The Columbia area plays host to dozens of guitar-fueled concerts every year, but only one – this weekend’s Southern Guitar Festival and Competition – actually celebrates this incredibly versatile instrument.
From its earliest iteration – probably a tortoiseshell body, a neck made from a stick and gut strings – the guitar has evolved into a work of art capable of energizing, seducing, entertaining and educating. All that and it’s portable, too.
Although guitars are most closely associated with music genres such as rock, country and jazz, classical guitar, with its intricate string picking and warm, rich sound, is not as well known. Festival founder and director Marina Alexandra hopes this year’s festival will help change that.
“It is interesting how many people stereotype classical guitar – thinking that it is boring, or guitarists only perform classical-style music,” she said. “I hope to break this stereotype with the festival. This year, we will present some remarkable young musicians from Mexico, China and Romania, music from Brazilian and Argentinian composers and even original flamenco music.”
But the festival isn’t just about performances.
Music instructors, publicists and managers will lead workshops and lectures on jazz improvisation, practice techniques and strategies for beginning a career in music.
“The Southern Guitar Festival and Competition was established six years ago with the help of several local guitar teachers and music lovers,” Alexandra said. “Originally, we featured a few master classes, concerts performed by internationally celebrated artists, and a classical guitar competition. But over the years, the festival has expanded to include multiple lectures, hands-on workshops, guitar demonstrations, and five competition categories. Nonclassical guitar players can now participate in the Guitar Idol SC, and music groups can compete in the Ensemble Division.”
The Southern Guitar Festival and Competition is Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11.
Katie McElveen, Special to Go Columbia
If you go
Southern Guitar Festival and Competition
WHERE: Richland Library Main, 1431 Assembly St.
WHEN: Saturday, June 10 and Sunday, June 11