April Long

April Long, Director of Operations, joined our team almost exactly one year before our giant “Austin Goes Classical” weeklong hosting of the Guitar Foundation of America at the Long Center.  She was instantly indispensable in that enormous project, while helping us manage and expand our normal operations, and has since become a member of our core team not only responsible for so much of what allows us to function from one day to the next, but also serving as a key visionary and our operational nerve center.

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I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I started working at the Austin Classical Guitar Society three and a half years ago.  I am not a musician, and my education was not in arts administration.  Before interviewing at ACGS, a friend told me, “The people who work there are awesome.  You’re going to love it!”  Indeed, the people I work with here every day are amazing, the work they do in the community is inspiring, and I do, in fact, “love it!”  What I did not know about, and what I continue to be amazed by, is the broader community of people that I am lucky enough to interact with on a daily basis.

This community includes the nearly 100 volunteers who spend countless hours making our events happen and helping at our office—folks like Lloyd Pond, who has come in one full day each week for more than six years to repair guitars for our school programs and to help with any and all tasks that need doing.  It includes board members who share with us their resources, a love of guitar, and belief in our community-transforming work.  It includes students and their families, who tell me about how inspiring our classical guitar programs have been for their children.  It includes patrons from across Austin who share pieces of their lives with me as they make a ticket purchase or a donation over the phone.  It is a privilege to meet all of these people through my work at ACGS, and I feel honored when they share their stories with me.

What I have come to realize in my time at ACGS is that what we do is, of course, about classical guitar, but even more importantly, what we do is about building community through classical guitar.  What happens through ACGS is something that people everywhere are seeking—connection.  ACGS is a place where stories get shared, and heard, and this is, for me, one of the most important things we do.

View our thirteenth Changing Lives story, Matthew Hinsley, here.