How I find balance — March 2016

Franco Alfieri’s extensive collection of guitars keeps him entertained when work gets tense.

Franco Alfieri, 45, Montreal

I’ve been playing guitar since I was 12 years old and it was always one of my dreams to have a nice little collection. For the longest time, I had two or three guitars, including my Fender Strat [Stratocaster], which I’ve had for 22 years, and one I had custom-built when I was 17 — Mauro Liberatore, who used to design and build guitars for musicians such as Howard Leese of Heart and Aldo Nova, made it for me. Finally, I decided if I could get some good deals, I would. Now, I have electrics, acoustics and a nice resonator (an acoustic guitar with a metal cone that acts as an amplifier). My friend Corey Diabo, who plays guitar for Jonas & The Massive Attraction, was kind enough to fix them up a bit.

My favourite guitar? It depends on my mood. If I play a Strat, I tend to be more bluesy; if I feel like playing a 12-string, I tend to be more like Supertramp. This collection keeps me entertained when work gets really tense. I admire anyone who makes the sacrifice to focus on art, but for me, family comes first, and music is something that’s part of me.

Besides the guitar, one of my earlier passions was going for long bike rides. I hadn’t ridden in 20 years when I saw an advertisement for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. Cancer runs in my family, and the event benefited a hospital we care about, so I bought a bike through Kijiji for $130 and started going for rides. I registered and, mostly thanks to generous donors, raised close to $3,700. It was a two-day ride, totalling 230 km, from the outskirts of Montreal to a suburb of Quebec City. I enjoyed the experience immensely and it was a great way for me to get back something I had let go for so long.