by Mark Budd
VANCOUVER – Meredith Coloma is a luthier. She meticulously handcrafts her instruments, shaping British Columbian wood into magnificent stringed boxes of expression. Side-by-side with students, Coloma teaches her fine skills and shares her experiences. It was in one of her building classes where she met Shaw Saltzberg. He asked Coloma what was next on the young and experienced luthier’s list of aspirations.
“It was kind of one of those ‘be careful what you wish for’ moments,” recollects Coloma. Saltzberg’s connections in the music community helped put Coloma’s vision in motion quickly. Her desire was bringing to life a guitar festival. It would be a festival that celebrated the craft and the tone quest, with programming that would provide a link to the TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. It would be an association that fostered community and fellowship between the musically minded attendees. Coloma’s concept would fill a void in Canada — a country that is home to a fair number of renowned guitar makers.
Glissando to the present — working together as producers, Coloma and Saltzberg are preparing the final touches for the inaugural Vancouver International Guitar Festival. Held from June 23 to 25 at the Chinese Cultural Centre Event Hall, the festival celebrates “the art and craft of contemporary guitar making, both acoustic and electric.”
Among the exhibitors will be Canadian master luthier Linda Manzer, the builder of the 42-string Pikasso guitar. Manzer will also be on hand for an interactive seminar where attendees can meet the guitar makers, drawing knowledge and inspiration for their own musical path. Many of the builders exhibiting at the festival have been apprentices to one of the most important forces in the luthier world: Jean Larrivée.
Larrivée, a Canadian master luthier, will be on hand to receive the Industry Builder Award in recognition of his contribution to guitar building in Canada. The influence of Larrivée, Manzer, and other legendary makers has guided many of Canada’s current crop of guitar builders. “We wouldn’t have a career if it wasn’t for these guitar makers,” Coloma acknowledges.
The Vancouver International Guitar Festival takes place from June 23 – 25 at the Chinese Cultural Centre Event Hall.chineseCultural Centre, Guitar Festival, TD Vancouver Interantion Jazz Festival