Sara Moss and Lara Hamburg play their music in coffee shops

West Shore teens tackle social issues in song

The Belmont students, who perform as Sarah and Lara, started taking guitar lessons in 2011.

Sarah Moss and Lara Hamburg harmonize to end bullying and increase organ donations.

Best friends since starting Grade 3 at Hans Helgesen elementary school, they wrote and performed “Better Than This” to approach bullying among teens in school.

“I just thought about when I was in Grade 6 and 7 and how I felt bullied and singled out,” Moss said, adding her song was also inspired by a friend targeted by bullies.

The duo’s manager, Steve Gilbert, sent the song to his long-time friend and former business partner Michael Ravenhill, CEO of the David Foster Foundation. Ravenhill loved it. Visualizing potential, he plans to visit the Metchosin studio to help the two 15-year-olds finalize the song in the new year. A children’s choir is rehearsing the chorus for the new recording.

With that news the teen’s manager challenged Moss to write a new song promoting organ donation. The song “Miracle Today” is a surprise for Ravenhill when he visits Metchosin.

“Miracle Today” tells a story of girl name Jessica who needs an organ transplant to live. As she lingers near death, a boy dies in a car crash saving her.

It’s one of about 20 songs Moss has written since the partnership.

The Belmont students, who perform as Sarah and Lara, started taking guitar lessons from Gilbert in 2011. In seven years teaching music, it’s the first time he told his students to form a band.

“They both are amazing,” he said. But it took some work to get them recording.

“I put a microphone in front of (Sarah) and she just pushed it away and said she would never sing into a microphone,” said Gilbert.

The teacher had a plan, he would crank Taylor Swift music and have them sing along, with the mic out.

“I slowly lowered the Taylor Swift volume and eventually it was just them singing,” he said.

Twice a week the musicians practise with their manager teacher and play gigs as often as they can.

Their first public performance was at a Metchosin Community House open mic night last December.

“We were so nervous and we were thinking about backing out,” said Moss, adding there were only about 15 people in the audience.

Now the seasoned performers have sung in coffee shops all across Greater Victoria, retirement homes and a children’s hospice in Vancouver.

“We are trying to perform whereever we can and work on recording,” said Moss, who sings and plays guitar.

The Grade 10 students hope to make music a full-time job.

“Both of us couldn’t see us doing anything else,” said Hamburg, who sings plus plays guitar and piano

The artists have varied tastes in music, but say their differences complement each other.

Hamburg is a bit more rebellious enjoying the edge of Paramore and Macklemore but also listens to Mumford and Sons. Moss prefers country and crooner music including Taylor Swift and Michael Buble.

Sarah and Lara perform at Serious Coffee, 230 Cook St. Nov. 15 from 7 to 9 p.m., Serious Coffee, West Shore Town Centre, 2945 Jacklin Rd., Dec. 13 from 7 to 9 p.m. and at the The Atrium at Royal Jubilee Hospital, 1952 Bay St., Nov. 29 from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

Just Posted

Federal government actions hurt Sooke hatchery fundraising efforts

Funding denial comes on the heels of fishing closures

SD62 student places third in province-wide French competition

12-year-old Sasha Zandieh won third with a speech on poet Pablo Neruda

Jesse Roper learns to create fire in the wild, in Sacred Knowledge web series

Ragnarock Studios production shares primitive skills with Islanders

Island athlete goes from hoop dreams to icy track

Cyrus Gray hopes to punch his ticket to Olympics in bobsleigh

Oak Bay researcher’s Canadian English dictionary goes to print

How an unknown American hobbyist sparked a Canadian dictionary

Police release photos of suspect in daytime sex assault at Vancouver woman’s home

A young woman, in hers 20s, was followed home by the man, before he violently attacked her inside

Raptors beat Bucks 100-94 to advance to franchise’s first-ever NBA Finals

Leonard has 27 points, 17 boards to lead Toronto past Milwaukee

Third person charged in death of B.C. teen Bhavkiran Dhesi

Inderdeep Kaur Deo facing charge of accessory after the fact to murder

Kamloops girl, 9, recovering from carbon monoxide poisoning now out of ICU

Her mother who was sleeping in the same tent with her did not survive

‘I think he’s still alive’: B.C. mom pleads for help finding son last seen a month ago

Family offering $5,000 reward for information leading to the safe return of Tim Delahaye

New poll suggests one-third don’t want politicians to wear religious symbols

Local politicians shouldn’t be allowed to wear hijabs, crucifixes or turbans on the job, survey suggests

Raptors fans far from home adjust plans to watch pivotal playoff game

Raptors currently lead the playoff series 3-2, and a win Saturday would vault them into NBA finals

PHOTOS: First responders in Fernie rescue baby owl who fell from nest

The baby owl’s inability to fly back to its nest prompted a rescue by first responders

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Most Read