Notes from Nepal

Guitar Foundation Nepal is made possible thanks to a generous sustaining gift from Rick Reeder at Layer 3 Real Estate, who shares our belief that music can do good in the world. We’re so grateful for our many opportunities to work with teachers near and far who bring their passion into the classroom every day. If you’d like to join Rick and many others as an ACG sustaining donor, click here! Thanks to all our friends who make our programs possible.

 

We received something beautiful from Nepal this morning.

Ravindra is an EMS professional in Kathmandu. For five years his dream has been to work with ACG to create guitar classes for his community. While the pandemic slowed progress, it has been an incredible joy to work beside him as Ravindra has done the hard work to begin his program. He is now President of the newly formed Guitar Foundation Nepal, he’s got a space to teach, and classes began in March.

Today he wrote, “I am teaching ACG’s curriculum to our students at no cost thanks to our partnership. I believe music can be used for social welfare, and I believe this aligns with your vision at ACG.”

Ravindra sent us a video of one of his new classes! They’re playing Kasaya, by our Education Director Travis Marcum. “Kasaya is like a meditation in music with many dimensions,” Ravindra wrote. “It drew our attention immediately. The students were immersed right away. I honestly did not have to teach very much, because of their admiration for the music and the composer. It’s wonderful seeing their confidence build so quickly. When we play it, we don’t want the music to stop.”

Listen to them play here:


PLAY Finale: A Chat with Matthew Lyons

Join us this Wednesday, April 12 at Soundspace at Captain Quackenbush or Thursday, April 13 at The Rosette for a charming concert dedicated to Home as our PLAY series finale. Matthew Lyons and Stephen Krishnan come together as the MoonTower Duo with James Tabata to bring us new and original works of music that represent life, our home, and our community in its present form. Learn more and find tickets here

 

This week we had the chance to connect with a very special friend of ACG and a member of the MoonTower Duo, Matthew Lyons. 

Matthew’s journey with ACG started when he was 11 years old, performing at a student recital. He shared, 

“I remember messing up the end of whatever study I had poorly prepared and compensating for it by ending the piece with an AC/DC lick (and the look of bemusement on Matt Hinsley’s face afterwards). In the 20 years since then, I’ve grown to see ACG as an artistic home and supportive community. I’ve attended countless performances, arranged and composed works for numerous projects, and grown as a musician thanks to the educational and creative opportunities provided by ACG”

Not only is Matthew a beautiful guitar player, he also is a very talented composer! He finds inspiration in bringing joy to his listeners through his music the same way music brings joy to him. 

“I’m obsessed with colorful harmonies, infectious grooves, direct melodies, and the ways in which these elements can interact to stage an emotional journey for the listener. I view performing – especially performing my own music – as attempting to create a space in which an audience can feel connected through their shared experience of (hopefully) enjoying the music.”

Matthew first collaborated with his duo partner, Stephen Krishnan, for the first time in 2019 when Stephen performed a guitar concerto Matthew dedicated to him. Three years later, they reconnected to play duos they had written! Matthew shared,

“I love working with Stephen because he’s an incredibly flexible musician who’s down to experiment to discover new things about the music we play.”

The MoonTower Duo’s upcoming performance as part of our PLAY series finale promises variety. They will stretch the boundaries of what a classical guitar can be, playing a range of styles from delicate jazz waltzes to belligerent Tom Waits-inspired musical thrashings. Their music will showcase different sounds from the soft twinkling of guitar harmonics to resonant depth of the upright bass played by James Tabata!  

“We love stretching the notion of what a classical guitar concert can be, as the music we play is largely written by us or by musicians who aren’t part of the canon.”


