Sebastien Lefebvre (of Simple Plan) and the Winter Gloves.

All in all, the event was well received and successful, and the participating artists were happy to be a part of it. “This is my first experience of the sort,” said Paquin of playing a show inside a metro station. “It’s kind of weird, but fun! Any way that artists can contribute by playing their music is really great.”

Anyone looking to learn more about War Child Canada can do so through their website, http://www.warchild.ca. While you’re at it, don’t forget to check out Silver Starling at http://www.myspace.com/silverstarlingmusic.

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