Banding Together for Syrian Refugees in the Capital


The PepTides, theroyalbrushoff and Capital DJ Academy are banding together to support Syrian Refugees tomorrow, Saturday February 20th, at St. John the Evangelist Church in Ottawa.

Band Together will feature live music, dancing, libations and a silent auction with all proceeds going to United for Refugees, a community initiative led by United Way Ottawa, that is raising funds for settlement organizations who are supporting Syrian refugees when they arrive in Ottawa. The funds raised at Band Together, local organizations be better able to help newly arrived refugees find a home, become accustomed to a new language and culture, and offer long-term support for things like mental health, education and employment.

We had a quick chat with Scott Irving, the keyboard player for The PepTides, about Band Together.

How did The PepTides come to be involved with Band Together?

The story goes that Leah Miller, who works at CUSO International, and I were at a different Syrian refugee fundraiser last November. We realized we both managed bands in town that we would love to contribute to the up swell of Canadian support for the tens of thousands of Syrian refugees coming to our country. It’s a snowy time to be moving to Canada, so we wanted to make sure our newcomers were welcomed with a proper “hug”.


Are there any personal connections for the band to the Syrian Refugee crisis? or connections to refugees as a whole?

Yes, as a matter of fact. Some of Leah’s colleagues at CUSO are among the Canadian families sponsoring refugee families in Ottawa, and some of those sponsors will be coming to the show.


What role do you think music and the arts play, or should play, in moments like this?

People are coming here for a brighter future for their families and children. It takes a village to raise a child. Any way you slice it, that brighter future is going to depend on resilient communities: work communities, school communities, neighbourhood communities, cultural communities, linguistic communities—all of it. Whenever people join together with shared values a common purpose (even if they don’t agree on 100% of things 100% of the time), that’s community.

People often underestimate the power of music and the arts to bring people together and build community, but it happens every day. That’s why being a musician is so gratifying. You get to be on the stage and be part of that force that brings people closer together, even if just for a night. Hopefully the connections we build at Band Together will last for more than a night.


Have The PepTides ever been involved in something like this before?

We’ve partnered with charities before (Children’s Wish Foundation, Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity, etc), but never around a country’s response to a specific global event like the Syrian crisis. It feels neat to be a small part of that history.


For those who haven’t yet seen The PepTides, please explain to them what they have been missing?

It’s one thing to listen to The PepTides recordings, but it’s quite another to see the spectacle live. The PepTides appeal to a wide range of ages and musical tastes because there’s something for everyone… even shy people! We really don’t discriminate. A PepTides show is almost like a kaleidoscope of jazz, electro-pop, gospel and funk sounds, with lyrics that catch you off guard and make you laugh or think. We like to keep it weird. The energy that comes out of the show is infectious. Come to our party!


You can find more information on Band Together here and you can listen to The PepTides below. Don’t miss out on this great night for a great cause!