Augustana students make first appearance at Chicago guitar festival
2009 Mar 18The Augustana Guitar Ensemble will work with world-class musicians during its first trip to the Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival in Chicago on March 20 -22. Hosted by Roosevelt University of Chicago, the event allows students to participate in performance workshops, perform an ensemble concert and connect with other students. Sean Ryan, a senior music major from Colona, IL, has been playing guitar for 12 years and values the opportunity to attend the Mid-America Festival. "There are not very many classical guitarists in the Quad Cities, so the festival will be a great chance to see what other guitarists are doing," said Ryan. Augustana's classical guitar program currently serves up to 25 majors and non-majors a term through private lessons and the Augustana Guitar Ensemble group. Randy Pobanz directs the ensemble and has been a part-time instructor at Augustana for 24 years. Pobanz received a master of music degree in guitar pedagogy and performance from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and specializes in classical guitar. He credits the rise in high school programs and private lessons for the growing program. "The pre-college exposure is critical for guitar programs like Augustana's to grow and to raise the playing level of incoming students," said Pobanz. Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival started in 1991 and draws ensembles from as far away as New Mexico, North Carolina and Kentucky. This year's festival features a master class led by the world-renowned guitar duo, the Katona Twins. The Hungarian-born twins, Peter and Zoltán, have given recitals throughout the world including performances at Carnegie Hall in New York and Wigmore Hall in London. "Having the chance to play and be critiqued by two world-renowned artists is very beneficial to our student guitarists," said Pobanz. For more information on the Katona Twins, see www.katonatwins.com. In addition to their performance at the festival, the Augustana Guitar Ensemble will present a campus recital featuring music from the Renaissance to the 20th century. The concert is Wednesday, April 15, 2009 at 8:00 p.m. in Wallenberg Hall (3520 7th Avenue) and is free and open to the public. For additional information or to set up an interview with one of the guitar students, contact Kamy Beattie at 309-794-7721 or firstname.lastname@example.org.