If you picked up the phone right now and called Rob Ford’s office, a nice fellow by the name of Tom Beyer would answer the phone. Tom has been the ‘customer service’ face of Ford’s office for two years, spending long days answering hundreds of calls and even making appearances on behalf of the mayor.
About a year ago, Tom and I were chatting about our hobbies. Tom’s an avid videographer, and his favorite subjects to shoot are off-street bike paths and indie rock bands. That got us talking about music, and we came up with a fun idea: let’s create a non-partisan City Hall band! I liked the idea of left and right coming together to make music. It seemed to fit well with other efforts I was making to reduce polarization at City Hall and encourage civil discourse and mutual respect. Oh, and it would be fun as hell.
We weren’t sure if anyone else would want to do it, but we gave it a shot. On February 9th, I sent an e-mail to all 44 City Councillors and their staff with a simple subject line: “Do you play an instrument?”. Within a few days, we had a band.
Even though there were seven of us, we named the band the Clamshell Quintet. I’ve always been a fan of alliteration and after all, this is City Hall. If half of Council thinks we have a surplus and half think we have a deficit …then why can’t a quintet have seven people?
We’ve had a few practises together, playing mainly songs that have an urban theme (We Built this City on Rock n’ Roll), or some kind of connection to City Council meetings (Twist and Shout). Now we’re excited to announce our first show!! We’re playing a fundraiser for Variety Village on November 10th, in Scarborough. Tickets are $50 ($35 tax receipt) and supports relief for flooding damage in the east end.
Hope you can make it to the show! And if you work at City Hall and play an instrument, please get in touch! The Quintet welcomes you.