Williams Lake son and now internationally acclaimed acoustic guitarist Don Alder was recently presented with the Brand Laureate Award.
“I’m totally honoured about getting the award,” Alder said in an e-mail conversation with the Tribune Tuesday explaining the award.
Alder is the second Canadian to receive the prestigious Brand Laureate International Brand Personality Award as a world-leading finger-style guitarist and for his significant contributions to the lives of people around the world.
The Brand Laureate Award is a distinctive award from the Pacific Asia Brands Foundation in Malaysia which is endorsed by many dignitaries including the King of Malaysia.
Alder says the Brand Laureate award is presented to individuals who have contributed significantly to the lives of people around the world through their areas of expertise.
Past recipients include Nelson Mandela, Hillary Clinton, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Canadian Astronaut, Chris Hatfield.
Some of the renowned musicians to receive the award include Deep Purple, Kenny G. Earth WInd and Fire and Chaka Khan.
Alder is the second Canadian to win the award after astronaut Chris Hatfield who received the distinction on March 27, 2013 for his achievements “a world-leading finger-style guitarist” along with his crucial role “as a global ambassador for its practice.”
Alder believes part of the reason he received the award, in addition to his music, is for his work to help people.
“Most of my adult life has been in the service of others to help make a difference in the lives of others, at first with Rick Hansen, then with the Paralympic Team as the equipment manager in 1996 and then in 2000, then with Sam Sullivan as part of the Vancouver Adapted Music Society.”
In 2012, Alder says there was a restructuring at the Rick Hansen Foundation which allowed him to blaze forward as a musician and to use music to continue making a difference in people’s lives.
“Fortunately my guitar travels have taken me to many countries where I try to inspire younger and older players and share whatever I can with them,” Alder says.
“So I believe having notoriety around the world as an acoustic guitarist along with the lessons I’ve learned about giving back to the community from my previous relationships helped me get this award.
“They have a lengthy process to get this award. I’m guessing they heard I was going to be in Malaysia about a year ago so they started the process to see if I was an eligible candidate.”
However, Alder says he knew nothing about the award until the day of presentation.
“This only goes to show you once again that anyone can be a recipient for this type of award regardless if you come from a small town like Williams Lake or mega city like Toronto,” Alder says.
Alder says he will be on a two-week concert tour in the UK in July and a two-week tour up the west coast of USA in August.
Alder says he has lots of new material for three CDs and hopes to complete a new CD by the end of the year. He is also hoping to have a concert in Williams Lake this year if he can find a promoter for the concert.