The lead singer of Canadian rock band The Reason took his performing to a different level at a robotics conference at The Rosseau, in Minett, on Monday, July 9.
Eileen McMahon addressed an audience of engineers, scientists and innovators about how to navigate patent laws. McMahon was one of the keynote speakers at a national robotics conference on Monday, July 9 at the Rosseau Muskoka in Minette.
Photo by Jennifer Bowman
“It’s easy to sing a song on a mic, but it’s hard talking in-between about interesting stuff and trying to keep people engaged,” Adam White said.
White was one of 13 people who presented or performed at the Innovation Nation Conference and Robotics Competition to a crowd of educators, inventors, engineers, surgeons, and others. After 10 years of performing, White said he’s never played at this kind of function before.
“I’m honoured for you guys to have me here today. This is crazy. This is one of the coolest and weirdest things I’ve ever done,” he told the audience.
With a handful of notes he talked to the audience about how his music comes about, treating them to the first performance of a new song Drive Me Home, the first song he’s written on someone else’s experiences rather than his own.
Debra Vivian, director of communications for the Centre for Surgical Invention, said they chose two artists to perform at the convention because there’s a connection between artists and scientists many don’t think about.
There’s so much in common between artists and engineers, the spark of imagination, she said. There’s a kinship, an appreciation between them.
Both speakers following White, one who spoke on the jungle of patenting, the other on the challenges of marketing innovation, noted the rare privilege of following a rock star, while White thanked everyone for the opportunity, hugging the emcee before leaving the stage.
Mehran Anvari, one of the first surgeons in Canada to use robotics in surgery, and the scientific director and CEO of the Centre for Surgical Invention and Innovation, said the arts are part of innovation.
“The conference is designed to showcase innovation and its value to society… not just in the medical field, or engineering or robotic field, but in arts and entertainment,” said Anvari.
White said he didn’t know what to talk about at the event, but decided song writing is very innovative.
He doesn’t record his songs when they first come to him, he waits it out.
“If the song is really good, it’ll come back. If it comes back, maybe you’ll have a guitar in your hand and be hanging out with your buddies,” he said.
White puts all of his songs to the campfire test, which he did both nights he was staying at The Rosseau during the conference.
“Whatever you do to that song, if you can’t take it back to just a voice and a guitar in like a campfire setting, then, I don’t know, I think the song loses something if you can’t just hear it being sung,” he said.
Other than the conference, he’s taking the summer off from performing; he expects to be doing a lot of touring once the group’s new CD is released in the fall.
White’s first recording was by his grandma, who said he was always making up his own songs.
“I wouldn’t like the song happy birthday, I hate that song, so I would make up my own birthday song to sing on people’s birthdays and things like that,” he said.
He’s considering going to similar events to the robotics conference in the future.
“I think the first one’s the hardest, so maybe I’d be into doing stuff like this more often,” he said.
Other speakers at the conference included Canadian astronaut David Saint-Jacques who connected through video conference to speak on engineering and medicine, David Caddey addressed innovations used in space which are also being used in health care, Doron Kopelman spoke on innovations and the culture of innovation in Israel and many others.
The conference was followed by a robotics competition with high schools and post-secondary schools from across Ontario competing.