Greg Wight traded in his tool and die career for the life of a teacher, entrepreneur, and musician – and his town is going to benefit.
Greg hosts Harbour Sessions Live, a concert series in Port Stanley that brings together both local and international musicians. So far there have been two concerts, one in July at the Port Stanley Legion and one in October at the Port Stanley United Church. Greg brings in talent like Jenny Biddle, Deni Gauthier, Tiz McNamara, Pat Maloney, and The Pairs, charging $20 in advance for a night of live entertainment with multiple artists.
How did a former machinist get involved in the music scene? It began with a change in life direction after realizing his career wasn’t bringing fulfillment. “I could have done my job for the next 40 years. I had everything I wanted – the house, the boat, the truck, you name it. I had lots of holidays, benefits… but I wasn’t happy.”
It wasn’t long before a new direction presented itself. “I had always done woodworking, I played a little bit of guitar and one day I was just looking at my guitar wondering, ‘How are these things made and who’s making them?'” Two years of research later, Greg sold everything to move to Australia and take a luthiers course with Master Luthier Chris Wynne. After finding success learning how to build guitars – eventually helping Chris teach courses in Italy and Melbourne – and backpacking in Australia, Greg came back home to Canada and settled in Port Stanley.
Unwilling to give up his newfound passion, Greg started Harbour Guitars – School of Acoustic Guitar Building in 2015 and now works full time in it. He currently has six students in the process of building their own custom guitars.
He decided to start hosting concerts because he loves how it aligns with his current work. “It’s kind of the full connection for me. You go through this lengthy process of putting all this love and blood, sweat, and tears into building these instruments, and what better way to complete the process than connecting with the artist that actually makes love with the instrument.”
Greg’s motivation to host concerts in Port Stanley is much bigger than himself, however. “The idea, ultimately, is to bring the music back to Port Stanley, and to bring awareness to Port Stanley.”
The town has a rich history of music, with its dance hall the Stork Club (operating 1926–1979) attracting some of the biggest bands of the time and crowds of several thousand plus people. Some musicians to play at the Stork Club were Count Basie, Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, and Guy Lombardo.
Harbour Sessions is just the beginning of Greg’s vision for Port Stanley’s music scene. He wants to grow the concerts so that they can become more regular and also work with the artists to create a series of private jam sessions, similar to the popular Mahogany Sessions on YouTube. He is already planning the next Harbour Session concert.
You can learn more about Greg’s work on his website, harbourguitars.com.