Music for a cause

by | Sep 28, 2019 | Culture, Downtown | 0 comments

BandSwap YEG is holding its fifth annual fundraiser at Station on Jasper on Saturday, Oct. 5.

A unique charity event in support of the Boyle Street Community Services, BandSwap brings together various musicians from across Edmonton and puts them into one-off bands with a random set list of cover songs to perform just 24 hours later.

“It’s kind of an interesting event because you don’t have to be in a band to sign up. Individual musicians, many of whom are in bands, will sign up and they get put into a random band of people they may or may not know, and they all draw a bunch of songs they may or may not know, and they have to learn them in a day and perform them the next day with a bunch of strangers,” explained co-founder Jon Capus.

The BandSwap YEG website explains: “The bands are put together on Friday night and participants put songs in a hat, drawing at random from a large set of possible bangers, weird deep cuts, or downright guilty pleasures.

“The bands then have until Saturday night to learn, practice, and rehearse the material.”  

“We definitely encourage creativity with songs you may want to spice up, and no one expects you to go on stage knowing all the lyrics and notes perfectly,” said Capus. 

Participating musicians are split and put into bands completely randomly. “We basically do drummers as team captains, everyone else draws a number and they get assigned to a band that way … we split them up kind of like you would split up a high school gym class,” explained Capus. 

Capus, a MacEwan University Bachelor of Commerce graduate, and current MacEwan student Sam Karras met when they worked together on SAMU’s student council.

Karras heard of a similar event in Saskatoon and approached Capus with the idea. 

“He heard I was a musician and he was like, ‘Hey, would you be interested in trying to put this on?’ and it’s been really good so far,” explained Capus.

The volunteer organizational team also includes MJ Cumine, Erin Dobbin, Max Foerster, and Jackie Muzichuk.

The group has successfully raised $6,303 over the past five years. Last year’s event raised an impressive $2,810, which they hope to surpass this year. 

Capus explained that the choice to support Boyle Street Community Services was due to popular demand. “Interestingly enough, our first year we ran a poll, because honestly there are so many different charities in Edmonton and we feel they all have their merit. But we decided to make it a popular choice, and it turns out a lot of people wanted us to support Boyle Street.” 

Boyle Street Community Services supports and empowers those living through poverty and homelessness in the city of Edmonton, and has been doing so since 1971. 

BandSwap YEG hopes to raise at least $4,000 in support of the organization this year.

The unique event is an incredible opportunity for local musicians and music lovers alike to come together in support of local music and a worthwhile cause.                                                                                          

Jennifer Hamilton

The Griff


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