Musical Muskoka with @OMEAOntario #OMEAInterlude2017

Jack Gaughan with Voyageur My relationship with the Ontario Music Educators Association (OMEA) goes back many years now and I'm so glad that they invited me back for this year's conference - Interlude 2017 - at the Deerhurst Resort, not only because I got to see some of the organizers of past events and so many teachers whose schools I've visited over the years - but because it's such a great reminder of how important music education is in school and in life; and to be around people who are dedicated to that idea is very inspiring. And in addition to all the familiar faces, it was also great to meet so many new educators who were discovering Six String Nation for the first time. I'm hopeful that we'll have a chance to visit some more schools around Ontario as a result - and especially ones that have people on staff who can make sure the music students at their schools get a chance to really step up and shine during the presentation.

Speaking of stepping up and shining, there was no doubt a wealth of guitar talent among the attendees who would have been great in the "performance pocket" part of the presentation - and our pal Hawksley Workman had graced the stage the previous night - but, rightly, organizer Laura Lee Matthie wanted to focus on a student player for this opportunity and really hammer home the value of the work that everyone in attendance is doing. So she managed to recruit a 16-year old grade 12 student from nearby Huntsville High School named Jack Gaughan. Remember that name. Jack plays guitar and bass in the Senior Concert Band, Senior Stage Band and the R&B ensemble Song Project at school and is currently working with Oscar Peterson Quartet alumnus Lorne Lofsky as he prepares to audition for post-secondary jazz studies. He was cool as a cucumber and yet his fingers were like lightning!

Thanks to Laura Lee and her conference co-chair Sarah Arcand as well as volunteer coordinator Debbie Tackabury, who provided an amazing team of volunteers to help us at the portrait booth - including Esther Weatherall, Alanna Vanstone, Alan Li, Chelsea Ewing, Emily Peterman, Emily Williams, Tori Ly and Anna deGroot-Maggetti. Special thanks also to Erica Bota from ThinkLink Graphics, who did an amazing realtime doodle of the Six String Nation presentation, which I'll share on Instagram in the coming days.

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