VIDEO: Bon Jovi guitarist Phil X honours memory of young Mississauga woman by playing her guitar in concert.



The custom-designed instrument belonged to 25-year-old Mississauga resident Kara Shred, who died suddenly in September.

When Bon Jovi guitarist Phil X played his solo at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night, he made a dozen people cry.

That’s because the 12 were the only ones to understand the significance of the guitar in his hands.




The semi-hollow electric guitar, with three star-shaped ports, was custom-designed by Mississauga resident Kara Shred, who died suddenly Sept 19.

Kristi Vilmansen-Shred, mother of the 25-year-old’s graphic designer and hobby musician, found her daughter’s body when she went to wake her for work.

“We were told it was probably a congenital heart problem we didn’t know about,” Vilmansen-Shred says. “It’s been staggering.”

Kara was relentlessly happy. “Just so artistic, creative, crazy and fun,” Vilmansen-Shred says. “She’d get so excited about different things and she just wouldn’t stop.”

Larry Shred, left, and Kristi Vilmansen, right, with their daughter Kara's custom guitar at The Guitar World. The parents donated their daughter's beloved instrument so anyone who wished to play it could do so. zoom

Trying to find some solace, shortly after Kara’s death the family gifted her beloved creation to The Guitar World in Mississauga, asking store owner and family friend Jim Toris to allow anyone who asked to play the instrument.

The gesture was meant to honour the young woman’s love of music. Kara started playing piano at age 5 and picked up guitars after entering high school. Guitar playing was a special connection she shared with her father, Larry Shred, who had split from Vilmansen-Shred when Kara was 2. Kara had four guitars and the family didn’t want them to gather dust — especially that one.

“It is such a beautiful, unique kind of custom piece that has so much of Kara in it, we want it to be played by lots and lots of people,” Vilmansen-Shred says.

So they brought it to The Guitar World. Toris created a display, The Journey of Kara’s Guitar, and started a photo album on The Guitar World’s Facebook page, posting pictures of customers playing the instrument.

Enter rock star Phil Xenidis, known as Phil X, who recently replaced Richie Sambora as the guitarist with Bon Jovi.

 

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