The Guitar

It was about 1990, and Mark and his wife Brenda were saving money to build a life for their new family after the birth of their first daughter. He was a high school band teacher, dedicating his life to teaching and music and family - and grappling with what to make of his recent Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. Then one day he walked into a pawn shop in Grant's Pass, Oregon, saw a beautiful 1969 Martin D35 guitar on the wall, and the rest was history.

I know I don’t have the best guitar in the world (I love it, but there are other great guitars out there, too). All these artists have great guitars.

But it’s a good one, it’s a fine old Martin.
— Mark

A trade of two (well loved) guitars, an amplifier,  and $500 dollars later, the Martin was family. Forged from one of the last harvests of Brazilian rosewood, the guitar looked as lovely as it sounded and joined Mark on a journey to share music and community with all who were lucky to meet them. From camping trips on the Oregon coast to Swiss elementary schools and beloved grandparents' funerals, the pair spread melodic joy wherever they ventured.

In addition to harmonies, the years that followed also brought progressive MS, and Mark can no longer strum his fine acoustic guitar. With an artistic curiosity to create a compilation album threaded together by a single instrument, and a drive yet again to help fund MS research, a project was born to collaborate with fellow musicians and take the guitar on tour.

We hope you'll join in.

(read more about the project here.)

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