Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Bike Choir Recycles Music for Transport Revolution

Magazine article Alternatives Journal

Bike Choir Recycles Music for Transport Revolution

Article excerpt

The anti-auto movement is reputedly a militant and radical group of ecoterrorists -- blockading traffic, critical massing, and ticketing motorists for "environmental violations".

Song Cycles: Choir on Bikes, a group of Toronto-area cyclists, is challenging this reputation by singing light and humorous songs that demonstrate their passion for bicycles.

Formed in 1993, Song Cycles perform bike-oriented adaptations of popular vocal music while riding around the streets of Toronto. In addition to their version of Beethoven's "Ode to joy", rewritten to celebrate the merits of the bicycle (see above), their repertoire includes a Macedonian folk song explaining the steps involved in repairing a flat tire and a Cajun number based on "Catfish Pie." They recently have mastered a show-stopping rendition of Handel's "Hallelujah Chorus". A limited number of selections are sung in both of Canada's official languages or entirely in French.

The Song Cycles are versatile enough to adapt songs to fit special events. The tireless choir's rigorous schedule has included performances at the City of Toronto's Bike to Work Week, The Ride for Heart, Art Naturally in Scarborough, die Bikes Mean Business Conference, the Kensington Festival of Lights, the Canadian Opera Company's Operamania, the Circle Ball Fair, the Spadina Festival, Regent Sunday in the Park and First Night 96. They have made many appearances on TV and radio, and have even hit the road to perform in Montreal and at Ottawa's Winterlude.

Their lyrics are earnest and their message is clear: cycling advocacy can be fun. …

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