"Forget reserved Toronto, city of hushed “O Canadas” and nodders-not-dancers. On Tuesday nights, when a group called Choir! Choir! Choir! gathers at a College Street bar, the city gets loud. On an average night, 100 people show up, pay five bucks for a lyric sheet and divide into lows, mids and highs. All are welcome. Beer is extra, mingling free.
Up front, the group’s founders do light comedic shtick between bars: Daveed Goldman, who manages the brunch destination Aunties and Uncles by day, roams the stage with his acoustic guitar, while Nobu Adilman, former host of the cooking show Food Jammers, conducts in his own way (twirling hands, Molly Ringwald dance moves). Over a few hours of trial and error, their unique arrangements become full-fledged, clappable, even beautiful songs. It all started three years ago, when Adilman organized a singing birthday gift for a friend. Now the group is landing gigs, like opening the Reel Asian Film Festival, which means anyone can indulge their Glee-like fantasy of performing before hundreds.
The material—George Michael, TLC, Fleetwood Mac—has an ironic tinge, but there’s no hipster posturing in a crowd that includes moms, students, the hip and the not so hip. The experience is a sort of extended version of that moment when the star holds out the mic and the crowd finishes the chorus. Choir! is all the things Toronto thinks it is—democratic, inclusive, creative—without any of the self-consciousness. It’s a chance to break the urban isolation, turn off the devices and hear a stranger in your ear."
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