Troy University strums up the competition

by Lenora Hollinghead

Troy University’s 11th annual Guitar Festival featured ensemble rehearsals, concerts, masterclasses, and artist competitions.

 Riley Shaffer, a senior music industry major from Andalusia, Alabama, was one of the many students from the John M. Long School of Music who were in attendance.

“The Guitar Festival is an opportunity to have young musicians exposed to more complicated music,” Shaffer said. “It is very difficult for one music teacher to be able to expose the kids to everything. 

“Troy is able to supply all kinds of talent to expose to the younger children, as it is more difficult to learn through watching videos than it is experience to it in person.”

   This year, the festival had 115 musicians from various middle schools, high schools and colleges. The festival also had special performances featuring Leonela Alejandro, Duo Fortis, and Matthew Denman. 

Dr. Robert Gibson, a lecturer of guitar in the John M. Long School of Music, is one of the leading faculty that began this festival.

“The guitar community globally is relatively small, so I reached out to places like Florida, Mississippi, and Georgia,” Gibson said. 

“I started the festival in 2012 with the idea of growing classical guitar, and to help put Troy University on the map.” 

   Throughout the day, various contestants competed for awards. Contestants within the college competition division competed for the commission of a master class with the competition next year. 

This competition is designed to award classical guitar soloists and inspire those around them. 

  Wade McClaine, a classical guitar performance major at Florida State University, was one of the visiting students to attend the festival. 

“This is my first time at Troy’s guitar festival, and I’m excited to get my name out there and possibly place,” MacCaline said. “I am playing a very well-known piece called Clare De Lune by Stevan Pasero by which I’ve won three competitions with this piece.”  

Despite the tight competition, it just came down to a few. 

The intermediate middle school division was won by Simon Joos, a guitar student of Ben Lougheed.

The high school division was won by Ethan Brown, a student from Alabama School of Fine Arts. 

The winner for the College division was Juan Jose Alpizar, with second place being awarded to Teerut Nattakarn Kirjrattanaka.

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