Vancouver Stick Seminar - May 2009
with Greg Howard and Jim Meyer

Monday May 25, 2009 - Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport
I'm flying home today after five days in Vancouver, British Columbia teaching and performing at the annual Chapman Stick seminar there. My good friend Jim Meyer has been organizing the event for many years now. I was last at it two years ago when it was held on an island just off the coast, but this time we were right in the downtown area. As is always the case with these events, it was a chance to catch up with with great friends including Greg Howard and Jim who shared teaching duties.

Our first official event was a show Thursday night at The Cellar in Vancouver, but the morning before the show, Jim and I took a side trip to visit Radial Engineering who are located nearby. It was fascinating to get better acquainted with everything they make. They seem to have an endless list of audio solutions for stages and studios. I couldn't leave without taking a few new toys home to check out of course. The show Thursday night featured myself, Greg Howard, Jim Meyer and Nathan Aswell who I learned actually launched the event years ago. The Cellar is a great venue, but we did have some trouble getting everyone's gear up and running in the 90 minutes they allowed us for set up. But, a few tweaks during the sets and we got things going smoothly.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Greg, Jim and I alternated teaching the beginning and intermediate/advanced classes and private lessons. Our space this time was a building that was actually being converted into a recording studio. One of our rooms was mostly finished with nice wood trim and "mood lighting" but the other was more or less raw cement. Greg also came up with the unique solution to use a staircase landing for a private lesson space. The intermediate/advanced "cement" room did have an advantage over the properly sound proofed beginner room; the windows opened. With the weather getting a little on the warm side Sunday, a joke circulated that having opening windows was something available only to the intermediate/advanced students and beginners would have to work towards that benefit. Not true... or is it? We'll have to see if it helps with Stick players' practice motivation till the next seminar!

The group pose on the left side of the street
The group pose on the right side of the street

Stick player crossing
Stick players stop the traffic

Jim heads off to the first show Thursday
Greg's a unique solution for the private lessons

Saturday night also featured a house concert where almost everyone performed. It's somewhat rare that I get nervous during a show anymore, but watching some of the students give their first performances ever and fight off their nervousness was inspiring. I decided to actually put myself in a somewhat uncomfortable musical position and for my set, included a brand new, still in progress piece we've been working on for the next Agent 22 album. It had a few fumbling moments, but was a fun challenge.

Greg leads a five Stick performance on Saturday night

Greg asked me to get a "REAL closeup picture" of him playing on Saturday night... I hope this is what he meant!
Jim didn't ask, but I didn't want to leave him out of anything...

Now, a three hour wait in Phoenix till the final jet leg home. Thanks to everyone who was a part of this great event!

Want more stories and trivia? Check out the website archives for past tour diaries.

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