Posted by cschultz on Mar 15, 2011 in Blogging
, Miscellaneous Writing
At Writing Victoria, we’re often tasked to write website content for businesses who are looking to improve their online presence. Clean, concise copy is essential when attracting readers on the web. Of course you want to communicate your message, but it’s difficult to grab and hold readers’ attention online. Readers will quickly leave your website if it isn’t visually engaging or interesting to read.
I personally believe that writing for the web isn’t an exact science, nor is it a fine art. It does take effort to do it well. Most business owners don’t have the time or the interest to create engaging, grammatically sound website copy. That’s where I come in.
White Knight Painting’s new website is a great example of how a solid online presence can benefit a small or medium-sized business. White Knight Painting is one of Victoria’s largest, most established painting companies and they were looking for a website that reflected these characteristics. Silver Barrel Solutions took care of the design and development for White Knight Painting’s new online home and I wrote the copy for the site.
I’m proud to show off the finished product and I know that White Knight Painting is, too. Since the site was launched in November, White Knight Painting has maintained stellar search engine rankings. Silver Barrel also developed a blog which I update every two weeks on behalf of the company. Like the website, White Knight Painting’s blog has shown impressive headway on search engines (in a highly competitive industry), and will only improve with quality, consistent blog posts. Most importantly, providing valuable information via blog posts is a great way for White Knight Painting to interact with and grow their client base online.
Check out the brand new White Knight Painting website at WhiteKnightPainting.com.
Posted by cschultz on Jan 10, 2011 in Miscellaneous Writing
During the past year, the Naden Band of Maritime Forces Pacific played in venues at home in Victoria and as far away as Thunder Bay. More commonly known as the Naden Band, this naval music ensemble of 35 members performs across the country and around the globe.
This year, the Canadian Naval Centennial was especially important for the Naden Band: they toured the country in support of the celebration with the intent of bringing the navy to Canadians. But the year isn’t over yet, and there are still opportunities to see the Naden Band play in Victoria and Vancouver.
Formed during the Second World War, just a few decades after the Canadian Navy came into existence, the band was a way to boost civilian and military morale. They held dances, played in concerts, on the radio and in parades. They also helped raise money for the war effort by holding War Bond Drives in Western Canada.
The Naden Band’s role as navy ambassadors in Canada and abroad continued as the decades passed. In 1991, the band travelled to Vladivostok, Russia and officially became the country’s first foreign visitor after the Cold War. Petty Officer (second class) Edith Eaton, who plays clarinet for the Naden Band, looks back on this trip as one of her most significant performances.
“We can go into a place where we don’t speak the same language,” she says. “I had this experience when [the Naden Band] was in Russia. The music was the common language. It broke the ice.”
In 1994, the band was one of five military bands cut from the federal budget. Reinstated three years later, its role in the Canadian Navy is just as important today as it was when it was formed.
Within the concert band, the Naden Band has several smaller ensembles made up of band personnel, such as a jazz quintet, a parade band, and “Salty Soaks,” an eight-piece Dixieland ensemble. The ensembles perform for a wide variety of occasions including sporting events, fundraisers and cocktail parties.
While the official mission of the Naden Band is to provide support for the Canadian Forces, members of the Naden Band agree their primary goal as musicians is to bridge the gap between military personnel and civilians. Through this form, they’re able to bring the Navy to the citizens.
“We are goodwill ambassadors,” she says.
The Naden Band’s secondary goal is also to remind civilians that there are plenty of incredible jobs in the navy. Edith has played with the Naden band in Victoria since 1989. She played clarinet in high school, then attended the University of Ottawa and had the opportunity to play with the Ceremonial Guard. Edith moved on to New Brunswick and played with the Stadacona Band of Maritime Forces Atlantic, and then to Victoria, where she now resides.
“I feel very lucky to play my clarinet every day,” says Edith.
Each member’s primary job is rehearsal and performances, but they also have secondary duties that keep them busy in their role as navy ambassadors. Edith, for example, was also the Naden Band’s project manager for the navy’s Centennial Road Show, which took place from May through October of this year. Ticket sales from each performance were donated to regional charities. As project manager, Edith identified cities for the band to visit, booked venues and contacted potential sponsors.
Ultimately, the road show was a success and the band played several sold out concerts. The band’s performance in Edmonton at the Winspear Centre on Friday, July 23rd was especially moving for Edith because at least two-thirds of the audience wore red to the concert.
“It’s wonderful to be a part of that sort of thing, and feel the bond that a city can have when they unite in a common goal,” says Edith.
This Christmas, the Naden Band will unite with the Salvation Army in another common goal, the annual Christmas Toy Drive.
Petty officer (first class) Michael Broadley, the Naden Band’s lead trumpet player, has been involved with the band for over 33 years. He also spent time playing in Calgary and at Royal Roads. As a senior member of the band, Michael enjoys meeting new musicians and revels in their excitement about their new career.
“I enjoy mentoring them and passing on my experience,” he says.
One of Michael’s favourite memories as a member of the Naden Band occurred in 2002 when Queen Elizabeth II dropped the ceremonial first puck at a Vancouver Canucks game. As a member of the Naden Band, Michael was proud to play amongst the royal trumpets that introduced the ceremony. Michael stood next to Wayne Gretzky and the British monarch on the red carpet while she dropped the puck. This was her first attendance at a hockey game in 51 years and part of a 12-day tour across Canada that celebrated the 50th anniversary of her rule.
Michael played in the first Salvation Army Toy Drive more than 30 years ago, which didn’t have the same turnout that it has today. As word spread, the Salvation Army Toy Drive grew and the band extended the run from one night to three, and added a show in Vancouver. The band also plays a closed matinee in Victoria for school children.
“It’s wonderful because the kids enjoy it so much,” says Edith.
As someone who has been involved in the Salvation Army Toy Drive since the beginning, Michael believes strongly in how important the concert is to so many families.
“We all remember being children. To imagine being a child without gifts, going to school and listening to the other children talk about what they got for Christmas, it would be awful,” he says. “It’s imperative that we have this toy drive to help the needy families. The important thing to me is to light up a child’s face.”
Edith agrees. “It’s part of our Christmas tradition [in Victoria]. We’re so pleased to have the toys go and make Christmas a little bit brighter for those who need it.”
Giving back to the community is just one way that the Naden Band helps the navy connect with civilians. Like Edith, Michael feels lucky to spend his days playing music, knowing how important his role is as a navy ambassador.
“Being the face of the navy is our most important role, and so is the connectivity between the civilian and military world,” says Michael. “People can relate to music.
People can’t always understand ship manoeuvres. I think that as a musician in Canada, it’s one of the most rewarding jobs you can have. We don’t just play symphony, jazz or rock ‘n’ roll in the clubs. We cover all aspects of music.”
By Candice Schultz
Originally published in Senior Living Magazine, December 2010.