Dear Austin Classical Guitar Fans,

Paty, a fifth grader in one of our guitar programs wrote in December:

What I love about playing guitar is that you get to feel free. I like hearing the silence at the end of the song…it’s magical.

As we approach our annual gala fundraiser for education, I thought I would take some time to reflect on the power of making music.

Paty’s classmate, Leilani, also wrote:

When I play the guitar with others I feel like a team. We could be the best group ever and people will like watching our group when we grow up.

Freedom, joy in silence, magic, belonging, hope. How is it that making music inspires such wide-ranging and wondrous emotions and imaginings?

What I love about playing the guitar is that it calms me down when I am angry, sad, or embarrassed.

When I play the guitar with others I feel comforted. Even if I make a mistake it’s okay…and we all keep playing together.

Calm and comfort, from making music? According to Marco and Dayron, also in fifth grade, making music on the guitar creates both of these things.

Tomorrow at 7pm is All City Guitar in the new Austin Independent School District Performing Arts Center (1500 Barbara Jordan Boulevard). 55 middle school students and 35 high school students, representing about 20 of our school programs, will take the stage conducted by Travis Marcum and Jeremy Osborne, our Director and Assistant Director of Education.

The students rehearse together for the first time later today-for five hours, from 2pm to 7pm. In these moments before the kids arrive, I’m thinking about how rare and special and unforgettable this experience is-the freedom, carefully rendered silences, calm, comfort, joy, hope, and magic of making beautiful music with each other.

And I reflect now, as I do almost every day, on how fortunate we are to live in a community that values the arts, and arts education, as we do here in Austin.

Thank you for helping us make music with so many,