Summer 2010 will be unforgettable for Beth Hachkowski.
The Red Deer woman received a rare chance to tour for one week with the Lilith Fair and meet one of its co-founders, Canadian singing sensation Sarah McLachlan.
Although not a singer herself, Hachkowski got a glimpse into what it’s like to go on tour and all the craziness that goes along with it.
Hachowski, a registered psychologist, was invited through the Neufeld Institute of which she is a faculty member. Charity creator and Vancouver developmental psychologist Gordon Neufeld asked if she would help man the Institute’s booth inside the Fair’s village.
On July 24, Hachkowski arrived in Toronto where she received an all-access card. She stayed with the tour through Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston and New Jersey.
“It was amazing to be behind the scenes,” said Hachkowski, 39. “It can be unnerving to go for a meal because you don’t know who you are sitting with.”
On her first night, she dined, unbeknownst to her at the time, with the backup singers of Mary J. Blige.
She ate with McLachlan’s band and then while in Cleveland, she met McLachlan herself. The singer and mother of two had just returned from the movies when she met Hachkowski. McLachlan seemed down to earth.
“She knew about our Institute because I think one of her friends was really interested in Dr. Neufeld’s work,” Hachkowski said.
Hachkowski also became friends with Jess Domain of New York, an up-and-coming singer who was promoting the Chevrolet booth. Marie Digby, who was discovered on You Tube for her rendition of Rihanna’s song Umbrella, also excitedly shared with Hachkowski that McLachlan’s agent had just asked to be hers, too.
“There’s this huge group of artists that are all about to be discovered,” Hachkowski said.
“It was so interesting to meet people who I would normally never meet. It was like living in summer camp and you’re on the road.”
The tour buses travelled through the night onto their next destination. Hachkowski got used to sleeping in one of the 12 berths on the coach. Among those on her bus were ABC Network employees.
“Before we went on tour, we were asked by email what our favourite foods were, so they stacked the bus,” Hachkowski said.
The luxurious bus included wireless capabilities, so they were able to call home via the Internet. She had the chance to spend half a day exploring Boston and its shorefront. The concerts had tens of thousands of people attending.
Hachkowski sat in the front row most nights when international artists took to the main stage.
Hachkowski was also enthused to share Neufeld’s philosophy which she has used for the past six years.
Neufeld developed a paradigm focused on the importance of attachment between parent and child. It includes making sense of the root causes behind a child’s aggression or other problem behaviours.
“Putting the relationship first in parenting is important because often we can get distracted in the disciplining and consequences,” said Hachkowski.
Hachkowski, married to husband Aaron and mother of their six-year-old son, said she’d like to see Neufeld’s work more well known in Alberta.
It was a trip that she would definitely do again, but just for a week and no more.
“I couldn’t leave my family for long,” Hachkowski said.