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Taylor Swift concert will be a special treat for one Belleville group

Alisha and Totyona [1]

Alisha (left) and Totyona are thrilled to be going to see Taylor Swift perform at the Rogers Centre in Toronto Oct. 2. Photo by Rebecca Bartlett

By Rebecca Bartlett [2]

BELLEVILLE – Some local young adults are counting down the days until they get to see one of their idols live.

The young people are part of Pathways to Independence [3], a non-profit group that works with developmentally handicapped people. On the first weekend of October, they will be travelling to Toronto to see pop superstar Taylor Swift [4] in concert at the Rogers Centre.

Dylan Becker, a support worker with Pathways to Independence, has arranged the concert visit and has been in contact with Swift’s management to try to enhance the group’s experience. The plan originally was to go to her concert in Ottawa in July [5], and her management offered the group of young people floor seats and a meet and greet. But the Ottawa show turned out to be scheduled during an annual five-day camping trip where the group goes portaging, canoeing and kayaking. Becker and the group were already committed to camping.

Looking at Swift site [6]

Alisha and Totyona looking through Swift’s website. Photo by Rebecca Bartlett

Becker was able to buy tickets for Swift’s Toronto show instead, though unfortunately he wasn’t able to book a meet and greet.

“I got the bad news that she won’t be accommodating the meet and greet in Toronto. However, the manager and Taylor wanted to send us a bunch of swag and autographs and CDs and stuff like that – a really great gesture. My guys will really love it in the end,” he said.

Getting the approval to go to the concert is quite a process, Becker said. He had to speak with home care providers and case managers before he got the OK. Part of what he had to check was if his clients had spending money for the concert.

“Even though my program is heavily funded, we still ask for the individuals to pay $20 towards the ticket. It usually isn’t any more than $20. And then I don’t pay for any of their merchandise or food, so I usually get them to bring an extra $30 for their food,” he said.

Becker says that he always does what he can to make sure his clients have the best possible experience when they go on big trips.

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/dylan-becker-clip.mp3 [7]

“It’s a great program. I love working with the (clients) and for Pathways. The opportunities that the (clients) have gotten, like we’ve met Jose Bautista [8], we’ve met Russell Peters [9], Jeff Dunham [10], just absolutely amazing opportunities.”

When asked if all of the young people going are Taylor Swift fans, Becker said, “Absolutely! Fanatics!”

Alisha and Totyona are two of those fanatics who will be going to the concert with Becker.

How pumped are they? On a scale of one to 10, Alisha said, she is at 1,000.

Her favourite Swift song is Red, she said, and then explained why:

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/alisha-fave-song.mp3 [11]

Why does she love Swift?

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/alisha-loves-tay-swift.mp3 [12]

Totyona too said she’s very excited about the concert, and about seeing Swift live:

http://www.qnetnews.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/totyona-why-shes-excited.mp3 [13]

The two young women say they can’t wait to see all of Swift’s outfits; during their interview with QNet News, Totyona and Becker discussed how many costume changes the singer might have during the show. Totyona said she thinks Swift will change into at least 20 different outfits.