Group photo after Mark Hanson's fingerstyle guitar workshop February 7th: Back Row L-R Christian Larsen, Harold Sexton, Valerie Versis, David Thomas, Mark Hanson, Middle Row, Brenda, Dale Collins, Herb Tanimoto, Gary Garot, DR, Kneeling: Gabe Becker, Jim Frank, Robert.
My job is not only to play but to set up a PA system and act as host. Click my Calendar to find the next event at Borders, and relax in their comfy chairs with a specialty drink from Seattle's Best Coffee. Below, Rachel Byrne and JohnCoyle whip up the crowd with two tunes at the First Friday Open Mic April 3rd.
I have been hostingtwo different events atthe Folsom Borders Books and Music since January - the First Friday Open Mic, formerly run by the Nicholson Music Company, and the Sacramento Guitar Society's Classical Guitar Open Mic. Both have been well received by the patrons - after all, it's free! But the talent that has turned out has at times been outstanding. My student Sean O'Connor, already a graduate of the CSUS Guitar program and himself a full time guitar instructor, is one example. Below, he charms the audience with a performance of Francisco Tárrega's Capricho Arabe, one of Tárrega's masterpieces.
Also at the April 3rd Open Mic, "Jared M"
above, and the interesting and talented quartet called Green Audio, below - piano, cello, guitar, hand percussion and vocals.
Mark Hanson is a wonderfully gifted teacher, and it was great to have him return to my place for a workshop February 7th, sharing music from his two latest albums, Love Songs for the Guitar and The Great American Songbook. After about an hour, we took a break for refreshments and visiting, then returned for another hour of work. He performed in concert at David and Lynne Thomas' Shingle Springs Opera House that evening. That kind of intimate concert setting and positive response inspired me to prepare for my concert and workshop February 21st in Novato at Gordon Rowland's GuitarWork. If only I hadn't picked up a cold just before the concert! But it went well.
Lily Afshar put on an amazing concert February 28th advertised in the Winter 2009 Legato, and I contributed sound amplification. If the details interest you, skip down to the bottom of the page for a breakdown of that system.
Above, the "community living room" feeling in the Seattle's Best Coffee at Borders in Folsom, where the audience enjoys a free monthly concert I've been hosting. A PA system ensures all can hear. Below, the a capella group, In Harmony's Way, made its debut at the Borders Open Mic in February and returned in March.
Francesca Anderson and I perform March 15th at the Sacramento Guitar Society's Classical Guitar Open Mic
Lots of live music and teaching filled the last three months. I chose the headline because musicians' lives are generally quite taxing, and we can sometimes lose our momentum from the endless effort. "My get up and go got up and went!" And the headline also comes from 13 years ago - 1996 - from the Foothill College Fine Arts Department (Los Altos Hills, CA) weekly newsletter:
Hard Work Pays Off: Foothill College Guitar Instructor Daniel Roest's South Bay Guitar Society was accepted by the IRS as a tax-exempt nonprofit corporation in December. This culminates a year-long effort for Dan, SBGS President and Artistic Director. "I had to put together a Board of Directors, incorporate in California, and then submit reams of documentation to the IRS," he said.
During the same period, Dan produced thirteen concerts, including the well-attended Antigoni Goni concert at Smithwick Theatre. He also taught guitar and theory at Foothill, performed in two sold-out concerts at Lick Observatory, launched the SBGS website www.sbgs.org, and provided daycare for his young son, Craig.
Despite the hard work, a slice of which you read just now, hard work does pay off - things get done, art happens. Enjoy the glimpses of recent event in this issue of Legato!
David Thomas, who attended Mark Hanson's fingerstyle guitar workshop February 7th, hosted him that evening for a sold out house concert. On March 4th he hosted guitar wizard Stephen Bennett (photo below, right), an expert at three different forms of guitar artistry. He is a past national champion Flat-picker, past 3rd-place champion Fingerstylist, and a recognized master of the Harp Guitar (see photo below). What was super cool was when Stephen invited me to play his 100-year-old harp guitar after the show. The set of bass harp strings is very disorienting! But I have had his Beatles CD in my car's changer since then, and he has made amazing, terrific arrangements of 14 Beatles classics.
Next up is Pete Huttlinger, from Nashville, a top session guitarist and former National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion, April 25th and 26th. Pete is (or was):
- National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion in 2000
- Lead Guitarist for John Denver for over 3 years
- Frequent guitar player for multiple Grammy winner LeAnn Rimes
- A top Nashville session player
- A much-in-demand instructor for various Guitar Camps around the country
- A top-selling author of fingerstyle guitar instructional videos
Pete's visit to this area is sandwiched in between two very prestigious engagements. On April 14, he'll be performing live on the 'Today' show with LeAnn Rimes, and on May 3, he will again be playing with LeAnn for a show at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C.
Let me know if you want to go, and I'll put you in touch with David.
Adventures in the last couple of months included preparing for and performing for five straight hours in a gig with Susan Craig Winsberg, who came up from LA for it. To make a gig like that succeed involves getting all the gear to the site and bringing a LOT of music.
