GRCC music department hosts Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications

(616) 234-4213

Feb. 29, 2016 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Concerts featuring the famous Minneapolis Guitar Quartet as well as up-and-coming talent will be part of the Mid-America Guitar Ensemble Festival hosted by Grand Rapids Community College's music department.

Colleges and universities from throughout the Midwest take turns hosting the annual festival, which was established in 1991 to foster performance and learning opportunities for classical guitarists. This year's event, which runs April 1 to 3, features more than 150 participants from 19 high schools, colleges and universities in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky.

Music professor Brian Morris, who organized this year's festival, has attended the event regularly since 2000 with the GRCC Guitar Ensemble.

"My students have loved this festival every year," he said. "It has given them opportunities to perform, play in master classes, hear professional guitar ensembles, perform in premieres of new works, participate in guitar orchestras, and hear guitar ensembles from other colleges as well as to connect with students and faculty from other colleges and universities."

This year's festival includes a concert by guest artists the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet -- just one of the unique events open to the public:

  • The opening concert features ensembles from the participating schools at 7:30 p.m. April 1 at St. Cecilia Music Center, 24 Ransom Ave. NE.
  • The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet will perform at 7:30 p.m. April 2 at St. Cecilia Music Center.
  • A closing concert -- featuring ensembles from participating schools and the MAGEF orchestra, under the direction of Libor Ondras, GRCC's director of orchestras -- starts at 1 p.m. April 3 at St. Cecilia.

The Minneapolis Guitar Quartet, formed in 1986, presents original works as well as its own arrangements. The quartet has performed throughout major U.S. cities, the National Arts Center in Mexico City, the Round Top International Guitar Festival, the Guitar Foundation of America Festival and at the 2015 Guitar Art Festival in Belgrade, Serbia.

"The April 3 concert features the Festival Guitar Orchestra, with over 100 guitarists," Morris said. "The Guitar Orchestra will perform a work by James McGuire and premiere a new work by GRCC faculty member Andrew Bergeron entitled 'Dance Under the Red Moon.' With so many talented students -- and the performance of our guests, the Minneapolis Guitar Quartet -- this year's festival will be a truly wonderful and memorable event."

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.

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