ACG Originals: We've Always Known, Song Descriptions

For the last eight years, ACG Music & Healing has built beautiful connections in our community. This special initiative pairs songwriters with individuals experiencing profound challenges to use music as a pathway for connection and self-expression in creating original songs that give voice to their hopes, fears, and dreams. WE’VE ALWAYS KNOWN brings together four amazing singer/songwriters to re-interpret, re-visit and share some of these extraordinary pieces of music. Featuring guitarist Claire Puckett, violinist Camille Schiess, multi-instrumentalist Daniel Fears, and Music & Healing Director and guitarist Travis Marcum. Join us for this unforgettable evening on March 25-26. Find tickets here.

Below are the song descriptions for this concerts program.

 

In the Garden Green 

By Meg with Travis Marcum & Amelia DeVivo

In the Garden Green was written as a part of Lullaby Project in Spring 2019 by Meg for her son Garner. As she thought about meeting her baby for the first time, Meg used the familiar image of a garden as a symbol of growth and peace through the joy and challenges of life. Meg, her husband Tom and their now two little ones Garner and Cora are long time friends of Travis and Amelia. In the Garden Green was written together in friendship and support of the beautiful life ahead for their family. You can listen to the song here.

 

I am Strong

By L. with Claire Puckett

Community Partner: Red Oak Hope

I am Strong was written by L. in Summer of 2022 in collaboration with ACG community Partner Red Oak Hope. Red Oak Hope is a world-wide organization based out of Austin serving women who are victims of trafficking and exploitation. L. and Claire Puckett wrote a truly powerful song about perseverance in the face of doubt and adversity. You can hear L. singing I am Strong here

 

Beauty in My Pain

By Lexi with Daniel Fears

Community Partner: Texas Oncology

Beauty in My Pain was written in early 2023 by Lexi. During their time together, she and Daniel spent hours talking about hopes and fears, challenges and joys of life. Daniel describes Lexi as a truly gifted storyteller. Lexi wrote every lyric, creating a beautiful statement of faith and togetherness through the toughest of times. You can listen to the original song here

 

Miles to Go

By Christina with Travis Marcum & Claire Puckett

Community Partner: Livestrong Cancer Institutes 

Miles to Go was written in Fall of 2018 by Christina with Travis and Claire. Christina was a transcendent force for good and helped shape ACG’s Music and Healing Program with her guidance in piloting our first songwriting collaboration with community members undergoing cancer treatment. Christina wrote a vivid and honest piece about her experience with diagnosis and treatment. An accomplished seamstress and quilter, she used the imagery of patchwork and sewing to describe her familiarity with the “weight” and “wait” of this illness. She illuminated a powerful journey. Christina and her song forever changed ACG and the way that we connect with others. You can hear Miles to Go here

 

Meraki Lullaby

By Holly with Arnold Yzaguirre

Community Partner: Any Baby Can

Meraki Lullaby was written in late Summer 2018 as a part of Lullaby Project by Holly in partnership with local organization Any Baby Can. Holly chose this word Meraki meaning “essence of ourselves” to describe the feelings she had in anticipation of her baby coming into this world. Holly is a beautiful vocalist. She is full of joy and we at ACG are so grateful for her contribution. You can hear Holly and Arnold’s recording of Meraki Lullaby here

 

Don’t Wake Me

By D. with Claire Puckett and Travis Marcum

Community Partner: Red Oak Hope

Don’t Wake Me was written in Summer of 2020 by D. She created a truly imaginative and compelling vision of serenity in the face of a harsh and sharp world. D. took our Music and Healing Artists along on her journey to build an honest, whimsical portrait of transition through darkness. You can listen to Don’t Wake Me here

 

My Baby Princess

By Trimonisha with Joey Delahoussaye  

Community Partner: Travis Co. Correctional Complex

My Baby Princess was written by Trimonisha as a part of Lullaby Project in Spring of 2016 at Travis Co. Correctional Complex. Joey, ACG Music and Healing Artist would visit the facility, meeting with Trimonisha and transforming her stories, hopes and regrets into a love song for her daughter. Joey wrote: 

“When I met Trimonisha one of the first things she told me was that she and her six year old daughter Miracle had a tradition of lighting candles, drawing a bubble bath and putting on their “relaxation music”.  She let me into her world and allowed me to help her turn tears, joy and most of all her truth into a song that she and Miracle might one day listen to at their next bubble bath reunion. 

