From the streets of San Francisco to the jungles of Vietnam, from drug addiction, alcoholism and homelessness, to finding his strength and becoming a leading figure in Austin’s financial services sector for 40+ years, John Henry McDonald has lived many lives in one. Learn more about his upcoming performances here.


We are so honored to be able to connect with such powerful people who embody what it means to transform into your higher self. We are so inspired by the drive and the generosity of our community. 

We had the privilege of speaking with someone who embodies both transformation and generosity this week! 

John Henry McDonald and his wife, Louise Epstein, connected with ACG through “a perfect convergence of forces,” as John Henry would say. Louise’s father was a classical guitar hobbyist. On Fathers Day of 2006, a year after her father’s passing, John Henry and Louise attended an ACG presentation of Eliot Fisk and the Miro Quartet. At the time, John Henry was searching for a new Board of Directors to be part of after serving on the Austin Lyric Opera board for five years. That day he realized Austin Classical Guitar would be a great fit.

After donating small funds to lots of organizations for many years, John Henry and Louise decided to place a more purposeful intention in their generosity. Twenty years ago, they decided that they would make a greater impact by giving larger amounts to four areas of philanthropy: animals, musicians, recovery, and their religion.

John Henry’s first performance with us, A Guru Named Frank, will take place at Captain Quackenbush on February 23rd at 7:30pm. Find tickets here, all proceeds will benefit the North Austin Foundation.

“Music and the recovery community are a huge part of my story. A story that I’ve written into a performance called A Guru Named Frank. Frank is a one hour, one-man show that follows me from Vietnam to Austin, Texas. The show includes 12 original tunes, and all proceeds will go to benefit the North Austin Foundation (FBO) 24 hour club for addiction recovery.” –  John Henry McDonald

The 24 Hour Club connected with Project Helping Hand, provides a drug and alcohol-free environment for people recovering from alcohol and/or other drug addictions. They offer Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step meetings along with available support for 24 hours a day. They offer a thirty day opportunity to stay in a safe environment for people in the early stages of recovery. The 24 Hour Club is maintained by the North Austin Foundation, you can learn more about them here.

John Henry’s second performance with us, Come December, will take place at The Rosette on February 24th at 7:30pm. Find tickets here, proceeds will benefit ACG Education.

“The next night, February 24th, Oliver Steck and I will perform in the Austin Classical Guitar’s New performance facility, The Rosette. I’ve written a show that introduces my newest CD Because That’s What Old Friends Do. I will explore human conditions and reflect on the  emotional impact of aging in the middle of a pandemic. How on earth will I make that sound joyous? You’ll have to come and see. 

All proceeds go to benefit ACG Education.” – John Henry McDonald


We are so excited to hear John Henry perform and be swept away by his inspiring presence. We are even more excited for you to join us!  

Learn more about John Henry’s story at his website here!