Kicking Off @VicFoundation events with @SD63NSaanich

North Saanich players Victoria BC is a lovely city and my sister and her little family live here so it's always nice to visit. Though usually, those visits are pretty brief and we tend to stay pretty close to the house or to downtown. But this trip to Victoria for the Victoria Foundation is giving me the opportunity to stay in the region for a week and take the presentation over a much wider terrain - including Saanich and Brentwood Bay, Esquaimalt, Langford, Sooke and the spectacular Government House with its view overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Stay tuned as I update the blog!

I got in late last night and settled into my lovely room at the Parkside Hotel across from St. Ann's Academy with beautiful Beacon Hill Park just behind it. This morning it was up early and back towards the airport for my first presentation at North Saanich Middle School. It's kind of a strange feeling: I have given the presentation (or versions of it) hundreds of times and yet each time - especially after not having done it for a while - the telling of the story launches me right back into the full emotional impact of it. So I apologize if I was a little tearier than usual!

My original list of players for NSMS included a couple of bass players who were a little concerned about how they might perform on guitar for the "performance pocket" but a handy alternative presented itself and we shuffled the line-up - much to the bassmen's relief. Student Alexis Van Den Bulk (pictured, centre) started things off with a rendering of Vance Joy's "Riptide" and she was followed by former teacher and professional musician Ms Maxine, who boasted a powerful, full-throated blues drawl. Handily, Ms. Maxine's son, Jasper Kjernisted, was an NSMS student and an accomplished finger-style player so he stepped into the third spot. Jasper's grandmother was in the audience and was telling me after about the Kjernisted name and its origins in the Icelandic community - which gave me a great chance to point out to the family the presence of the Icelandic Lucky Stone from Gimli Manitoba embedded in the 7th fret. Like I always say, everyone has some connection to something in this guitar!

Special thanks to principal Kal Russell for his warm hospitality and to all the staff and students at NSMS for helping me to get this tour off to such a great start!

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