4/20/2011 Wednesday 9:54 pm

California was fabulous.  I’d like to begin by saying a huge thanks to David Chapman for bringing me to Modesto to play and teach last Thursday – and his colleague Travis Silvers for taking such good care of me – and a huge thanks to Daniel Roest of the Sacramento Classical Guitar Society for his vision in developing the West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable and asking me to lead the sessions.

Last week was a massive week for guitar in Austin. The Assads played, Adam Holzman Played. Pepe Romero played nearby. The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet was up in Waco. We (at ACGS) presented the ChromaDuo, pictured here at Taco Deli (Tracy Smith and Rob MacDonald), in 10 community concerts, and we presented another super popular Classical Cactus featuring Michael Gratovich and Kim Perlak. Whew! It was wonderful meeting Rob and Tracy, even if only briefly, and enjoying a taco along with, of course, some Houndstooth Coffee from next door!

On Wednesday last week I was on a place to Oakland, where I took the BART to Dublin/Pleasonton and met my friend David Chapman, who directs guitar studies at Modesto Junior college.  David asked me to come out and play a concert and teach a class as soon as he heard I’d be in the area to lead the nonprof workshop sessions I would lead later in the week!

Here is David putting up my concert poster on his wall of fame! This is a ritual that can only take place after you've performed there! The concert went very well that evening, as did the class I taught in the afternoon. Following the poster hanging, we spent a nice long night out having dinner and talking about all kinds of things. While in Modesto my host was guitarist Travis Silvers with whom I played pool Thursday night, and Tennis Friday morning, before he took me into Sacramento. I managed to beat him in pool, but I'd rather not talk about what happened on the tennis court Friday morning!

On Friday I went to a cool spot called the Urban Hive where Daniel Roest’s colleague Steve Roberts had arranged for me to give a talk on community arts advocacy.  The group was small enough that we had a nice long discussion, instead, that I think most everyone enjoyed.  Afterward we had dinner, where I met the very talented Armenian guitarist Gohar Vardanian before heading over to Sacramento State to hear the Pacific Coast Guitar Ensemble.

Here are some of the 7 members of the PCGE. I don't know everyone in the group, but David Tanenbaum, Lawrence Ferrara, and Marc Teicholz are heavy hitters in the classical guitar world. I was also impressed with a young man named John Mendle who I got to meet the next morning. Friday evening I also got to visit with Richard Savino, guitar professor at Sac State, it's always a tremendous pleasure to see Richard!

Saturday was my big action day.  I was to lead 5, one-hour sessions on Mission/Vision, Strategic Planning, PR/Marketing, Grants, and Development/Fundraising.  Whew!  What a day.  In the middle, my new friend David Lusterman, publisher of acoustic guitar magazine, led a session on collaboration, and interspersed throughout were performances by phenomenal young players in the area.

Here's the scene early on, with my host, Daniel Roest, introducing me! We had representatives from organizations all over California, one from Nevada, and even one from Victoria BC.

Several very talented young players performed during the day in between sessions. I already mentioned John Mendle. Pictured here is Matt Lyons - especially significant because Matt is an Austinite currently finishing his first year of college in San Francisco with Sergio Assad at the conservatory. matt is super talented, a former student of Steve Kostelnik, and it was tremendous to see him and hear him play again.

The Roundtable ended with a public performance by Jesse McCann of Oregon and Gohar Vardanyan. Both very talented indeed! I'd like to offer my deepest congratulations to Daniel Roest and his team for a fantastic and visionary event! I am honored to have been a part.

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