Trimonisha, thank you for putting your trust in me, someone that you didn’t really have a reason to trust. I hope you can take the bright spirit you showed to me and continue living it out in a world that hasn’t always been good to you.”

You can listen to My Baby Princess here

 

I Can Do This

By Dolly and Kourosh with Shayna Sands and Travis Marcum

Community Partner: Texas Oncology

I Can Do This was written by Dolly and Kourosh in late 2021 with Music and Healing Artist and austin singer-songwriter Shayna Sands. Dolly and her husband wanted to create a joyful and honest song of their long experience with cancer diagnosis, treatment, and the lessons learned along this journey. Inspired by Texas country acts like Robert Earl Keen, this song highlights the love between two people, the challenges inherent in their journey, and the gratitude and jubilation that is part of all life. The title for our concert “We’ve Always Known” comes from a line in this song. Dolly’s song tells us that the beauty of life and death is happening all around us and we’ve always known that it’s our connection to others that is the most important. You can see Shayna performing this song live here

 

Life

By Marcelina with Travis Marcum 

Community Partner: Lifeworks

Simply titled Life, Marcelina wrote this lullaby to her daughter in Fall of 2019 in partnership with Austin community organization LifeWorks. With a deep message of hope for her baby, Marcelina is a strong, patient young mother who wanted to impart two things to her child through the lullaby process. One, she wanted her daughter to know that life is long and sometimes hard, but if you pay attention, it is beautiful. And two, she wanted her daughter to know that the two of them are connected in every way… forever. You can hear Marcelina singing her lullaby here

 

I Keep You Strong

By Davis with Travis Marcum and Amelia DeVivo

Community Partner: Annunciation Maternity Home

Written in Summer of 2015, Davis’ lullaby called I Keep You Strong conveys a beautiful message of solidarity and common purpose for mother and child. Davis wanted to express her belief that, as mother and son, the two of them will build each other up in times of hardship and for him to know that she will always be there for him. You can listen to I Keep You Strong here.

 

Felix’s Lullaby

By Felix with Arnold Yzaguirre and Claudia Chapa

Community Partner: Travis Co. Correctional Complex

Felix’s Lullaby is a statement of hope for a better future. Arnold worked with her TCCC to craft a message to her four children that expresses the most important sentiment… I love you now and forever. It is a soft descent into a peaceful place, a better tomorrow. You can listen to Felix’s Lullaby here.


From Matt Hinsley: The Space Music Creates

Throughout the month of March we will be shining a light on ACG Music & Healing. On March 25-26, we will present a concert of some of the most memorable songs created by Music & Healing artists and participants over the years. The concert is called We’ve Always Known, and we’ve never done anything like it. We hope you’ll join us! Learn more about ACG Music & Healing here.

 

In 2014 we were talking with Carnegie Hall. Our work each day in Austin’s Juvenile Justice Center was unique in America – it still is – and they wanted to know more. In the course of our conversations, they mentioned a new pilot they’d started, called Lullaby Project, and they invited us to become one of their first national partners. 

Caseworkers had approached Carnegie Hall for help with a problem. 

New and expecting mothers in two New York maternity shelters and at Rikers Island were facing high levels of stress and anxiety due to trauma and isolation, and it was having negative health outcomes for both mother and baby. The acute medical care and other treatments available in the facilities did not seem to be reaching the social and emotional levels that the caseworkers believed were critical factors.

Could music help?

Carnegie Hall came up with a simple and brilliant idea: pair highly-skilled, empathic, teaching musicians with each mom to visit, talk through hopes, dreams, and fears, write out feelings and letters to loved ones, distill those thoughts into lyrics for a song, compose, perform, and record that song, and then share and celebrate it with others. The results had been amazing. Not only were beautiful songs being written, the act of expressive creation itself had become a powerful medium for human connection, bridging isolation, meeting trauma with listening, and developing new narratives for the future.

