At the start of 2020, Spencer Hargreaves was looking for inspiration and "a new life."
A Terry Fox Secondary 2007 grad, who had found his groove in the Port Coquitlam school's Rock School program under Juno award-winning teacher Steve Sainas, Hargreaves had wrapped up a SOCAN-funded songwriting residency in Finland and had just settled in Berlin, where he was about to start a gig as an English and music teacher, when he got news from his German employer: Go home; the work is gone.
The COVID-19 pandemic had shut down the world and Hargreaves returned to his mother's Coquitlam home to wait, like everyone, for everything to get back to normal.
He looked around his studio and started to organize. He signed up for vocal lessons. He collected his notes about teaching music and compiled a curriculum called Tree of Music.
And he immersed himself in self-help therapy, hoping to untangle years of thoughts and emotions about growing up in a home with tension, being bullied at school and longing for connection and community again like he and his friends experienced at Rock School.
On one of the wall's of his updated studio, he pinned two images of Port Coquitlam's hometown hero, Terry Fox, a symbol representing perseverance and Canadian strength.
At high school, he said, the students are reminded each day about Fox's determination.
With that in mind, Hargreaves — a former guitar teacher at Long & McQuade Music in Port Coquitlam — rebranded himself professionally as "Terry Maple" and opened up his space, Maple Trail Studios, to accept guitar students and songwriters wanting to record.
To further express his individuality, he hung 22 guitars on another studio wall, some that he inherited from his late step-father and from the late dad of his friend, Noah Jordan.
Having the instruments displayed remind him of his journey and dedication to his craft; he’s hoping students who may also be feeling disconnected will find creativity as he did.
"I feel like I'm still on a path of self-discovery," he said.
"I'm trying to be authentic. I'm coming from a very real place. I think many people are also trying to figure things out."
Still, his goal with teaching and engineering music at Maple Trail Studios is not only to help students with their artistic pursuits, but also to pay forward the lessons he and his friends found in the Rock School program under Sainas: Be intentional and set goals.
Last week, he finished his first song as Terry Maple, which he hopes to release on an album next year.
"I am now happy to see that my good friend, Spencer, is re-launching his exciting music career under his new brand, Terry Maple — both as a performing singer/songwriter and music educator," Sainas said.
"I wish him all the best for continued success."