Metro Station Buskers
April 22, 2015

It's still not clear whether winter is really over in Montréal. I've been back on my bike since the beginning of April but there's more snow forecast at the end of the week. No matter. I won't be cycling over the next days, anyway. The inner tube in my rear tire has been patched up so many times that after the latest puncture I got yesterday no number of further replacements would keep it airtight.

My flat tire meant that--for the first time in weeks--I had to ride the metro home this evening. I wasn't too pleased about having to buy more tickets or paying to get home from campus. But, there was one part in my subway ride that made it all worth it.

As I walked down to the platform of the Guy/Concordia station I could hear an unusual arrangement of a familar song. I recognized what it was even before I could see who was performing it. Just above the metro platform a 5-piece brass set was playing Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody. One french horn, one clarinet, one trumpet and two tubas were being played by what were probably Concordia University students.

I tossed a quarter in an open case lying in front of them and walked on to catch my train. Then, I doubled back. I didn't have any reason to hurry home. Weird as the idea of performing that particular song on those particular instruments in the metro was... it sounded really, really good. I listened through to the end of the performance and then stayed on through the start of another piece I recognized but couldn't place. I thought it might have been something from the opera Carmen but couldn't quite place it. I'd never heard a tuba arrangement for anything composed by Bizet (or Queen, for that matter) before.

I let two trains going my direction pass by before tossing another quarter into the instrument case and stepping down to catch the next train home.