We’ve been doing this work through ACG Music & Healing ever since, and it’s changed us.

We learned quickly that the space music creates is profound and unusual. Two people who don’t know each other can meet and connect deeply in the context of creation and expression. The music itself is a kind of emotional sandbox we can play in together, develop friendship, and create and experience beauty in a way that’s beyond words.

Over time we realized the same thing is happening in our education programs. Thousands of young people across our community are coming together each day to learn and make beautiful music and in those special moments are opportunities for belonging and kindness to nurture responsibility and perseverance. We realized it’s what we do in our community ensembles, in our concerts, and in our work together as volunteers and staff members.

I’m sharing this with you today for a couple of reasons. 

The first is at the end of this month we’re presenting We’ve Always Known at The Rosette, our first concert featuring songs composed in the course of our Music & Healing work. Please come! 

Second is that we’re in the midst of a March fund drive to support this work. We’ll invest over $800,000 this year in education and healing, most of which goes to artists in our community. A shift in government funding priorities has meant the loss of about $150,000 for ACG this year. To help bridge that gap we need help. Our board member Shannon Belcher made a matching pledge of $10,000 in honor of her parents which friends like you have helped us to meet. Inspired by Shannon, another amazing board member, Carson McKowen, has added an additional $10,000 in honor of his mother who recently passed away. Thank you Shannon, thank you Carson, and thanks to everyone who has contributed so far. 

If this is work you might like to support, I’ll place a link to donate below.

Thank you so much for your support, and for your belief in the power of music to do good in the world.

Matt Hinsley

ACG Music & Healing March Fund Drive


We've Always Known: About Our Music & Healing Artists

Throughout the month of March we will be shining a light on ACG Music & Healing. On March 25-26, we will present a concert of some of the most memorable songs created by Music & Healing artists and participants over the years. The concert is called We’ve Always Known, and we’ve never done anything like it. We hope you’ll join us! Learn more about ACG Music & Healing here

 

We are so excited to share ten stories and songs from our Music & Healing program in concert for the first time ever in a program called on We’ve Always Known March 25-26.

The concert will feature local superstars, Claire Puckett, Camille Sheiss, Daniel Fears, and our very own Travis Marcum. 

We wanted to take a moment to dive a little bit into the amazing things these artists do not only for ACG, but in their personal lives as part of the music community in Austin, TX. 

 

Claire Puckett was one of our first students in our Education programs here at ACG, just down the road at McCallum High School! We’ve been connected for many years now and we are continuously so blown away by everything she accomplishes as a musician and artist. 

Claire is a member of the chamber-rock band Mother Falcon – a collective of more than twenty musicians playing strings, horns, guitars, and percussion – as well as the band Hikes

Check out this incredible Tiny Desk performance by Mother Falcon:

https://youtu.be/JaoUMbHvsc0?t=513

 

Camille Sheiss is a very talented violinist, caring teacher, and a member of Magnolia Kids and American Dreamer

Their sounds fit in the space between indie, bedroom pop, jazz, and R&B. They found their sound by blending their classical, soul, and folk origins and being playful in their expression. 

Listen to Magnolia Kids here:

https://youtu.be/6zEyHsA0XhY

 

Singer-songwriter Daniel Fears graduated from the University of Texas and went on to get a masters degree from Yale with the intention of being a professional classical musician. However, life led him down the path of R&B and he went for it. 

This month he was nominated as KUTX’s Artist of the Month! You can read his interview here and listen to some of the magic he creates here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjVmJ4v_l0E

And last but certainly not least, ACG Director of Education and Music & Healing, Travis Marcum has helped build hundreds of classroom guitar programs worldwide. He is also the founder of ACG’s Music & Healing initiative, providing unique music programming for Austin community members experiencing significant challenges or trauma.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fhI0wYH-BvI

We could not be more excited and grateful to be able to connect with such beautiful human beings and share what they create with you, our community. 