Also taking up a Saturday March 21st was the Arts Resource Faire at CSUS, co-produced by the Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, where teaching artists and people seeking arts education met for workshops and networking.
And Mel Bay's Guitar Sessions webzine has had me writing monthly columns. That eats up plenty of time - but the product includes a ten part series on Expressive Playing and a two part series for teachers on mounting a local concert. Check out the whole list at my Mini-Lessons page.
At the end of March I worked for the South Bay Guitar Society's5th Annual Solo and Ensemble Guitar Festivalin San Jose, judging performances and performing on ten different handmade guitars so the audience could compare them - what a treat.
On Sunday April 19th I hosted a group of classical guitarists and some family members at California State University in Sacramento for a Sacramento Guitar Society meeting. At these convivial events, a typical program would include a welcome, introductions, announcements, an open mic-style program where solo and ensemble music is played, and a bit of time for business. The group from this month is seen below.
The group immediately following our Sacramento Guitar Society meeting at California State University's Capistrano Hall, made available by CSUS instructor Greg Williams. Many wonderful pieces were played. From left, front row, Eric Gluckman, Greg Williams, Ramona Simko, Matthew Grasso. Back row from left, Daniel Roest, Matt Foley, James Vitiello, Eric Rasmussen, Sean O'Connor, Anatoly Yevsyukov, Giacomo Fiore, Michael Harbison, Waylin Carpenter, Brieta Carpenter, Steve Roberts, Daniel Rooney. Not pictured - Michael Threadgall, John Oster and Bill Anderson (Michael Threadgall's grandfather and himself a member of the Sacramento Classical Guitar Society in the mid-'60s). Matt Foley has studied extensively with Matthew Grasso and is now majoring in guitar performance at CSUS under Gyan Riley.
21 Strings on three guitars - left to right, Matthew Grasso, Matt Foley, Eric Rasmussen, performed works arranged by Grasso, who champions the 7-string version of the guitar, composes and arranges classical music for it and plans a third annual celebration of it - on July 7th at 7:07pm. Donation $7. For refreshment: 7-Up.
Seratonin levels were shown to increase in real time during listening to pleasant, but not unpleasant music.
- from my current reading, The World in Six Songs - How the Musical Brain Created Human Nature, by Daniel J. Levitin, author of the New York times bestseller, This Is Your Brain on Music
A new way to amplify
As a tone hound and classical guitarist who amplifies, I came up with this setup for a room that held 95 seats: I had a moment of inspiration when I looked at my teaching studio gear and thought of taking the Bose CD player to the gig instead of my Fender Passport PA. It actually worked well in combination with a Shure condenser recording mic (KSM32), an LR Baggs Para Acoustic DI for my piezo output, and an Alesis mixer with phantom power and a good reverb effect. The DI took care of a good low end and tailored EQ – the best available through my gear. The LR Baggs DI has a great array of tone sculpting options. The Shure recording mic then didn’t have to carry all the volume – just enough to add clarity and definition at the high end. I’ve never seen a Bose Acoustic Wave System home system used to amplify guitar before, but it has plenty of power and dynamic range. After testing everything at home, I took it to the concert.
On February 28th, I brought the Bose, Shure and Alesis to help Lily Afshar's concert for the Polish American Club of Greater Sacramento - sold out - and she was very happy with the sound she got.
The April 19th Program:
1) Greg Williams played "Choro No. 1" by Heitor Villa-Lobos
2) Eric Gluckman played a classical guitar arrangement of the "Super Mario Bros. Theme"
3) Steve Roberts played "Waltz Hispañola" by José Ferrer
4) James Vittiello played Matthew Grasso's arrangement for 7-string guitar of the "Prelude" from the First Cello Suite, by J.S. Bach
5) Greg Williams' student Michael Threadgall played H. Villa-Lobos' "Prelude No. 1"
6) Matthew Grasso, Eric Rasmussen and Matt Foley performed Grasso's original "7th Creation" and Grasso's arrangement of Gabriel Faure's "Pavane"
7) Italian guitarist Giacomo Fiore, currently at the San Francisco Conservatory, played the middle movement of "The Blue Guitar" by Michael Tippet.
8) Michael Harbison played Evan Hirschelman's "Homage to Michael Hedges"
9) Sean O'Connor played "An Malvina" by Johann Kaspar Mertz
10) Anatoly Yevsyokov played "Variations on a Russian Folk Song"
11) Daniel Roest played "Registro" by Antonio Lauro and "Study for Margot" by David Walbert
12) Ramona Simko played "Pavane of the Sleeping Beauty" by Maurice Ravel, arranged for extended 7-string guitar by Matthew Grasso
In my DVD Player:
JAN PEERCE, MARIAN ANDERSON and ANDRÉS SEGOVIA - Historic Film Footage of Three Music Legends - Kultur Films, B/W 60 Minutes
I grew up listening to Marian Anderson and Andrés Segovia, so this DVD is naturally a pick, but you'll like the Segovia segment, filmed in Paris in his prime, with the Eiffel Tower framed in the window behind him. Every sentence he speaks is poetry. And Marian Anderson's story is inspirational. My mother was her friend, and Ms. Anderson kept a picture of my brothers and me on her dresser for years. The DVD is available on Netflix