(from Matt Hinsley, December 31st, 2013)


Dear Friends,

Together we dream.

In August, 65 educators came to Austin for our first national teacher training.  One guest, now teaching in a village in United Arab Emirates, wrote to me last month:

“The road for guitar teachers and students has been paved by all the work you have done. I feel fortunate to be following in the footsteps of the team that you have developed.”

Kids in our programs have written the most inspiring things about music over the years.  In 2012 we started an online magazine, FretBuzz, to give voice to their unique perspectives.  A twelve-year old girl wrote recently:

“I have one goal for the long term – never stop playing guitar.”

A boy we first met at Akins High School since graduated and received this year’s ACG full scholarship to Austin Community College.  In August he wrote:

“My success in high school could not have been possible without the endless support from Austin Classical Guitar…You have instilled in me that with commitment to my dream, I will finish the picture that I have been painting on the canvas.”

Together we achieve.

Our ACC scholarship was suggested by ACG board vice-president John Henry McDonald and is supported in part by annual contributions from our board at large.  Fretbuzz was dreamed up by our Education team and named by Eric Pearson, our Director of Community Guitarists.  Michael Sorenson took the initiative to travel to Austin for our training, and bring with him the knowledge he gained to the UAE.

Ernesto Sol Bonilla, thanks to Houston’s Edward Grigassy, attended our training as well – from Managua, Nicaragua.  Austin Classical Guitar Youth Orchestra was made possible by a three-year gift from Dr. Michael Froehls.  It was a conversation I had with Joe and Teresa Long in 2010 that led us to begin FlamencoAustin, and ultimately brought about our US debut presentation in October of the legendary Niño de Pura… I could go on and on!

Together we serve.

A recent high school graduate, who had struggled in grade school with a learning challenge, wrote in a college scholarship essay:

“I love playing guitar, and I’m good at it. I excel at it and it makes up for other classes being so hard for me. I love making music and listening to it and I am so glad that I am able to read music.”

For our Changing Lives campaign, we heard from many parents, one of whom wrote:

“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!”

A supporter of ACG, who had moved away from Austin, sent in a contribution from afar upon reading Travis Marcum’s Reflection on his Gardner Betts students’ most recent courthouse performance.

Together we transform lives.

You have made us what we are. Austin Classical Guitar is a reflection of our values, our ideas, and our efforts as a community.

I continue to be amazed and inspired by what we have achieved together, by the lives we have touched, including our own, including mine.

Thank you for joining together with us,

Matt Hinsley

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