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On March 30th, a Toronto neighbourhood came together through the power of music, as local singer-songwriter Domanique Grant treated residents of the Esplanade community to a special live performance of her song "Till We See The Sun."

RBC client Domanique Grant feels a sense responsibility as an artist. During these times where self-isolation are having a silent yet significant impact on the mental well-being of many Canadians, music has the power to bring hope and a sense of connection like nothing else can.

That’s why Grant jumped at the opportunity to collaborate with Jamii Esplanade – an organization that uses creative programming to uplift the members of the Esplanade community and care for their well being.

“There is a need to ensure that people inside of their homes who are having a difficult time also have joy, have support, and are remembered. That’s the point of music,” Grant explains.

She wrote her song “Till We See the Sun” as a response to her own feelings of helplessness as she tries to find meaning in the COVID-19 era. “I wanted to write something that would communicate the emptiness of our cities. I wanted to speak to people who had big plans for 2020,” she says. Her raw, emotional ballad is filled with uplifting messages of hope, light and promise for brighter days ahead.

“We’re going to make it through to the other side of this storm.

I know it’s raining, but the clouds will clear in the morning.”

Then through the Kisanii Hub – an itinerant performance space developed by Jamii Esplanade – Grant was able to travel through the community (at a safe distance, of course) and bring her music to people watching from their homes.

A bike with a small seated performance space at the back, the Kisanii Hub contains messaging that reminds people to stay home and thanks them for doing their part. The seated area, meanwhile, is a whimsical space with a microphone and the technology needed to broadcast the performance out to the streets.

While they knew they had a great format, Grant and the organizers at Jamii did not know what the response would be. Performing to a near-invisible audience was a unique challenge. “Performing to homes and buildings was a huge adjustment,” Grant says. “I didn’t know if anyone was going to hear me, or be watching. It’s scary to share your art but not be 100% sure if there is an audience. You also don’t know if this is disruptive to them,” she says, highlighting the risk and vulnerability required for the project.

In the end, as Grant sang the words “please don’t, please don’t give up,” she – and Kisanii Hub rider Raecheal – heard growing applause and cheers as the residents showed their appreciation for this unexpected and beautiful gift of music.

RBC clients across the country have been stepping up to face the COVID-19 crisis with courage, generosity and compassion. Discover other stories of how clients are making a meaningful difference during this difficult time. #RandomActsofCanadian

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