A couple of months ago, I was sitting in a pub with some friends and there was this french exchange student sitting beside me. I knew him vaguely; we ran with the same crowd. Nice enough guy.
Later that evening, a P!nk song came on the radio…and I had to rock out.
So I’m sitting there, just singing along…and said french guy puts his hand on my shoulder and goes, “Where did you learn to sing like that?”
“Uh, I was a singer in high school. I studied classical music, like opera, and musical theatre….but I love all music.”
He smiles, “Really, opera? Who is your favourite classical composer, then?”
A little surprised that he didn’t scoff and seemed genuinely interested, I reply “Schubert. Hands down. Always Schubert.”
“Oh wow! Mine too.”
WAIIIIITT A MINUTE, HOOOOOOOOLD UP! Not very many twenty-somethings listen to classical music, let alone have a favourite composer. Turns out this guy was a classical singer as a child too, and we shared a lot of the same repertoire. We got to talking about music until the night was over, and started getting to know each other better over the coming weeks. Both of us ranted and raved about music and mourned our lack of performance opportunities now that we’re majoring in things so far from the performing arts…and then we decided to do something about it.
One day, Nico (he has a name) came over with his guitar and we recorded some random jam sessions. He thought we should put them on YouTube, for our friends and family to see. In the process, I ended up giving our little duo a name, Anglo-Franco….and we became a band.
A few weeks after, I met my friend Cassy…who just so happened to be a classical pianist, playing for operas and ensembles. A real prodigy. We hit it off so quickly, and bonded over how music had shaped our lives. So OF COURSE I had to recruit her!
Now we’re a little family. We carve out 3 hour practices every few weeks, bonding over the creation of new covers and medleys. We use super crappy webcams and camera phones to make our casual covers accessible on YouTube. We play awards ceremonies, fundraisers and coffeehouses and break out into song at parties. Most of our stuff is pop or classic rock that we can pick up on, which has never been my strength – I’m good with character voices and old English. However, I love that it’s outside of my comfort zone – it challenges me to try new things!
My bandmates are the older siblings I never had. We’re all incredibly protective of each other, because we know each other through our art – an intimate connection. Cass and Nico know that when my heart gets broken, we’ve gotta jam it out. She will sit with me at 2 am in the practice room and keep on playing as weep and sniffle my way through the melody. He understands that we might have to do 10 different takes of the same song, because I got so into it that my face scrunches up and my notes aren’t clean. Sometimes we bicker, but we know exactly how to apologize (usually, the foolproof way to say sorry is to sing cheesy songs to each other to make it all better…see below).
If you’ve ever watched Glee, you’ll know that protagonist Rachel Berry swears that “Being a part of something special makes you special.” I’d have to agree that having this creative outlet with the most loving, supportive, fun bandmates really makes me feel just that.
Much musical love and DFTBA,
(p.s. you should check us out on YouTube and suggest some songs for us! Check out our John Mayer and Ingrid Michaelson covers….those are the most rad of all)