Like so many strings on a grand guitar

As part of this fall’s Changing Lives Fund Drive, we invited our members, friends and fans to write a note to Matt Hinsley for his ten years as Executive Director. Here Matt publishes some of the wonderful comments he received, and makes a few of his own.

Has ACG or Classical Guitar changed your life?  Email your story to us today!

You can help!  Donate to our Changing Lives fall fund drive today!

“Great first 10 years. Looking forward to the next 100!!” – Tom and Claudia S.

Tom and Claudia’s note above brought me big smiles. As did the many comments you’ll see below, and the many more that requested not to be published.  I had coffee yesterday (Sunday 12/15) with a prospective summer intern and a large part of our conversation centered on our mission of community service here at Austin Classical Guitar.

It is my sincerest hope that we can continue to develop and sustain relevant programs and opportunities for engagement that will keep the amazing energy vibrating through our community like so many strings on a grand guitar.

I love everything about this organization! – Nancy C.

My son took your guitar program at Lamar Middle School and McCallum High. As a result he wants to become a music teacher and is currently taking pre-requisites at ACC, then hopefully UT! Thanks for such a great program! – Tina R.

Austin Classical Guitar is really just like a magnifying glass or prism focusing light energy to create beauty or intensity.  In our case it’s your energy, your vibrancy and creativity, that drives and makes possible everything that we do.

I see your positive glow of energy flow and touch everyone you meet. Thank you for sharing your love of music, helping others and passion to change lives of so many youth. You are a gem!- Victoria P. 

Thanks for your continuing devotion to classical guitar excellence in Austin and for your efforts in the schools and at Gardner Betts. ACG is bringing beauty to kids who need it so desperately.  – Rose R.

We still believe whole heatedly in the work of ACG under your leadership. ACG is extremely fortunate to have someone like you with the knowledge, business savvy, congeniality and people skills as well as the ability to be in contact with like-minded people who can usher ACG to the fruition of its goals. It is a pleasure to know you and see so many young people begin to realize the kind of discipline and joy that music brings.  – Larry and Jo H.

I was so touched by the many comments we received about our work in education. Tonight (Monday 12/16) is, for example, our first-ever elementary school concert!  The first of many!

We are both so impressed with your events and education initiatives. Especially guitar in elementary schools. It’s a delight to work with the ACG team.  – Julie & Doug S. 

As a guitar student myself I know what the magic and playing and continuing to improve can do. I wish I could have had the opportunity your young students have now. Nevertheless, at nearly 75, it is still a rewarding effort. – Tom C.

I am particularly impressed by the development of the curriculum and programming with area high schools. This represents a real investment in the lives of these students and in our community as well. Congratulations and thanks! – Tobin Q.

You are an inspiration!! What you have accomplished is extraordinary and a blessing in the lives of thousands of students. – Marina W.

What a team I have! April, Travis, Jeremy, Eric, James, Julie, Chris, Joey, Joe, Toby, Brent, Remington, Samantha, Tom, Lloyd, Bill, Virginia, Thales, Josh so many amazing volunteers, our board.  My team is what I am most grateful for in my professional life.

We really appreciate all the hard work you do. It takes great dedication and a supportive team and community to grow and thrive. Continued best wishes to you and all at ACG.  – Bob C. & Debbie C.

What a remarkable and groundbreaking ten years – and with more heart and deep enthusiasm than any other organization I’ve ever known. – Patti B.


It’s hard for me to believe it’s been ten years. In truth, it’s been seventeen since I was first asked to lead ACG – ten years since our first office and our first paid staff.  The amazing thing to me is that our work is actually just beginning.  Each new corner we turn opens up a new vista with more talent, vision and opportunity than any of us could have possibly imagined before beginning to perceive it. 

Thank you all.  Thank you Austin. We could not have done this without you.  We could not have done this without you because, in our essence, we are you.  ACG is an expression of the spirit of our community.  It is an honor and privilege to play my part.

Thank you for your leadership for 10 years of beautiful guitar music and community service. – Donna Lee and Vince D.

It’s extraordinary what you’ve built of ACG! Congrats in a fantastic decade of accomplishments, and best wishes for many more.  – Peter B. & Sarajane D.

Congratulations on the outstanding organization you have built over the last decade. Your passion, intelligence and dedication are changing lives in Austin and around the world! – Jessica D.

(Matt Hinsley making introductory remarks before Pepe Romero’s October 2013 International Series debut performance at GT Austin.  Photograph by Arlen Nydam.)

Read our previous Changing Lives story: Guitar and Juvenile Justice