Guitar Stars Shone

As we finish many of the chores we set for ourselves in our first year in Armory Park, we are beginning to take advantage of the many attractions which drew us to the neighborhood. One attraction we didn’t expect is the variety of entertainment/cultural events at St Andrews Church. Last Sunday afternoon was our first experience there, to see the Guitar Stars concert. The offerings were guitar performances by three great artists, each performing music of a different genre. Greg performed first with music based on the southern country style. Kathy’s offerings were demanding classical pieces. Gus’s music was the least expected for me since I had never before experienced jazz guitar. The performances all displayed the versatility of the guitar as well as the talent of the performers. To introduce you to the concert series and the performers, I extracted the following from the program:

St. Andrews Community Concert Alliance is a concert and arts series sponsored by the good people of St. A’s Episcopal Church, Tucson, Arizona. SACCA’s artistic director, Sheldon Curry, says, “The vision of SACCA is to provide a space for local artists to offer their gifts and skills. We hope to present concerts in various musical genres as well as theater, light opera, and dance. The acoustic at St. Andrew’s is one of the best, little known, aural treats in Tucson. That is part of the reason it birthed the highly successful St. Andrew’s Bach Society which outgrew our space and now calls Grace-St. Paul’s home.

Think of SACCA as SABS’s more wide-ranging kindred-spirit.

Greg Morton – Greg Morton has been playing the guitar for 47 years. Greg started out playing along with his identical twin brother Randal a Banjo player throughout the Mid South. Greg has played with artist such as Mark O’Connor, The White’s, Chet Atkins, Bill Monroe, and John Hartford to name a few. Greg and Randal played two USO Tours to Europe and The Orient and spent three years playing on the Don Ho Show in Honolulu, Hawaii. Greg now lives in Tucson where he plays at La Cocina and other Old Pueblo venues, and gives workshops to inspiring musicians.

Kathy Acosta Zavala – Ms. Acosta Zavala’s artistry has thrilled audiences in Tignes, France; Quebec, Canada; Lima, Peru and Arizona, USA. 2016 saw her professional debut concert in Peru, her cherished homeland, during the VI International GuitarFest.

She is a past winner of the Leonard and David Schaeffer Memorial Guitar Competition – the first woman to do so. She also received the University of Arizona School of Music’s prestigious Presser Foundation Award and the Sigma Alpha Iota Summer Music Scholarship.

After spending six months in Spain studying at the Masters in Classical Guitar Interpretation of the University of Alicante, she won second place at the “I International Guitar Competition for Latin American Female Guitarists” held in Sonora, Mexico.

Ms. Acosta Zavala plays a 2014 Gnatek guitar and is currently pursuing a Ph.D in musicology.

Gus Woodrow – Gus Woodrow gained widespread notice with his appearance, at age 17, as a classical guitar soloist on NPR’s “From the Top” radio program. It was taped live in Centennial Hall and aired to more than half a million listeners. This momentum led to his selection as one of 11 US classical musicians to participate in National Young Arts Week, for which he traveled to Miami to perform in the New World Symphony Center. The following summer, Woodrow played three weeks of concerts in Holland, Germany, England, and France. While doing so, he won or achieved top prizes in 10 national and international guitar competitions.

Restless to feed his compositional and improvisational interests, he turned to jazz guitar, and, drawing on a passion for diversity, began writing. Since early 2016, he has played regular concerts of his original music in groups ranging from jazz trios to large rock bands.

The event was well attended though there were seats available for more who might want to enjoy fine music. The location couldn’t be more convenient for us in Armory Park and the suggested donations of $15 per person or $25 per couple were certainly reasonable. The venue has wonderful acoustics but you might want to bring cushions for the wooden pews. The concert was announced on our listserv and you should watch there for future offerings. If this event is any indication, you won’t go wrong here.

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