Six-stringed talent showcased

Many genres performed at Guitar Recital


Ezperience • Bertha Aguilar

Singer and guitarist Zeke Nuez performs on acoustic guitar in the Recital Hall during the Guitar Recital Dec. 3.

It was an evening highlighting many talented musicians, as attendees were welcomed to the Recital Hall Dec. 3 for a free Guitar Recital presented by the LMC Music Department. Performing many arrangements, from classical to modern day pieces, those who shared their skills with the audience made the event an enjoyable way to spend the evening listening to some well-played music.

Following a performance of “Joy to the World” by musician Eric Navarro, fourteen students in the Beginning Guitar Class took the stage to perform the Eagles’ classic rock song “Hotel California.”

Accompanied by music professor and guitarist Mike Williams, the students did quite well on their instrumental arrangement of the song. Blending both acoustic and electric guitars, and using musical tones to simulate the vocal parts from the original song, the group did very well on their interpretation of the song. With only a few minor timing issues, something that is very understandable when performing with such a large group of beginning musicians, the guitarists definitely showed the promise of excelling with their talents and ability to perform with their peers in front of an audience.

Taking the audience back to an earlier piece of musical history, the students of the Intermediate Guitar Class started their two-song set with “Pachelbel’s Canon.” Half the size of the preceding group, the students did an excellent job at performing this classical piece. Transposing the many orchestral layers to guitar, each guitarist played their parts with ease, and all maintained an even level of dynamics between each other making this a wonderful piece to listen to.

Next the group moved from classical to a more modern arrangement as they took the song made famous by four musicians from Liverpool and created a piece worthy of the songs original creators. The Beatles’ “Eleanor Rigby” was definitely an unexpected surprise to hear performed by seven musicians, but using the same techniques as the beginner class, the musicians did remarkable at transposing the song into the instrumental piece they performed.

As the Intermediate Guitar Class left the stage, guitarists Kevin Villa and Zeke Nuez took their places in front of the audience to perform “Georgia on My Mind,” the song made famous in 1960 by legendary artist Ray Charles. With Nuez’ low end accompaniment sounding slightly out of tune along with Villa’s vocals occasionally going out of key with the instruments, this wasn’t one of the better songs of the evening. And lastly, the extended “rock star solo” style ending seemed a little unnecessary for a quiet acoustical performance such as this.

Deviating from the event program, the duo continued their two-song set, this time with Nuez on piano with Villa providing the guitar tones. In their “E-minor A7 Medley,” Nuez again showcases his strong vocal capabilities as well as an additional talent of playing the piano. Performing chord and scale progressions over the piano, Villa did okay during this song. However, some of the solo parts sounded a little rushed, often going out of key or sounding as if he wasn’t pressing down completely on the fret board. And once again, while somewhat amusing to the audience, the ending could have done without an attempt at a solo.

Bringing his own arrangement of George Gershwin’s aria “Summertime” to the event, guitarist Josh Wood did very well in his performance. With lead accompaniment by Williams, Wood’s interpretation of the piece was played with flawless ease and arranged with a form that Gershwin himself would enjoy. Using complex chord patterns that encompass most of the fret board, Wood’s skills as someone new to the genre of jazz are definitely apparent.

Once again the Beatles were in the spotlight as guitarist-vocalist David Wood took the limelight to perform his version of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.” With a soft range hinted that had a slightly raspy feel, Wood’s vocals added a great feel to his guitar playing. Although a little off timing sometimes, which may have been intended, the song was done well and highlighted Wood’s abilities as a solo performer.

Although enrolled as a beginning student of guitar, vocalist Theresa Harris took to the stage minus an instrument to perform Billie Holiday’s “God Bless the Child” with guitar accompaniment by Williams. If Harris’ abilities as a guitarist match her talents as a singer, then this musician has potential to exceed in her endeavors. In an amazing performance, Harris and Williams stunned the audience with their version of the timeless classic. I would definitely love to hear more from her in the future.

With his electric guitar combined with Williams’ acoustic, Jordan Price received well-deserved praise after his performance of an excerpt from Brahms’ “Hungarian Dance.” Using complicated scales and progressions, Price flew up and down the neck of his guitar with the skills of a classically trained musician. Indeed a high point of the evening, Price’s techniques raised the bar for his fellow musicians on campus.

To close the event, Zeke Nuez took the stage one last time as a solo performer to entertain the audience with his take on Leon Russell’s “This Masquerade.” Despite the off timed maraca-sounding tones coming from Russell’s “right foot” sidekick, the tune was quite enjoyable to hear. Once again Russell shows the audience his abilities as a singer, this time incorporating a vocally simulated trumpet sound. Having performed many songs throughout the evening, Nuez’ take on the classic R&B song was a nice way to end the evening.

Overall the night was put together great and the skills of all those who performed definitely made this recital a wonderful event to attend for all who enjoy the sounds of the guitar. With a large variety of genres spanning across many years of musical influences, the night left attendees with a new appreciation for the students’ multiple musical talents.