The idea of Austin Guitar Salon first occurred to me in the car as I was driving south on Speedway from 45th Street in Hyde Park.  It was so simple!  I was driving past a large, stately home with a plaque on the front designating it’s historical significance, and the whole vision just popped into my head: “wouldn’t it be great to present classical guitar concerts in historic homes with wine and cheese receptions?”!

Doing something in historic homes in Austin means The Heritage Society of Austin, and I have two particularly good friends, Lazan Pargaman and Lin Team who popped into my head as the perfect people to call to flesh out the idea.  By the time we had sat down for lunch, I’d already met with John and Kendall Antonelli from Antonelli’s Cheese Shop, and so Austin Guitar Salon was beginning to take shape.

Lazan and Lin went beyond helping me flesh out the idea, and they went beyond connecting me with the Heritage Society of Austin, they offered – through The Kinney Company – to sponsor our entire first series (spring 2011).  And they are sponsoring our fall 2011 series as well.

I am incredibly grateful to Lazan and Lin and The Kinney Company for helping turn this daydream into a reality, and I thought it might be fun to learn a bit more about them.

Matthew Hinsley: Tell me about yourselves and the Kinney Company.  How long have you been in Austin?

Lazan Pargaman & Lin Team: Founded in 1995, The Kinney Company is a small real estate agency with a special focus on homes in Central Austin.  We pride ourselves in providing our clients with exceptional client service and hands-on attention to detail.

Currently, there are three of us, all with long histories in Austin and with combined experience in real estate totaling over 38 years.

MH: You are sponsoring a collaboration between ACGS and The Heritage Society of Austin.  I believe you have long connections with both organizations, and I’d love to hear about them.

LP&LT: As realtors with a special interest in old homes, all of us at The Kinney Company have long supported the work of the Heritage Society of Austin.  Company founder Teddy Kinney and Lin Team have served several terms on the board of the Heritage Society through the years.  Lin is currently an active board member and has recently co-chaired its Preservation Committee.

When Lazan’s daughters took up classical guitar six years ago, she got involved with the Classical Guitar Society and became not only a new audience member at the wonderful concerts but also a supporter of the Educational Outreach Program.

Coincidentally, a few years back, Lin helped a nice young couple buy a home here in Austin.  The man was a doctoral student in guitar at UT.  Through him, Lin became involved in the Austin Classical Guitar Society and has had the pleasure of watching him build it into the terrific organization that it is today.  Lin thanks you, Matt!

MH: I remember that well, Lin!  Glenda and I are incredibly thankful for the home you found us – and we’re still happily living in it!  Why do you feel it’s important to give back to the community?

LT&LP: At The Kinney Company, we believe that supporting programs for those in need is a responsibility we all share and we feel blessed to be able to do so.  But people need food for the spirit as well, and that’s a role that music, the arts and architecture can help play in our lives.  We find a lot of satisfaction in supporting programs to which we have a special connection because of our personal interests and professional expertise.

Although none of us plays the guitar, we all enjoy the music.  And, we all have a deep appreciation for old homes.  This salon series has been great fun for us because it’s the marriage of these two interests!

MH: Are there other organizations or causes you like to support?

LT&LP: Lin’s background is in advocacy for progressive social causes.  For many years she served as Director of Texas impact, a broadly ecumenical, faith-based advocacy organization working to change social policy at the state level.  She still serves on the board of Texas Impact.

Lin has also been active in neighborhood planning and organizations, where she finds all politics to be truly local.  “Democracy at its most immediate — and tedious — is played out in our neighborhoods, and I feel a deep obligation to work with these groups to bring people together to share visions and solve problems,” (Lin said).

Lazan currently serves on the board of The Austin Project, a non-profit organization designed to improve the lives of children, youth and families, by strengthening families and promoting early literacy.  She is also involved in the Fine Arts Academy at McCallum High School, promoting the arts and artists in fundamental ways in our public education system.

MH: Well, we’re so looking forward to this Saturday and the concert at Jane Sibley’s incredible home.  Thank you so much for helping us to make it happen, and I look forward to seeing you both there!  Before we go, is there anything else you’d like to share?

LP&LT: The ACGS outreach programs are a beautiful example of an ecosystem of good works that link together music, the arts, social welfare, education and healthy living — all vital elements of a strong community spirit

Historic preservation plays a similar role by connecting people with art, architecture, social welfare, cultural history and environmental sustainability.

We enthusiastically support both the Heritage Society and the Classical Guitar Society as a way to participate in that interconnected vision.