By Alex MacIsaac
Second Year Journalism and Communications student and intern with Holland College Marketing and Communications
In September of 2019, Jose Mejia got off stage at midnight in Charlotte, North Carolina, after his band’s last show on tour. He packed his things, said bye to his friends and drove off.
School started in three days, 2,000 kilometres away.
After several days on the road, and nights sleeping in his car, Mejia arrived in Charlottetown, a few hours before his first class.
Almost two years later, the 29-year-old Music Performance student at Holland College is getting ready for another show. He and other music students from the Music Performance program will take the stage at the Trailside Music Hall in Charlottetown, on March 22 at 8 p.m.
“We have people from all over and the set is really going to portray that. There’ll be music from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. and even right here in P.E.I.,” Mejia said. “Since we want to portray a lot of music, I’m going to be wearing a lot of hats at the Trailside. I'm going to play guitar, percussion, which I grew up playing in a Cuban band, and slide guitar.”
Mejia, who is from Columbia, moved to London, Ontario at age seven, and since graduating from high school he has lived all over Canada - washing windows in the summer and traveling all winter.
“In my travels, I started listening to American roots music because I spent a lot of time in the States,”
Then he found bluegrass and started playing guitar in that style.
“I was quite enamoured with a guitar player from Asheville and he was teaching a bluegrass camp in B.C.”
The only class with space available was advanced slide guitar, an instrument Mejia had never played.
“On June 13th I bought my first slide guitar and I challenged myself to be ready for the advanced class in August,
“For two months I played three hours a day, that really made me fall in love with the instrument. I’ve never looked back.”
Months later, Mejia contacted the man who taught the class, asking if he could come visit him in Asheville, North Carolina to learn.
“For the next four years I spent a lot of months down there and I just became part of the family.”
Mejia decided he wanted to go to school for the slide guitar.
“I started looking around at schools that would let me take slide guitar as my main instrument, but no school really offers that. Then I landed on Holland College.
On a cold day in Montreal, Mejia called Liam Corcoran, the program manager of Holland College’s School of Performing Arts.
“He was super open minded and said sure, just send in your audition and do your theory exam.”
On March 22 at the Trailside, Corcoran and Mejia will share the stage.
“Jose and I have found a shared love of Tom Waits, so the band invited me up to do a cover,” Corcoran said.
If you’d like to buy tickets, visit the Trailside online at trailside.ca or at the box office at Back Alley Music, 275 Queen St. in Charlottetown.
For more information, please contact:
Sara Underwood, Media and Communications Officer
Date: March 19, 2021