The Fret Festival is back in full force with a concert by world-renowned guitarists SoloDuo headlines the Peabody Preparatory Department’s sixth annual Fret Festival, which welcomes guitar enthusiasts to learn and perform together. Fret Festival features high school ensemble coaching, jazz improvisation and Brazilian guitar workshops, a master class taught by acclaimed concert and recording artist and Conservatory Guitar Department Chair Julian Gray, a young guitarist’s showcase, and more on Sunday, March 1, 2015.
The daylong celebration of the guitar does offer something for everyone with nine workshops throughout the day. The youngest guitarists will have the opportunity to learn music fundamentals like rhythm and note identification and to learn about how guitars are constructed with a guitar-building workshop led by renowned local Luthier David Pace. Older guitar enthusiasts will enjoy a sense of musical adventure with Echo: a flute and guitar duo who plays their own arrangements of piano music. High school ensembles will receive coaching sessions, attend workshops led by renowned guitarists Danielle Cumming and Scott Borg, and will perform at the Guitar Ensemble Concert.
The Tuesday before Thanksgiving I had the chance to hear one of my all time musical heroes, Bob Dylan, live in concert for the first time. It was an interesting experience attending his performance after so many years of listening to his recorded work because every song performed that evening was “re-imagined.” That’s a nice way of saying you couldn’t figure out what tune it was until he hit the hook of the chorus. I knew this would be the case going into the concert but thought, “Those who weren’t able to catch it right away clearly weren’t serious fans of Mr. Dylan.” Let’s be honest, there are Dylan fans and then there are Dylan fans. I pitch my tent in the second camp and still there I was sitting with 2,000+ guests slowly figuring out what he was playing.
The concert became more and more fascinating as each song quietly revealed itself to the listener, like a child unwrapping a present. The audience repeatedly had this realization, through each song, where they found their musical bearings. The closest thing I can liken it to would be running into an old friend you’ve lost touch with in an airport, in a different city from the one you live, on the way to place you’ve never been. Dylan’s concert created that sense of surprise, confusion, familiarity, and warmth for two hours.
Driving home from Washington, DC that evening, I thought about that sense of the unfamiliar with the familiar. The delight audience members felt when they figured out just what it was they were enjoying and then, it wrecked my Christmas song.
So, here’s my holiday greeting to you (Click here). Much like Bob’s concert, the familiar hook of the song “Silent Night” will emerge but you’ll have to wait for it.
Here’s a hint:
Wishing you and those closest to you Happy Holidays & New Year!