Thursday, September 25, 2008

Busking for Change in Toronto

I received a news release in my inbox this afternoon from Tomi Swick's official website - yet another online community I belong to. For those of you who don't know, Tomi Swick is a brilliant Canadian musician from Hamilton - he is super-talented and I am so disappointed that I haven't had the chance to see him live yet! (How's that for a third-party endorsement?) Anyway, he is taking part in Busking for Change, a fundraising effort for War Child Canada that has celebrated Canadian musicians, such as Our Lady Peace, James Black and Rick Jackett of Finger Eleven, Neverending White Lights, Dave Bidini (a founding member of the Rheostatics), The Waking Eyes, and Brian Melo scattered throughout the streets of Toronto busking for change on October 2, 2008. All proceeds from this event will help to provide urgently needed assistance to children around the world whose lives have been affected by war.

It was last October when Raine Maida of Our Lady Peace took to the streets of Toronto, busking for change for War Child Canada and publicizing his new album, The Hunter's Lullaby. In the twelve hours he spent on the streets, he raised $22,000 which was used to build the Abala School in the Democratic Republic of Congo. His effort was the inspiration for this year's event, one that has spread to not only include a variety of musicians (the entire list will be announced on October 1st), but also students from all across Canada can register to participate by busking at their schools and in their communities. Best of luck to them with this effort, and I will certainly keep everyone posted on the outcome!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Question: What is the quickest way to turn 20,000 female 30-somethings into 20,000 screaming tweens?
Answer: No, not a time machine - take them to a New Kids on the Block concert. Seriously.

It all started way back in early February, long before they announced their reunion. I have long been a member of the online NKOTB community and I got an email from them that simply said "Are you ready?" Nothing else, just those three words - and those three words sent out to every member of the NKOTB fanclub started the wheels in motion...there was an undeniable excitement in the air. Well, for the fans anyway - and there are a surprising number that have survived.

In late February, I received another that was a montage all of their old and most popular videos - "Please Don't Go Girl", "Hangin' Tough", "Step By Step" and so on, and at the end of it all, those three words appeared again - "Are you Ready?" At this point, I was - we all were...we were so ready. But it was still only speculation - were they or weren't they?
And then there was nothing - for over a month, there was nothing. In late March, a third email went out telling us to tune in to the Today show on April 4, 2008 for a surprising announcement. When the curtains lifted at 7:00am that morning to reveal all five original members of NKOTB, it was suddenly my second chance at living my childhood. We had to wait for another month to see their first performance together in 15 years - those that saw it live at the Today show were waiting for over 48 hours in the pouring rain...just like old times - except now, they are adults, many with families of their own. Oh, the anticipation! I know I was up with the sun on those mornings! Absolutely brilliant!

Fast forward to September 21, 2008. This was sold-out concert number three at the Air Canada Centre (although it was the first concert to go on sale - and to sell out in a matter of minutes) and the energy was indiscribable. Seven months building up to this final two hours...whoever thought this strategy up was a genius! When I was on the GO Train heading back from the concert, I started thinking about all of the people that had to come together to make this a success. A reunion tour (especially the reunion of a boy band made up of 40-year-olds) is always a risky venture, but the New Kids (and their team) have done a great job of coming together, creating (or re-creating, depending on which generation you come from) a brand - finding out exactly what their audience wants and delivering exactly that.

To be honest, I had no doubt that this would be a success - but there was still this little voice that was whispering, "Don't set your expectations too high..." Not only was I amazed at what they still have in them, but I was astounded by how quickly I became a screaming tween with all the rest - and how awesome it felt. I still (obviously) love New Kids on the Block - and I'm not ashamed to admit it (even at 31). *sigh*

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Welcome to My First Post!

This is not only my first post in this particular blog, but this is my first post ever, so please bear with me. I am not very 'computer savvy' - in fact, technology and I are not friends at all - but I guess there is no better time to learn than right now!

I am a student in the Public Relations program at Loyalist College in Belleville, Ontario and my blog is going to focus on news, events and other tidbits of interest in the PR world - wish me luck!