Quebec City solidarity concert aims to break down 'imaginary walls' in wake of mosque shooting
Almost 100 artists perform for free at Capitole de Québec theatre Sunday night
It started with a Facebook post calling for artists to come together in the wake of a deadly mosque shooting in Quebec City, but little did Byron Mikaloff know that his idea would snowball into something much bigger.
The post was widely shared, artists volunteered their time, local businesses contributed money and a prominent concert hall allowed them to use their stage for free.
On Sunday night, over 1,000 people packed the Capitole de Québec theatre in a show of solidarity.
"There's too many fences, there's too many imaginary walls, it's a bridge-building celebration," said Mikaloff in an interview with CBC's All in a Weekend.
The show, entitled "Ensemble," or "Together" in English, features a lineup of almost 100 performers from all over the world.
Artists including Karim Ouellet, Bobby Bazini and The Lost Fingers (Mikaloff's group) will share the stage with musicians from countries such as China, Vietnam and Tunisia.
Originally from British Columbia, Mikaloff moved to Quebec City in 1994, settling in Sainte-Foy, where the mosque shooting took place on Jan. 29.
Lost Fingers and guests do multi-instrumental version of Pump Up The Jam. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ensemble?src=hash">#ensemble</a> <a href="https://t.co/Un94vwvsJW">pic.twitter.com/Un94vwvsJW</a>—@kimgcbc
After the attack, Mikaloff said he went to the mosque and was left with one question: "What can I do?"
"It hit me right in the centre of the heart," he said.
"I got very emotional."
Now sold out, over 1,200 tickets were made available for free earlier this week. Mikaloff said some people waited in line the day before they were released.
A 17-foot-high screen is also outside of the theater and is live streaming the concert to those who could not get tickets.
La Bronze sings Formidable in Arabic. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ensemble?src=hash">#ensemble</a> <a href="https://t.co/omdRcAdIz5">pic.twitter.com/omdRcAdIz5</a>—@kimgcbc
Mikaloff said he and other organizers have been working long days, some more than 16 hours, for the last month to put it all together.
But he said the work has already begun to pay off. "The whole city has really come together," he said.
With files from CBC All in a Weekend