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Guitar Festival features 'LA-L.A.' connection, 22 guitars in concert

Contact: Christina Chapple


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(1) James Smith (2) Guitar Quartet

Captions ...

(1) Guitarist James Smith; (2) Southeastern Louisiana University Guitar Quartet, from left, front, Matthew Aguilar, Matthew Spears; back, David Bryan, Gabriel Alack.

HAMMOND – With concerts throughout April, Southeastern Louisiana University’s ninth annual Guitar Festival boasts a special “Louisiana-Los Angeles” musical connection and an ensemble of 22 guitarists.

     The festival’s five events will showcase a variety of styles and presentations of guitar music, said Patrick Kerber, head of the Southeastern Department of Music and Dramatic Arts’ guitar program.

     All Guitar Festival events are free and begin at 7:30 p.m. in the Pottle Music Building Auditorium or the adjacent Pottle Performance Circle.

     The festival begins April 2 with Kerber’s solo faculty recital with a repertoire of guitar music from Renaissance to contemporary. On April 8, the Southeastern Guitar Quartet  -- Matthew Aguilar of Denham Springs, Matthew Spears of Frierson, David Bryan of Ponchatoula, and Gabriel Alack of Albany -- will perform music by Louisiana composer Louis Moreau Gottschalk as well as works by Kerber, Spears and Southeastern composer Stephen Suber.

     With Aguilar, Bryan and Alack all receiving diplomas in May, “This concert will close three years of performing together for the quartet,” Kerber said.

     Kerber said the popular “All Styles Night on the Circle” on April 9 will feature eclectic performances of jazz, popular, bluegrass, new age, Argentine tango, and original “indie” music performed by Southeastern students, faculty, alumni, and local artists.

     “The combination of varied music and the relaxing setting under the stars at the Pottle Performance Circle has made this event a festival favorite,” said Kerber. 

     On April 16 guest artist James Smith, head of the guitar department at the University of Southern California, will perform a solo program and join with Kerber for music for two guitars.

     “We’re calling this our ‘LA-L.A.’ event – as in “Louisiana and Los Angeles,” said Kerber. “Jim and I are both from New Orleans, but we met in Los Angeles where I studied ensemble performance and guitar history and literature with him at USC. And, a former Southeastern student from my studio became his wife and mother of two wonderful children.

     “Life’s coincidences aside, Jim’s passion is performing with other musicians, and I am honored to share the stage with a former teacher,” Kerber said. “Included on the program will be a new composition of mine which Jim asked me to write for the concert.”

     Kerber said Smith will also present a masterclass for Southeastern’s guitar students.

     The final event of the festival will be presented by the Southeastern Guitar Ensemble on April 30. The concert will feature music for guitar quartet, guitar and flute, and for a 22-guitar ensemble. The program will include musical styles ranging from the Renaissance to contemporary, with original student compositions and student arrangements of Argentine tango music.

     “This is the largest group of guitarists that we’ve put on stage at Southeastern,” Kerber said. “It is a truly unique sound, and it is an indication of the continued growth of our guitar program.”

     All events are free. For information, contact Kerber at (985) 549-2886 or the Department of Music and Dramatic Arts, (985) 549-2184.

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