Though I had spent essentially a full day there, I still hadn’t seen every exhibit hall, so finished up in between running in and out of the auditorium to catch various papers (30-minute lectures by AMIS scholars). I’ll share a few photos later; here’s a random shot trying to show the scope. I’m standing in Oceania, and shooting through the next Asia hall and then to the end of Africa (all are connected at the back). What, a couple football fields? I don’t know…here’s the wall at the far end from the center 1% of this photo:
At noon, I hooked up with the busy harp guitarist William Eaton, who also runs the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery. The decades-old school was an easy 20-30 minute drive, though I almost passed up the unassuming structures. Functional and funky is how I would describe it. Will showed me around, describing how the school turns out about 40 guitar builders twice a year through the curriculum – many who have gone on to rewarding careers at major and minor guitar companies, or found success on their own.
One new graduate is my old Knutsen-loving pal, John Bushouse (John attended last year’s Harp Guitar Gathering). Though the course was over, he was hanging around helping out with repairs. I met another young student, Sean Geiger, who knew of me – turned out he is also a Noble harp guitar owner – one of the several Noble customers I somehow miss hearing about or from.
Will then took me over to their brand new facility 5 minutes away. The current class was over there doing finishing in the new OSHA-certified spray booth. The remainder of the extensive structure was still undergoing remodeling by a slew of guitarist volunteers. They plan to keep both facilities now as the school continues its successful charter. Nice to see them thriving in today’s economy.
We then enjoyed a 2-hour lunch, where William caught me up on some of his recent projects (no new harp guitar in the works, but he’s working on a follow-up Christmas CD with R. Carlos Nakai), and I brought him up to date on the Gatherings and the Foundation, etc.
I headed back only in time to meet up with the AMIS group for social hour and a couple evening events at the museum, then headed back to the airport to pick up Jaci, who would join me for the duration.