Destination Music at DestinationBC @HelloBC #VSConf17 @NSB_Speakers @Hanksvic

Jon Middleton 2 Destination BC We've sure been feeling the love from Victoria BC this year - with this being the third visit in 2017. I'm pretty sure they feel the love right back.
This presentation was for Destination British Columbia - the trade organization that coordinates the branding and marketing of tourism in BC with faces both toward the public and toward the industry. This particular gathering was of Visitors Services representatives from across the province. In a way, each of them is responsible for laying the groundwork for the stories that visitors will create of their travels around this beautiful and diverse province, which is perhaps why the stories of Six String Nation - especially with so many different aspects of BC history, culture and nature represented in the project - seem to resonate so well with this audience.

What was especially gratifying as we gathered for portraits after the presentation was how many people from across the Canada and beyond were there in BC working in this field - very proud of their roots in Ontario and Alberta and Quebec and Newfoundland and France and Australia but equally proud of the regions they were serving in BC. Once again I am blown away by the stories and connections that people offer as they embrace Voyageur in their portraits. It was also gratifying to be able to share the story of the Stuart McLean addition to the case for the first time in BC since the idea was launched with Alistair McLean at another BC Tourism related event in Victoria back in the spring. One delegate at this conference told me he'd worked with Alistair for years and not known he was Stuart's brother!

Speaking of family connections: I worked closely with conference coordinator Belinda Ewald-Middleton in getting together all the details for this event and in seeking to populate the "performance pocket" in the presentation with someone to play Voyageur she recruited her brother-in-law, Jon Middleton. Jon is based in Victoria and while I didn't get to see his show on a swing through Toronto at the Rivoli recently, we did have a chance to correspond and I listened to some of his music in both solo and Jon and Roy iterations online. But I'm not sure those prepared me for the lilting beauty of his solo performance with Voyageur in that room. A few attendees posted short clips on Twitter (check my feed if you want to see them for yourself) and they just make me wish we'd been recording properly as the pairing was stunning.

Thanks to Belinda and her team for all their help at the event and leading up to it and especially to Karen Tunkara for advocating to bring us back to Victoria. Special thanks to our portrait station volunteers, Erin Monaghan and Rhonda Teel and to Katherine Worsley for the hummingbird. Thanks also to my good friends at the National Speakers Bureau for handling the booking. And while I'm at it, thanks to Andrew at Hank's - Canada's tiny, perfect restaurant - for an unforgettable meal to end this trip to Victoria!

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