Daniel Roest and the Sacramento Guitar Society hosted the first West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable, with our friend Dr. Matt Hinsley as keynote speaker, and we certainly hope it will be the first of many (first annual, maybe?). GSI was happy to provide a guitar that was raffled to raise funds to help defray some of the costs, and by all accounts the event was a huge success. I’ll let Daniel tell you the rest…
West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable Fires Up Classical Guitar Community
By Daniel Roest, Sacramento Guitar Society President and Conference Director
The Sacramento Guitar Society hosted a gathering of western guitar societies April 16th 2011, led by the most capable person in the country to do so – Dr. Matthew Hinsley, Executive Director of the Austin Classical Guitar Society in Austin, Texas. The West Coast Guitar Societies Roundtable was conceived after I met Dr. Hinsley at the 2008 Guitar Foundation of America Festival and Competition in San Francisco . In Matt Hinsley I met such talent, inspiration and positive energy that I knew we in Sacramento had to get him to consult for us.
With huge help from my board, particularly Secretary-Treasurer Steve Roberts, the inclusion of as many voices representing guitar societies began – whether they were robust, developed ones like the South Bay Guitar Society, dormant societies like the North Bay Guitar Society, and dreams, like the North Coast Guitar Society. I was particularly keen to have Matt answer questions from unfunded individuals who needed a roadmap – and what a roadmap, indeed! Hinsley is the author of the recently released Creativity to Community – Arts Nonprofit Success One Coffee at a Time.
From Vancouver B.C. to California, guitar society boards came and not only drank in the wealth of material provided, but asked questions they needed help with and got showcase performances by rising concert artists – Jon Mendle, Matthew Lyons, Ray Zhou and Arina Burcéva, showing the kind of outstanding concert talent available to them without the artist fees beyond reach.
Of prime importance to Steve Roberts and me was securing sponsorship, and String Letter Publishing owner David A. Lusterman came through in a big way, promising both a significant contribution and an article on the topic. Guitar Salon International donated a terrific cedar top classical guitar for the evening concert raffle. A local photographer was engaged to document the day, luthiers brought their instruments and the whole event was recorded on for a DVD by Richard Goyette.
A marvelous aspect of the conference was the bringing together of such different stakeholders in classical guitar: both online sales interests and local retailers, high-end luthiers and Chinese importers, amateur players and seasoned professionals, guitar majors from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music and the people who would hire them to perform on concert, photographers and a videographer and their prospective clients. Apparently the event was quite the success, as evidenced by the after-event reviews.
If you are in need of inspiration for your guitar society or the guitar scene in your area, watch for the Acoustic Guitar Magazine feature later this year, and pick up a copy of Matt Hinsley’s book. As for myself and my team, we couldn’t be happier with the results. We owe a huge thanks to all the participants and sponsors. Bravo!
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