Who cared that it was a bone chilling cold February 1st evening? Certainly not the large crowd inside Cheeky Monkey that were here to enjoy seeing and hearing the legendary Six String Nation Guitar know as ‘Voyageur’.
Local musicians Jim Chevalier, Brenden E. Fraser, Adam Miner, Dave Miner and Mark Potvin took turns playing ‘Voyageur’ throughout the evening making it a wonderful mix of songs being performed using Canada’s guitar.
‘Voyageur’s’ curator, historian and man responsible for it’s creation, Jowi Taylor gave a wonderful moving talk and visual presentation explaining the story behind what makes this guitar so important. As Jowi tells it, the guitar was made as a symbol of national unity, to explore Canadian identity, and to connect people from all regions in Canada. It is made from 64 pieces of bone, metal, wood, stone and fabric, representing every province and territory. The guitar’s neck has wood from the deck of the Bluenose II, a bagel shibba from Montreal, and oak from a ceiling joist from the St. Boniface Museum in Winnipeg, a former convent of the Grey Nuns and the building where Louis Riel attended school. Most of the front of the guitar is made from wood from a 300-year-old golden spruce from Haida Gwaii (formerly the Queen Charlotte Islands) in British Columbia The golden spruce – also called Kiidk’yaas’ – had a rare genetic mutation that caused its needles to appear golden in colour. Sacred to the Haida First Nation, the tree was cut down in 1997 by an unemployed forest engineer named Grant Hadwin as a protest against the logging industry. The piece of the golden spruce took Taylor two years of negotiation to procure and it is the only wood harvested from the tree. These are just a few of the facts and stories regarding this amazing guitar.
When I first approached the line up of musicians to play for First Friday, one of them commented that the event we were planning with the Community Round Table was interesting and he was honoured to be asked to play – BUT how does it sound was a concern. Well let me tell you, despite not being really knowledgeable about guitars, to me it sounded fabulous! The musicians along with a few other local guitar aficionado that were present agreed.
To add a little local flavour to the evening, the Sarnia Heritage Committee had a display of a few dozen of their historic photos of our city. It is amazing how much our city has changed and evolved over the centuries. This was just a sampling of what will be on exhibit February 18 to 24 for Heritage Week at Lambton Mall.
We’d like to thank Alison Mahon & Rich Bouchard of Community Round Table for including us as part of the visit to Sarnia of The Six String Nation Guitar. Thanks also to our fantastic local musicians of Jim, Brenden, Adam, Dave and Mark for playing so beautifully. And of course, thank you to each of you that were part of the audience who helped show Jowi and Voyaguer our appreciation of Canada’s guitar.
For more photos of the evening, click on the PHOTO GALLERY tab above and go to the folder called 2013 FIRST FRIDAY’S