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Message From the President

January 2000

Contrary to predictions of an impending Armageddon, CGSC is entering the 21st century very much alive. Our 1999-2000 concert season started in spectacular fashion with the sellout 25th Anniversary concert by the Los Angeles Guitar quartet. After a rushed trip from a post concert class in Edmonton, the quartet entertained and educated an enthusiastic class of players and auditors with a non-stop, four-fold stream of wry wit and gems of insight. The class continued until they had to tear themselves away for a quick change that would have done credit to Clark Kent, and brief chance to prepare for the evening performance. At the Rozsa Centre, the overflow audience was transfixed from the first soft pizzicato of the overture until the end of the final encore. The quartet then returned to the stage to join in a brief Anniversary ceremony complete with cake, candles, and recognition of our founding President, Jake Salomons, along with other original members and long-term stalwarts of the Society, including Rick MacDonald, Jim Hutchison, and Val and John Alston. Capping the evening was a sumptuous feast - rapidly devoured by the crowd – which was generously provided by Devour Catering, the Lazy Loaf and Kettle and Los Sabores de México.

Riding the wave, Calgary performers Brad Mahon and Ralph Maier, both on faculty at Mount Royal Conservatory, presented a highly successful first concert of our regular season in the Engineered Air Theatre at the Arts Centre. Had there been any doubts about their confidence, they would surely have been dispelled by the opening phrase of the first piece – a duet version of the same Rossini piece that the LAGQ had used as an opener only weeks before. The duo infected the audience with their enthusiasm and provided a delightful evening for the near capacity crowd.

Treats still to come in the concert series include Denis Azabagic - the 1998 Guitar Foundation of America competition winner, flamenco trio Ocurrencia - led by Calgary’s Holly Blazina, and Alexander Dunn from Victoria – sometime duo partner of Pepe Romero. Don’t’ miss them.

Also in November, several members were lucky enough to be able to meet with Winnipeg luthier, Daryl Perry, who visited with some of his recent instruments, both classical and flamenco. Daryl recently made a guitar for Board member, André Lanz, and Fabio Zanon stopped in Winnipeg after his Calgary concert a couple of years ago to pick up another. Because his recent visit came on such short notice, and a number of those of us who were interested were out of town or otherwise unavailable at the time, Daryl was kind enough to ship one of the instruments back for a return visit. The guitar, a simply decorated, elegant flamenco is lightly built of Canadian cypress - otherwise called yellow cedar by the west coast native carvers – with a European spruce top. Its sound pops out in response to the lightest touch, and rasgueados growl emphatically in the middle and lower registers. Several members had the chance to see the instrument at our January meeting.

Martin Watson, our President, whose unflagging efforts have driven some remarkably successful new ventures over the past two years, has announced that he will resign effective at the June 2000 annual meeting. Martin will continue on the Board, organizing the community outreach activities that he has established so successfully, and we hope that he will find a bit more time to relax with the new guitar, that he is eagerly awaiting, from High River luthier, Chuck Schifflett. We are deeply indebted to Martin for his efforts, and look forward to seeing the lines on his brow smooth out over the coming year. Meanwhile, we are looking for someone with an organizational flare to step into the President’s role and work with an energetic and capable Board on the planning and promoting of the next concert season. Activities of Board members are fluid and flexible, and there is a warm spirit of cooperation, so please contact us if you can contribute a little time to help us maintain a vibrant programme of activities.

Next year we are planning, again in cooperation with the Edmonton Society, to bring in the incomparable Assad duo as a headline concert. Check these pages for updated news. Help us to top the present season when the millennium really arrives next year. Join us!

Bob French, Co-president