Day 164: Riding the busk

christmas-holidays-comedy-pic-carol-singersIf you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you might have picked up on my soft spot for buskers. Okay, very soft spot, more like the Pillsbury Dough Boy’s belly button.

Today, I was in busker heaven.

I encountered the first musical interlude while admiring the magical Christmas windows along Yonge and Queen Streets where families and starry-eyed little ones huddled before each glass pane transfixed by the fairytale scenes within.

Outside one large department store, a makeshift choir of about 15 university students shivered in the cold trying to read the carol sheets held in their frigid hands.

Let me just say that judging by their rendition of “Silent Night,” it was a safe bet they weren’t music majors. Their enthusiasm was also underwhelming but they perked up when I threw a few coins in their music case and pretended to conduct them for a second. Thought I’d cut them some slack, it was awful cold out.

Later, at the subway, I encountered duelling buskers. On the southbound side, a gray-haired folkie with a soft Gordon Lightfoot voice strummed guitar and sang. Over on the northbound side, a violinist in a burgundy wool sweater played a lovely classical piece.

I was on the southbound side and had to hunt for where the music was coming from (since the usual busker post is right beside the track — higher visibility usually meaning more earnings).

This folk singer was set up with his back to the tracks, way over by the up escalator. I think he positioned himself in this less-profitable post so as not to compete with the violinist on the other side.

Very considerate I thought, so I took a slight detour from my path to find him, listen for a while then add to the donations in his case. He nodded and smiled but kept on strumming. Probably helped keep his hands warm….

P.S. I heard a song on CBC radio this morning that took me by surprise. I thought I knew the song “Wichita Lineman,” but it was as if I was listening to it for the first time. I didn’t remember it being so lovely. Here it is if you’d like to check it out yourself. Enjoy!


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