Surprise! That’s Justin Bieber Busking At The Avon Theatre

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Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber at the Sentul International Convention Center in West Java, Indonesia. April 2011. Image: Adam Sundana

Theatre-goers in Stratford, Ont. are used to seeing buskers.

(In this case, a busker is someone who performs music on a street corner for money that people throw into their hat or guitar case.)

But they were surprised and thrilled when they came out of the theatre last Saturday and saw that the busker on the steps was pop superstar Justin Bieber.

Bieber grew up in Stratford, and some members of his family still live there. However, he’s usually out of the country on tour or recording.

He was in town for the Much Music Video Awards.

Busking on the steps of the Avon Theatre is nothing new to Bieber. In the early days, before he became an international pop icon, he often used to busk there.

However, this time it was a bit different. For one thing, although he had his guitar case open in front of him he wasn’t collecting any money for his performance. (According to an estimate by Forbes magazine, Bieber earned $55-million last year.)

And for another, this time the audience knew all of the words to his songs and even sang along.

Because it was an impromptu concert–in other words no one knew ahead of time that he was going to do it–there weren’t mobs of fans. Just a small group of people who had wandered outside during the intermission of the Stratford Theatre play “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.”

Even so, a few people managed to record the brief concert on their phone. One of those short videos is below.

Amongst other selections, the singer played his song “Baby” and performed “I’ll Be” by the Goo Goo Dolls.

Below is a video of Justin Bieber before he was famous, busking on the same steps at Stratford–in fact, he’s singing the same song: “I’ll Be” by the Goo Goo Dolls.

(In this video it sounds like some people are laughing at the young busker, but they’re not – they’re laughing at something else and their voices were just caught on the soundtrack.)

CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
As the article explained, Justin Bieber began his music career playing on the street in his hometown, Stratford, Ontario. Now he is a pop star who travels all over the world and plays for thousands of people at a time.

Identify all of the different ways that Justin’s life has changed. Do you think all of these changes are positive? Why or why not?

Reading Prompt: Making Inferences/Interpreting Texts
Whenever Justin Bieber performs, he sings to thousands of adoring fans. So why do you think he decided to busk to a small group of people passing by?

Primary
Use stated and implied information and ideas in texts to make simple inferences and reasonable predictions about them (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Junior
Use stated and implied ideas in texts to make inferences and construct meaning (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Intermediate
Develop and explain interpretations of increasing complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations (OME, Reading: 1.5).

Grammar Feature: Parentheses/Brackets
This article includes three pieces of information that are written in parentheses. Why do you think the author chose to use parentheses instead of including the information in regular sentences?