“Is this a joke?,” said Charlotte Lloyd. She was on stage at the Florence Simmons Performance Hall and Island Rock Camp founder Andrew Waite had just taken the guitar he was playing (a custom made Tele- style made by Island lutheir Adam Johnston) and put it in her hands with the words “this is for you.” But it was no joke.
The story begins earlier in the year at the Hopyard in Charlottetown. Bartender and Holland College School of Performing Arts grad Mark Misener had an idea. Mark is a guitar player and thought it could be a good promotional trick for Hopyard to buy a guitar and give it away. Hopyard owner Mike Ross liked the idea. But who to give it to?
For the past six years Island musicians Andrew and Nikki Waite have operated their Island Rock Camps during the summer. Mike Ross was a friend and supporter of the Rock Camps. Why not give a guitar—a quality instrument—to a student?
And why not get local luthier Adam Johnston of AMJ Guitars to make it; he is known for his quality builds. Adam was approached, and, once he was convinced that his creation would be going to somebody who would appreciate and cherish it (instead of, say, flipping it on Kijiji the next day), he was on board.
Of course Andrew Waite at the Rock Camp was enthusiastic about the idea, but things finally became real when Hopyard reached out to Upstreet Craft Brewing and their Do Gooder Fund to share the cost of the guitar. Ten percent of the sale of every Upstreet Do Gooder APA goes into the fund to support artists and art initiatives on PEI.
An interesting note about the guitar that Adam built: he used wood salvaged from the old heritage elms that were taken down in Charlottetown in recent years.
Meanwhile back at the Island Rock Camp, Andrew and his staff had to come up with a way of deciding who would be the lucky winner. They didn’t want a competition, but decided that, over the duraton of the camp, they would look for a student with passion and dedication. And without making it known, they narrowed down their choices.
Not only guitar students were considered; anyone was eligible—bass players, drummers, keyboard players. What mattered was the enthusiasm and the commitment. A unanimous consensus was reached. The guitar would go to bass guitar student Charlotte.
Charlotte is a student at Queen Charlotte Intermediate in Charlottetown and plays bass in two bands at the moment—alt rockers Moment of Eclipse and hardcore punk duo Deadname. When asked how she likes her new guitar she says “I play it every chance I get.” The right answer.