Joe Varnell & Kevin Bourassa
Eurovision Canada co-founder Kevin Bourassa first began watching the Eurovision Song Contest as a boy in 1974 when he lived in Germany. He moved to Canada in 1976 where he became a music journalist and broadcaster in Toronto. In this role, he thought he had his last encounter with the Contest in 1977 when he was sent a new album by a former winner of the contest: Brotherhood of Man's Images. The album gathered dust and went unreviewed while memories of Eurovision faded into the past.
Kevin met his spouse, Eurovision Canada co-founder Joe Varnell in 1997. The pair married in 2001 in a ceremony that was reported in news around the world, launching a legal battle and advocacy campaign that would see the couple become advocates for equal marriage, speaking and writing for audiences in Europe and North America. The couple's legal battles ended in 2003, when the Court delcared their 2001 marriage to be legal.
During this stressful time, Joe had begun to explore music that was available online. He approached Kevin with some songs he had found from the 2003 Contest, not knowing of Kevin's previous exposure to the television event (Kevin had left his enjoyment of Eurovision in the closet, long after he had come out).
By the next year, the couple began following the contest closely, watching national selection programmes, and of course the semi-finals, and final programs of the ESC itself.
In 2006, the couple were successful in obtaining tickets for the semi-final and final portions of the Eurovision Song Contest, held that year in Athens, Greece (tickets sell out quickly, and that year, the online server handling ticket sales crashed 15 minutes after opening, due to the crushing demand). If you look closely at the special features included in that year's DVD edition of the Contest you will find Kevin and Joe enjoying a drink before the show!
Kevin and Joe were executive producers for a classical music CD featuring The Onyx Wind Quintet (1999). They have been published in adjudicated academic journals (in the fields of Psychology and Law), written for commercial magazines, and they are co-authors of a book, Just Married, published in Canada and the United States, and in French translation around the world.