Holy City Guitar Series Presents Viva La Musica: South American Guitar & Wine

If there's one concert you're able to attend this year, this should be it. With the war in Syria, the pulse that rages in racism, and the miscommunications about immigration, this is a chance to celebrate life. Given that we sit just a short flight away from Central and South America, this country still is far from education in our neighboring cultures. Performances like the up coming Viva La Musicia! is the basis of what this country initially stands for: diversity.

Holy City Guitar founder Greg Guay and multi-talented musician and friend Hector Salazar are humbling, passionate ambassadors of music. Unlike their previous performances, the third annual Holy City Guitar Series, on March 25, is expected to be the foundation for their mission. They are taking on complex assortments and presenting them at the perfect time.

G: It's a little tricky but [diversity] is out there. You sort of have to dig for it. Half will be solo South American guitar pieces, classical but Latin, and the other half will be Latin ensemble, which we call Caja de Cuerdas (box of strings). [Since] we opted to do Caja de Cuerdas, as opposed to more of a recital, it's been evolving.

H: Production wise it will have its own feeling with what we are doing. Like you were saying with the music, it's true that this is a good opportunity to do this type of music because I'm all about embracing our heritage. I'm a Venezuelan-American and that's how I feel. I came here to The United States and it is my country and I love it but I brought something here that's giving to something else. We need that, we can't shut it down. Celebrat[e] that music. My aunt passed this last year and it's because of her that I know these beautiful songs. She would play them all the time so it has a [very] special meaning. This is our production from scratch and passion. There will be a lot of emotion within the performance. When I'm out there performing something over comes me.

Furthermore this production will present and transcend the audience to a place that many of us will not be able to touch in our lifetime due to political restrictions. However, Hector and his family are avid activists for Venezuelan rights at a time when the country is struggling for its own survival. With a background in film and photography, he is able to use these skills at the disposal of the performance. For Salazar this opportunity "will make our show beautiful and leave something behind. It is like getting a second chance to do what I'm really passionate about. It is life for me. There is a responsibility to send a good message that it's ok to bring this in because we are who we are. We are a diverse nation and we should embrace all these beautiful things that we have. We shouldn't push them away. I want to shake [off] that all immigrants are bad and close the doors. I want to put that wall down. That's the message I want people to get. This is beautiful and if someone can articulate it in good English and feel proud to be an American but feel proud of their heritage and tell people in their own language; I think they will respect each other more. I've never felt that I've been looked down upon or treated any differently being Latino. It's part attitude and security in myself. I'm just totally against people treating other people like shit. I have a son that people look at differently all the time. He lives in a world that's totally different than the way he acts but he's totally happy so what am I going to do? I just have to educate people to accept him how he is; he's happy and he's not hurting anybody."

That's the beautiful thing about music, it can make people come together.

H: That's the most important part. The bridge. Follow always your passion and never give up on your dreams. If you don't do that then you're pretty much dead anyway.

Salazar got hooked on music, playing percussion in Venezuela as a kid and progressed into chorus once his family settled into The U.S. "I always wanted to be an artist as long as I can remember. I was serious about it. I wanted to produce a record and successfully perform. Music is not something that I like to do by myself. I've always had a partner in crime, usually a guitarist".

Luckily for him Suzuki Guitar owner and Holy City Guitar founder is the perfect match. Greg Guay started out as a rock loving teen but fell in love with Spanish guitar in his twenties. "I was just amazed that that could be one person playing. I heard a song on NPR and I thought 'there's no way that's one person'. It had the bass and melody all in one and I got hooked on that. Now it's not just strictly classical, we write our own songs together and we mix pop instrumental with more of Latin twist."

So what exactly is Viva La Musica! representing?

H: How I envision it in my head is one thing and how closely we can get to that vision is another. I always try to shoot high. With clients I like to put all the imagination on the table and then figure out what we can do with what we can do. You don't want to adjust your dream to the budget, then you're short-changing yourself, the project, and everything. I'm going to film this event because this will be a seed. We're not here to make money, we just hope people can say that was a great show and more people will want to attend. Eventually it would be nice to make a few bucks for all the work we put into it but this one is an investment. This is also to see what we can do ourselves.

G: We have [an array of age and talent] playing along side us. We have a very talented upright bass player, Paul Ahrens, joining us to make the perfect match. We also have a saxophone player that also plays flute named Treg Monty. In addition we have Andre, who's just 20 [years old], and his older brother Omar Hidalgo on percussion also from Venezuela. We got lucky and stumbled across these guys. We don't have a straight jazz approach even with the Latin jazz pieces. We have some original pieces that are different for them. A couple of Tango and Rumba style pieces. So they appreciate it because it's more unique and we're not a jazz band.

H: This concert is about Spanish music but in the future I want to have a product that can be featured on the radio and that people want to buy. But that has to have a certain marketability for the masses that can't go straight out in one direction. My vision is more of trying to get out there with the music and let the music do what it needs to do.

You're not labeled. You are what you are.

G: Exactly. We have a chance to go in a lot of different directions. We want them to be amazed at the quality of music, the wine, the theatre, the lighting, the sound, the talent, and, hopefully, like we exported them to another place. It's mental and spiritual traveling. A sense of home. There's little riffs between different cultures but we get to celebrate the best thing about world culture: music.

Viva La Musica! South American Guitar & Wine
Sunday, March 25, 2018
Pure Theatre @ 4.30 p.m.

Holy City Guitar


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