Thank you.


ACG Music & Healing: What is a Music & Healing Artist?

Throughout the month of March we will be shining a light on ACG Music & Healing. On March 25-26, we will present a concert of some of the most memorable songs created by Music & Healing artists and participants over the years. The concert is called We’ve Always Known, and we’ve never done anything like it. We hope you’ll join us! Learn more about ACG Music & Healing here. Support ACG Music & Healing here

 

We are so excited to reimagine and share ten stories and songs from our Music & Healing program in concert for the first time ever in a program called We've Always Known, on March 25-26. Find tickets here.

The concert will feature local superstars, Claire Puckett from Mother Falcon and Hikes, Camille Sheiss from Magnolia Kids and American Dreamer, singer songwriter Daniel Fears, and our very own Travis Marcum.

ACG Music & Healing brings beauty, a medium of expression, and deep connection to individuals facing hardship or trauma, through music, community, and kindness. Our artists visit with participants for weeks connecting on hopes, dreams, memories, and reflections, to create an inspiring personal song together.

This week we had the chance to hear from Daniel Fears on what a Music & Healing artist is and some of things they have the opportunity to experience as part of this program. Listen to his reflection here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKWvU4mpkrY


HOME Concert Tour

HOME CONCERT TOUR

A collaboration between Albuquerque Academy, Austin Classical Guitar and Guitar New Mexico Youth Guitar Ensembles.

Guitars galore! Inspired by places, memories and experiences that evoke a sense of home, this unique endeavor will bring together around 40 High School classical guitar students to perform recently written works for guitar ensemble.

If you are near Albuquerque, New Mexico – join us for an amazing afternoon with these talented and dedicated young musicians!

 

Saturday March 11th, 3pm

Outpost Performance Space 210 Yale Blvd SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106

Tickets: $3-5 Info and tickets are available here

Sunday March 12th, 5pm

Albuquerque Academy Simms Auditorium – 6400 Wyoming Blvd NE Albuquerque, NM

Free and Open to the public


Music & Healing: A Gift

A note from ACG Executive Director Matt Hinsley:

Talking with Shannon Belcher about the place music holds in her life, in her memories, and in her relationship with her mother was such a moving experience for me. If her story and generosity inspire you too, I hope you’ll consider making a contribution to our Spring 2023 Music & Healing Fund Drive. Shannon will match every dollar contributed up to $10,000. 

Throughout the month of March we will be shining a light on ACG Music & Healing. On Thursday, March 9th, our free, monthly ACGtalks breakfast series will focus on our work in this area. Then, on March 25-26, we will present a concert of some of the most memorable songs created by Music & Healing artists and participants over the years. The concert is called We’ve Always Known, and we’ve never done anything like it. I hope you’ll join us! 

As always, I welcome you to contact me any time for any reason. Thank you.

For many years, Shannon Belcher attended ACG concerts with her mom Paula. Some of Shannon’s fondest early memories revolve around a classical guitar festival in Carmel, California, when Paula first introduced her to the art form. Shannon’s father, Paula’s husband Glenn, was a fighter pilot who went Missing In Action during the Vietnam War. Paula and Shannon would stay close, classical guitar weaving in and out of their lives, all the way until Paula passed away last summer.

Shannon has just pledged a generous matching gift of $10,000 to ACG Music & Healing in honor of her parents, and I sat down with her to talk about why. 

“I wanted to give this gift for so many reasons,” she told me. “The work you do at Dell Children’s Hospital, with veterans, with the juvenile justice population. Through ACG I’ve seen music give huge gifts to people that change their lives. And I’ve experienced it myself many times, including the sense of peace and healing that came to me when ACG musicians hosted and performed for Mom’s memorial service at The Rosette.”

A career data and financial systems analyst, Shannon joined the Board of Directors of Austin Classical Guitar in September 2019. As a patron of the organization for more than a decade by that time, Shannon was already deeply familiar with ACG Music & Healing.

