Aging Well with @TheOACAO

Suzie Vinnick at OACAO If you know this project, you already know that Voyageur is a very unique guitar - the only one of its kind in the world made as it is from pieces of history and heritage from across Canada. But from a strictly instrumental perspective it's also unique in that it's a guitar made from a large and diverse number of unconventional materials. That means that these materials are all aging and settling into their relationships with their neighbours at different paces and times. And while I'm not sure I could articulate the way that shifting and settling plays out acoustically, seasoned musicians certainly can - especially those who encounter Voyageur at intervals. And apparently, according to them, the guitar is aging very well. As it matures it gets gets warmer and stronger and less brittle in its sound. Basically, time and experience are making it a better guitar every day.

That process is something the attendees at the Older Adult Centres Association of Ontario's Aging Well conference are no doubt familiar with. Their work in advocating on behalf of and educating within the sector of older adult centres in Ontario includes promoting things like "Active living" programs and other initiatives to enrich lives across the province. So they were a great audience for the Six String Nation presentation. In fact, I don't think I've ever had as many applause breaks for specific items that comprise the guitar ever before and the turnout at the portrait station was as colourful as it was enthusiastic and exhaustive.

I was especially thrilled that they brought in my friend Suzie Vinnick (pictured) to play in the "performance pocket" of the presentation. She is honestly one of my favourite people that I've encountered in this business and even if she wasn't I'd still be in awe of her voice and her guitar playing. She also hung out with us after the show to sell some CDs and generously helped us out running our station.

Thanks to Wendy Caceres-Speakman and her team - including Sue Hesjedahl, Julie Pennal, Sarah Martin and Bonnie Chapman - and my good friends at the National Speakers Bureau. Thanks also to portrait station volunteers Liza Franses and Lina Zita, to Richard Dussault for the kind words and the tech support and to Don Fenn for introducing me.

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