Posted by: Naima | April 23, 2010

Working the Streets

So, last time I wrote here I was just embarking on my senior thesis (read last post for details). But now it’s a few months later, finals are done, April showers have blanketed the country and it’s Spring Break!!!

No, I am not writing to you from a tequila-soaked hostel in Cancun or a luxurious castle in Prague but from a humble flat in Montreal, Quebec. If you’ve followed this blog for a little while, you know by now that I sing with a co-ed a cappella group on campus called the Crosstones. We’ve tried to tour every year, usually singing at group members’ high schools and other colleges; but this year, the Crosstones have decided to go international. Yes, Montreal is the first step of our global a cappella takeover.

Since the car trip is only about five hours from Bates, the travel costs weren’t too expensive and we were able to raise enough money to fund the space we’re renting in the city. As for performances, we were hoping to hit up McGill University, but they’re finals week got in the way. Luckily, they let us know that street performing is incredibly lucritive in Montreal and no permit is needed so we’ve been using the city as our singing playground all week. From train stations to street corners to malls and outdoor squares, we have sang all over the city inviting tips from satisfied crossers-by.  Sure, we’ve had a couple of problematic run-ins…most notably some shopping mall security guards that were’nt down with our tip jar, a part of our singing group we neglected to mention earlier. But generally, we’ve been welcomed in every space our voices have invaded. Our singing during the day has helped us to fund unforseen costs of the trip and is also going towards the finishing touches on the CD we’ve been recording all year.

Now, I don’t want you all to think that it’s all no work and no play for the Crosstones. We have made a point to explore the city on our own and take advantage of some of the nightlife here. It may be too predictable, but the most memorable night so far has been spent at a kareoke bar where we sang some favorites and got down on the dance floor.

But aside from nighttime shenanigans, I have had so much fun singing with the group and I actually think we’re getting rid of pretty much any shred of stage fright we might have brought with us to Canada. And yes, it’s also nice to make a little cash.

On that note, we’re heading to our favorite train station to sing for a little while and time is money so….

Peace and then some,

Naima

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