“Mom and I attended the presentations you would do before concerts. I remember, in particular, a song called Miles To Go, written by a woman with a chronic cancer diagnosis. It was so moving, with lyrics about her drive to and from MD Anderson in Houston. 

“We were introduced to that song only shortly before mom was diagnosed with breast cancer, so its meaning only grew for us. And now, as it turns out, I’m about to move to a place in Bastrop on that very road she described in the song.”

I asked Shannon about impact she hopes her gift will bring to ACG Music & Healing participants. She told me,

“In Mom’s last few days, you came to play for her. Mom was in that twilight stage, still there, body aware, but eyes closed. You played for us, and Mom intentionally changed her grasp on my hand. She was there, she was communicating. This was a good thing.”

“I believe Music & Healing can give people a core of peace. I think that core of peace can bring about many things, perhaps focus and discipline to take difficult steps, perhaps a release from physical or psychological pain, perhaps resilience that will keep them from self-destructive behavior. What ACG does is not soporific, it’s not escapist, it addresses the pain through expression, and that makes a huge difference. It really goes back to the mission of ACG: to inspire individuals in our community through experiences of deep personal significance.”

Shannon and Paula in Carmel

HOME #5: A Conversation with Visual Artist Barry Stone

Our season theme is HOME. We will dive into the natural world, culture, and human connection, and we’re inviting you to participate all along the way! Join us on February 18 at the gorgeous Austin ISD Performing Arts Center for the centerpiece of our season. Learn more here. We would like to thank atsec information security for their generous sponsorship of Marek’s residency and our home project. 

 

We’re so excited to celebrate Home next weekend at the gorgeous Austin ISD Performing Arts Center! 

We will be blown away by ACG Artist-in-Residence, Marek Pasieczny’s big beautiful composition, called The Elements. He’ll be joined by percussion super-talent Thomas Burritt and Grammy-nominated cellist Bion Tsang, as well as a guitar orchestra of over 80 players of all ages led by Joe Williams. We’ll even have breathtaking video projections of Texas landscape by photographer Barry Stone!

This week we had the opportunity to connect with visual artist Barry Stone!  

Barry got his MFA from the University of Texas and has taught photography at the International Center of Photography and the Pratt Institute in New York! He has been teaching in the School of Art and Design at Texas State University since 2007. As an artist, Barry creates his own photo books and has had his work shown internationally. He has also been represented by Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery in New York since 2005. 

This concert is inspired by home. Home means a lot of different things to different people. Barry shared what Home means to him,

“Geographer Yi Fu Tuan has written that home is a ‘nurturing shelter…where life begins and ends.’ In this sense home is a physical place, a kind of duration, as well as something felt. I feel that rings true.”

We connected with Barry while he was at Shield Ranch making improvisational guitar field recordings and photographs for his web-based project, Porch Swing Orchestra. Barry shared, 

“Also touring the property was ACG board member, Stacia, who when I said I wasn’t classically trained, said, “I know some folks that are!!” and she put me in touch with Matt and Joe. Joe met me at my show of Lost Pines at Lora Reynolds Gallery where we had a lovely conversation and floated the idea of incorporating the images into the HOME project. My daughter and I came to hear Marek play and preview some of the show and were blown away. This is going to be such an amazing and ambitious piece. I am so excited and humbled to play a part in this important world premiere.

When Marek completed the score, Joe helped me map it out. We talked about moods and pacing and I was able to test some of the imagery on the system at the gorgeous AISD PAC. I think it looks super exciting!”

In Barry’s latest book and exhibition, Lost Pines, he combined photographs taken over a 10-year span in the wake and recovery of the Bastrop County Complex Fire. Barry shared a bit about this project,

“These images serve as a kind of envelope enclosing a group of pictures I recently discovered in an old undeveloped roll of film taken of the inside of my grandad’s trailer which tragically caught fire and took his life in 2002. The work also includes polaroids rescued from the detritus my grandad made in and around his home in Magnolia, Texas. The work contains many cycles of life, the end of one life, and the return of the pine forest.

