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Laurie Niles friends in Vancouver

July 11, 2010 at 10:31 PM


Robert and I founded some 12 years ago, and one of the things I've enjoyed most about it has been meeting wonderful people from all over the world.

When our family decided to go to Vancouver, Canada, I knew that there were a few V.commies there, so on Friday I was happy to meet Jennifer Leong, Yixi Zhang and Kelsey Zachary -- friends that felt like old buddies, though we'd never met in "real life"! 

Nonetheless, we do go back a long way. For example, when I was considering purchasing a fine violin (a major life decision) some four years ago, Jennifer wrote me a beautiful note of encouragement with just the right kind of perspective to help me feel like I was making a good decision. I did get the violin, and I have never regretted it. 

Laurie and Jennifer Leong

On Friday Jennifer led me and my family around Vancouver's Stanley Park "seawall" by bike. It's a gorgeous city trail that nonetheless allows for vistas of mountains, sea, majestic bridges, cityscapes, harbors, tall pines and more. It was breathtaking, and it got me back on a bike for the first time in many years. A little wobbly at first, but it came back!

We then took a ferry to another part of town and met Yixi -- whose creativity in so many realms has inspired me for a long time. She plays the violin, she sews, she makes soap (it's really art, the scents and oils she combines, the creamy texture, the shapes and colors…) What a treat to meet this dynamic being in person!

We also met Kelsey, who joined in 2002, and by my calculations, she was a young teen at the time! I feel like I've watched her grow up. Now she's in her final year at the University of British Columbia, playing recitals, winning commissions, having her compositions played by pros, getting her gorgeous photography published, and also doing an eight-day hike along Vancouver Island's west coast -- wow!

Yixi, Laurie, Jennifer and Kelsey

These women met each other on, and from the way they talked, I could see that they've been a real support to one another. I like to hear that is bringing people together in this way. The aim of is to provide support for violinists and foster a sense of community among people who want to make this instrument, and its music, part of their lives. 

Laurie: "I love Vancouver!"

From Neil Nelson
Posted on July 11, 2010 at 11:20 PM

It all sounds magical, the places, the people, glad that you had such a good time. I remember the big stigma of meeting people from the mysterious internet. I have made a lot of friends, and my fiance, as well as long term associates in many fields of interest online, and hope to add to the list on

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on July 11, 2010 at 11:48 PM

Hi, wow this is very cool!  Yes, it's fun to meet other people with similar interests!  This is very difficult when you live in suburbs (or small places) where there is not much music or even in a big city when you don't have time to participate in many musical events. is really a good website!

Thanks for this blog!


From Ray Randall
Posted on July 12, 2010 at 1:34 AM

Hope you have time to take the "Sea to Sky Highway" North out of Vancouver. It's gorgeous.

From Pauline Lerner
Posted on July 12, 2010 at 2:32 AM brings people together in a virtual sense, and now you're together physically.  It must feel like a family reunion.

From Eugene Chan
Posted on July 12, 2010 at 6:54 AM

Darn! Missed y'all, and you're making me miss home. (I'm in the Seattle area these days, but head up to Vancouver pretty frequently...)

From Elana Lehrer
Posted on July 12, 2010 at 12:22 PM

 Oh, so jealous!  That sounds like so much fun!  I went to Vancouver once and met a bunch of friends there, but was only there for about a day, most of which was taken up by plans.... always wanted to go back and see Victoria Gardens and walk around town and go hiking...... one day maybe.  Glad you had a good time and thanks for sharing.

From Terez Mertes
Posted on July 12, 2010 at 1:38 PM

 Aww, how cool! Just love the pic of the four of you!

From Tom Holzman
Posted on July 12, 2010 at 2:04 PM

What Terez said. has given all of us a great deal, including the opportunity to meet terrific, interesting folks we would not normally run into.

From Bram Heemskerk
Posted on July 12, 2010 at 7:31 PM

It is strange that people you know from internet you will probably never meet, so this is special. It is just like knowing a celebrity like a moviestar, which you meet in real life. There is a difference how you imagine how someone is and the real person in front of you. But unfortunately the Olympic Winter Games are over in Vancouver

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