WESTVILLE - Learning guitar from Jake Carrigan meant playing at your own pace.
A benefit on Nov. 16 serves as a way to remember Jake Carrigan, a Westville guitar teacher, and help his family with expenses incurred during his battle with cancer. Carrigan passed on Oct. 3.
He was a patient man. He wouldn’t harp on his students if they couldn’t catch onto a chord quickly.
“He wouldn’t teach group lessons,” his wife, Faye, said. “He taught individuals so they would learn and concentrate. They loved their lessons. They even came early.”
The 71-year-old music teacher, of more than 300 students, passed away Oct. 3 from cancer.
Crystal Lynch had been organizing a benefit for him while he was sick. When he succumbed to illness, she wasn’t sure if his family would still want her to hold it.
As it turns out, they did, and the benefit scheduled for Nov. 16 turned into a celebration of his life for his friends, family, former students and ex-band mates.
Lynch started studying with Carrigan in 1990 when she was in high school.
“Music was his passion and he made it his life,” Lynch said about the soft-spoken man.
Lynch didn’t take up guitar professionally, but the lessons still remain an important part of her life.
The 35-year-old hairdresser from Westville looked at Carrigan as a father figure.
“He was a big man, a big teddy bear.”
Lynch said she wasn’t part of the ‘in’ crowd in high school. Learning guitar from Carrigan helped build her self-esteem and showed her to go after her dreams.
“He made you feel at home.”
They hadn’t remained as close as Lynch may have liked because life got in the way. However, when she heard he was sick, she wanted to help.
Bills were piling up for Jake’s family, in part due to costs from travelling to Halifax and back for tests and treatment.
“Why can’t I do a benefit?” Lynch remembers thinking to herself.
One day when she went to visit Jake in the hospital, she told him she was going to do just that. Faye was surprised. She said many had made mention of helping, but no one took the initiative.
Carrigan took sick with cancer three years ago. He had an operation on his right kidney two years ago.
When he went back for a check up two months, the cancer had moved to four different places.
He took chemotherapy and eventually, he was able to come home for a day.
He was “all smiles” when he left the hospital, Faye said, and it was exactly what he needed to leave peacefully.
“He relaxed once he got home.”
Carrigan was a welder at Hawker Siddeley Ltd. in Trenton until he retired. Teaching guitar was a side business for him.
Music had always been a part of his life. He self-taught himself when he was a young teenager, picking up the musical gene from his uncle and father.
He played many instruments, but guitar was his main love.
Over the years, he went from band to band, playing old-time, rock, flamenco and country.
Faye hopes to see his old band mates, friends and relatives come out for the dance at the Westville Legion.
It starts at 8 p.m. with an open mic for any of his friends and former students to come up and play.
There will be a DJ after 10 p.m. as well as a silent auction throughout the evening.
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