Teaching guitar was enjoyable and I looked forward to my evenings at the Mediterranean Shop, as well as those nights when I gave beginner's folk accompaniment at the YMCA in downtown Vancouver. Before leaving for Spain, Bill Lewis had suggested I take classes in advanced theory and harmony from a retired European university music professor friend of his who lived in east Vancouver, so that was added to my agenda. Those hours were good for me, as they nurtured the spaces inside that needed filling. I loved to study so it was rewarding to have a new challenge.
On evenings when there was a lull in lessons at the shop, some of us would go a few doors up the street for a quick Chinese dinner at The Varsity Grill, where generous quantities of the best Chinese food in memory could be bought by hungry students at a weekly or monthly rate. It was owned and run by Bing, a friendly oriental man with an incredible memory for names and faces. Together with family members he operated one of the first home delivery services, which I made use of many times.
Here are some of the people who were active in and around the Mediterranean Shop or in the guitar circle at that time:
Photo by Victor Smith
Mike started working on guitar repairs for George Bowden during the time Bill Lewis was in Spain. He played flamenco guitar and was an admirer of the gypsy-jazz style of Django Reinhardt. A familiar face around the shop, Mike was also present at some of the gatherings and guitar socials in the old house on west 27th Ave.
After Bill Lewis returned from the guitar factory in Mallorca, Mike went over to Spain for a couple of years to study the methods of guitar construction from the Spanish luthiers Jose Orti and Jose Ferrer in George Bowden's factory. Upon returning to Vancouver he worked together with Ray Nurse to build lutes and with Edward Turner to build harpsichords.
More is written about Mike Dunn on this link.
Mike has been making music in a band, lecturing and building custom art guitars in his Vancouver workshop. He is recognized as one of Canada's top instrument builders and one of the world’s leading luthiers in the Maccaferri and Selmer style.
Here is another link from Michael with photos of guitars he has made. And yet another link from the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
Ray Nurse was another highly talented performer and luthier who was present in the days of The Mediterranean Shop, working with George Bowden and Mike Dunn.
The following text from article by The Lute Society of America:
He has performed throughout North America, Europe and Asia, and appeared on many broadcasts and recordings. His research has led him to museums and libraries around the world and he is in constant demand as a teacher at workshops. A versatile performing musician, instrument maker and researcher in historical music, Nurse was a founding member of Early Music Vancouver, The New World Consort, the Vancouver Chamber Choir and Pacific Baroque Orchestra.
He originally studied voice and musicology at the Department of Music at the University of British Columbia and in 1972 he won the Vancouver Met auditions. During the 1970s he took a break from singing to pursue other interests, studying lute performance and lute-making. Since the 1980s he has concentrated on early music performance and research, with special interest in early singing and opera, and directing The New World Consort (1982-1989), which toured extensively in Europe and North America.
He currently co-directs the Baroque Vocal Programme in the Vancouver Early Music Programme at U.B.C., coaches early music for the U.B.C. Dept of Music, is professionally active as a lutenist, accompanist, and continuo player, and continues to build instruments for selected customers.
More about Ray Nurse on this link.
Continue on to Chapter 16...... Vancouver Flashback IV - Robert C. Jordan & Barry Hall
Go back to Chapter 14......Vancouver Flashback II - My Students & Edward R. Turner