ImaginED in Surrey 1

In front: students Joshua, Tzari and alumni Griffen; backing them up: teacher Jeff Hook.

It's always tough trying to build a tour from afar without an agent to speak on one's behalf. Basically, you're putting the message out there saying "Hi, I'm the greatest thing since sliced bread and you should hire me to come to your school while I'm in your neighbourhood". Without a proper introduction it can be a tough sell. I'd built some time into my schedule before heading up to Port Hardy hoping I could generate some activity in and around Vancouver while I visited with dear friends in East Van but the challenge remained. Luckily for me, I'd had an introduction some months ago to Gillian Judson, founder of the Centre for Imagination in Research Culture & Education and the voice of imaginED - both out of Simon Fraser University - with whom I'd found common ground in advancing inquiry-based learning. Gillian was intrigued by Six String Nation and I was intrigued by her work but we'd never met in person and she'd never seen my presentation. She scraped together a small honorarium to bring me to a couple of schools in Surrey, southeast of Vancouver.

Erma Stephenson Elementary School was first for the day and I drove against the rush hour traffic for an early start at the school with the older grades in attendance at the assembly. They were an extraordinarily attentive group. Sometimes I worry that especially younger grades are going to get a bit restless after half an hour or so but they remained riveted for the whole hour. They let loose near the end of the session, though, seeing their classmates (and a former classmate) bring Voyageur to life in the "performance pocket" part of the presentation. Guitar teacher Jeff Hook graciously forewent his opportunity to play in order to make time for former student Griffen to play Eric Clapton's "Tears in Heaven" as an instrumental and  Tzari (on guitar) and Joshua (on vocals) to perform Vance Joy's "Riptide" (I believe that is now the sixth or seventh student rendition of that song I've heard in my travels!)

I'm so glad that Gillian got to see the presentation in person and especially at her daughter's own school! We hope you'll be seeing some Six String Nation/CIRCE collaborations in the educational realm in the not-too-distant future! In the meantime, thanks to Gillian and her team as well as Vice Principal Shelley Stark and all the helpful staff and students at Erma Stephenson.

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