VICTORIA -- Kate is walking with her husky, Atia, recalling that night she had so much on her mind.

“It feels heavy,” she says. “It feels heavier than normal.”

It’s not just the pandemic. This year has been particularly tough for her family.

“Solitary walks feel very solitary,” she says of her evening stroll. “So to hear music playing...”

Kate says she was walking towards the intersection of Lillian Road and Robertson Street in Victoria’s Fairfield neighbourhood when she suddenly heard a trumpet playing a Christmas song.

“I stopped and listened,” Kate smiles. “Then a car drives by and I suddenly can’t hear [the music] anymore and I waited and waited and waited.”

As quickly as the music came, it was gone, leaving Kate’s eyes filled with tears.

“It was like being a kid again,” she says. “The magic of Christmas, when something special happens.”

Kate couldn’t stop thinking about it, so she started sharing her gratitude to the mystery performer with a post on her neighbourhood social media group page.

“It was the most magical thing I had ever heard. Thank you,” she reads from part of her post. “My dog and I continued on our walk but my heart and my steps and my heart were a little lighter.”

And that would have been that. Until a couple of people started responding to the post, asking, “Tom? Is that you?”

“I was shocked to tell you the truth,” Tom says of the reaction to his one night of playing on the front porch.

Tom started learning the trumpet as a teenager. He hadn’t played in decades and only recently started trying it again.

“I was only going to do it when I felt like it,” he laughs. “But then part of me said, ‘I need to do this.’”

Tom was so touched by Kate’s message he felt inspired to play again, and after earning more kudos, he started sharing recordings of his front porch performances online

“I’m getting requests now!” Tom smiles. “It’s perfect.”

But nothing beats the feeling when — suddenly from the darkness of the street below your porch — you’re joined by a spontaneous choir.

In one of the videos you can see Tom suddenly stop playing and start conducting people singing. “Alright,” he smiles infectiously to them. “Good job!”

A few blocks away, Kate is smiling too. She’s been reminded that no matter how dark it seems, there’s always something bright to be found.

“Keep listening. Keep your eyes open. Keep your hearts open,” she says. “See where the little bits of magic are. They’re everywhere.”