Fall in love with classical guitar riffs at festival

06/06/2014 12:00 AM

06/05/2014 8:12 PM

Whether it’s Jimmy Page’s iconic guitar solo in Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” or Kurt Cobain’s power chords within Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” hearing a great guitar riff for the first time is often what spurs teens around the globe to beg for guitar lessons.

Not Marina Alexandra. The Ukraine-born, Columbia-based guitar performer and instructor was introduced to the guitar by her mother. “I’ve always played the guitar,” Alexandra said. “It was my mother’s choice and I ended up really enjoying it.” And while some girls would have wanted to become rockers like Bonnie Raitt or Joan Jett, Alexandra fell in love with classical guitar.

When the Southern Guitar Festival and Competition kicks off on Friday, June 6, it will be the culmination of a dream for Alexandra. Now in its third year, the festival brings together world-renowned guitarists with up-and-coming artists for a weekend of concerts, classes and competition. Expect to hear terrific music: instead of recruiting only guitarist as judges, Alexandra enlisted the help of performers from all over the music world.

“Guitar players may become too focused on technique,” she explains. “Judges who play a different instrument will instead pay better attention to the music and the entertainment value of the performer. By encouraging students that are great entertainers to compete and perform, we may find the next sustainable star!”

Concerts are scheduled for Friday, June 6 and Saturday, June 7 at 7 p.m. in the recital hall at the Spears Center for the Arts at Columbia College, 1301 Columbia College Drive. For a full event schedule, visit southernguitarfest.com

Katie McElveen, Special to The State

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