By Meghan Rice
The Academic Music Program presented the 3rd Annual Guitar Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 18 in the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts. It was a night full of musical history and shared talents between musicians, students and local Fairfield residents.
The annual festival is run by Director of Academic Music Programs, Joe Carter.
“I wanted an international theme this year. Last year it was jazz and the year before it was Brazilian music,” said Carter. “This year it’s a combination of North and South America.”
The two musicians who performed in this year’s festival were James Baird and Carlos Pavan.
Baird is an internationally acclaimed classical guitarist who has performed in Latin America, Mexico, Canada and New York City. He is the co-founder and president of the New England Guitar Society (NEGS) and has his own studio where he offers guitar lessons and other instrumental lessons.
During the event, Baird performed a brief history of Spanish guitar music: music from the Spanish Renaissance, music from the Spanish Baroque, Spanish music from the Classical era, Spanish music from the Romantic era, and 20th century Spanish music.
Pavan began his musical career in Argentina at the age of 12 and went to New York in the 2000s to continue to pursue music. When Pavan is not traveling to perform, he gives private guitar lessons and instructs the Noel Pointer Foundation.
“[In past years] we’ve had U.S. jazz great, Gene Bertoncini, plus Brazilian Richard Miller and the husband and wife team of Jason Ennis (U.S.) and Natalia Bernal (Chile),” said Carter.
Because music is constantly changing and evolving, so are the festivals.
“I believe people should be exposed to all types of good music,” said Carter. “Duke Ellington said there are only two types of music – good and bad. I don’t think we need to dwell on the bad.”
Carter teaches History of Jazz and Music of Latin America and the Caribbean; both of which he created for Sacred Heart.
Every year Carter encourages his students to attend musical performances hosted at Sacred Heart.
“Taking the History of Jazz has been very informative,” said junior Olivia Savastano. “I have learned more about musical history these past few months than I ever had before. Going to concerts at school and seeing these different types of musicians express themselves through song has been educational.”
There were also many friends, family and members of the Sacred Heart community who came to support Carter and the Academic Music Department.
Carter plays the guitar himself. His goal for this year’s festival was to bring more diverse artists to the school to perform for the university students and the surrounding community, and to showcase the importance of the guitar.
“I wanted to show all the different aspects of the guitar,” said Carter. “It’s perhaps the most recognized instrument in the Western world but we usually only see one aspect of it when it’s used in pop music.”
The Annual Guitar Festival is one of the several events that the Academic Music Department puts on throughout the year; including Jobimfest, which is dedicated to the music of Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Jobim, along with other faculty concerts.
“I am very lucky to have gotten to see these musicians perform,” said Savastano. “I think it is a great thing my professor had me go to this event because it was an educational experience and showed me how much this school has to offer to people with all different interests.”