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UTPB Already Preparing for Longest Guitar Festival in the U.S.

The West Texas Guitar Festival brings high quality musicians to perform and teach during the festival.
MIDLAND/ODESSA -- The West Texas Guitar Festival brings high quality musicians to perform and teach during the festival. Thursday evening of the festival is traditionally “Locals Night” featuring a parade of local guitar ensembles ranging from elementary schools, junior highs, and high schools, through the area colleges and universities. Friday night has featured jazz artists such as Bobby Broom, Bucky Pizzarelli, and Michele Ramo as well as Internet sensation Andy McKee. The Saturday concerts featured classical guitarists Carlo Pezzimenti, Andrew York, David Brandon, and Ana Vidovic with winners of the competition. The Saturday events start at 8am with masterclasses and workshops on various topics from flamenco guitar style, mariachi techniques, jazz chords, blues riffs, to singer/songwriter classes. The difficulty level of the Saturday events is spread evenly between beginner, intermediate, and advanced players. The festival is open to all ages and abilities of guitarists. We have kids, young adults, and even older guitar enthusiasts who attend each year. Last year, participants drove out from Dallas, Austin, and Albuquerque to attend our event.

Guest artists are asked to meet with the students for pictures and autographs after their performance. Younger guitar students are not often given the opportunity to see and work with top notch musicians outside of recordings. The motivation of hearing a Grammy winner perform, getting the autograph, and scoring a picture with the guitarist is a dream come true for many young participants. One young multi-year participant has had his guitar signed by the guest artists each year of the festival. He describes the “trophy” as his motivation for practicing daily.

The West Texas Guitar Festival is unique in that it operates a solo competition, small ensemble competition, and offers participants the opportunity to perform in a mass ensemble. The 2014 mass ensemble will be world premiering a commissioned work by Native American guitarist, Gabriel Ayala. Winners in each category receive a solo on the closing concert of the festival and a gift card to Music World. The overall winner receives a handcrafted guitar made by local tradesman, Jacob Porter of Strangewoods Guitar.

The festival steering committee recruits vendors to bring displays and sell items to the participants in an effort to unify the resources for the guitarists. Sheet music and guitar makers are not typically found in West Texas, so their presence as partners is part of the mission of the festival. The presence of these resources for festival participants is exceptionally important for educational benefits.

West Texas Guitar Festival
Wagner Noël Performing Arts Center
Tuesday, February 18th, Thursday, February 20th, Friday February 21st, & Saturday, February 22nd at 7:00pm
www.WestTexasGuitarFestival.com or call 432-552-3286 for more information

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