I am heavily invested in the history of photography but equally interested in exploring new avenues. The images from Lost Pines are black and white and owe much of their formal construction to 19th Century photographers like Gustave Le Gray and Carleton Watkins. In some of the images, however, I open the digital file of the photograph with a code editing program used by programmers and scramble the code of the file to create generative aberrations or glitches. These glitched works render the forest in a kind of melting burn.”

We couldn’t be more grateful to connect and collaborate with so many talented local artists. We’ll be able to see some of the images from Lost Pines at our celebratory concert on February 18! Find tickets here. Learn more about Barry Stone and his artwork here


Workshops at The Rosette: A Conversation with Tami Rohn

Playing music for other people is one of the most special and rewarding things we can do as musicians. But for so many of us, performing for an audience can seem daunting and unreachable, which can keep us from even trying. In our Performing 101 Workshop, we will demystify the art of performing and develop comfort with this incredible skill so that we can feel confident sharing our music with others. Learn more here

 

We are so grateful to have the space and opportunity to host guitar classes and workshops in our new home, The Rosette. We have a few classes and workshops beginning in February! 

One of these classes being offered is Evan Taucher’s Performing 101 Workshop.

This week we had the chance to speak with Tami Rohn, a previous attendee of Evan’s Workshop.

Tami has been a musician her whole life, beginning with the piano at seven years old. She became connected with ACG in 2010 and has been participating in our community ensembles for years! Tami shared, 

“I have a hearing loss in both ears that has progressively gotten worse over time.  I’m the youngest of 4 and my siblings all play the piano.  When I was 7 years old I asked to take piano lessons, much to the surprise of my parents.  I have always loved music and 

my hearing loss has not stopped me from enjoying playing as well as listening to it.  I asked for a folk guitar when I was a teenager and taught myself to play.  One year when I was in college I had the summer off and decided to take a fun class, which was “Classical Guitar.”  That started a deep interest in learning more and I even attended my first Classical Guitar Concert soon after.  There’s something amazing in holding a guitar and not only playing and hearing the music, but feeling the deep vibrations resonate through the wood and into my body.  

I no longer have the folk guitar but at that time I had a cheap, Martin Classical Guitar that I started with.  The director (Tony Mariano is my 3rd director) was very patient with me as I had to really work on learning the guitar and learning to play with the ensemble. That particular guitar did not work well for my hearing loss and I discovered by the end of the season that I needed to upgrade, which I did.  From then the journey began with ACG and a deep desire to continue to play and master the instrument continued.”

Though Tami is musically inclined in many ways, she still had a desire to continue her growth. She shared, 

“I had been looking for ways to better myself as a musician and when Tony offered an Open Mic night in May 2022, I participated and actually played a piece, from memory, in front of an audience.  That alone did wonders for my confidence and fueled my desire to improve myself as a musician.  Evan’s first workshop was the “Technique Workshop”.  I knew that would be the perfect workshop and I quickly registered for it.  I also participated in his “Fretboard Mastery Workshop” and “Performance 101 Workshop”.  From each workshop I felt that I was learning the skills to become a better Classical Guitar musician.  Evan is very patient, thoughtful and highly encouraging.

I think that out of all of the workshops I enjoyed Performance 101 the most.  I learned a lot from Fretboard Mastery and that was the most challenging workshop for me, but Evan gave us the skills and confidence to continue practicing even after the workshop was finished.  The Performance 101 was fabulous as we each picked a piece that we learned and played for each other as if we were truly a Master Guitarist performing in a Grand Concert Hall.  That was fun, creative and I enjoyed hearing feedback not only for myself but also for my fellow workshop members. I highly recommend these workshops for anyone that wants to improve as a Classical Guitarist.”

It brings us so much joy to connect with our community and with ourselves through music. These classes are open to anyone no matter their musical background! We have beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses. Learn more about each of them here.