I am delighted to announce the release of Tom Donahue's book Benjamin Verdery, A Montage Of A Classical Guitarist. Since the time Tom first approached me about the idea of the book until I received it 3 weeks ago, I could not fully imagine what it would be. I was completely intimidated by the idea of it and certainly did not think I was at all worthy. I still don't!
As the deadline approached Tom let me know that my colleagues essays were rolling in and asked me if I would like to read them. I told him that I absolutely did not.
When Eliot Fisk called to say that he wanted to read to me his to get certain facts and dates correct, I informed him of my stance and that I was waiting to read the essays when the book actually was published.
Eliot insisted and I'm grateful to him for doing so. After hearing Eliot's wonderful essay, I realized that the book might have some value beyond being a "tribute" book. I began to think that perhaps the wonderful essays by my colleagues and whatever I was going to write might give people some insight as to what the classical guitar "scene" was at this time. It would serve as a type of document about a slice of the classical guitar world.
It was then that I began writing my own essays on performing, recording, composing and teaching. I wrote right up to the deadline. Writing the essays proved to be quite a challenging but worthy endeavor to say the least. Having no gift for writing, grammar or spelling didn't help!!!
I hope any one who reads this book will glean something from it. It was indeed a labor of love for all who contributed. I remain and will remain profoundly moved by what my friends and colleagues wrote.
I have to thank Tom Donahue for the extraordinary work he did in putting the book together. A huge mahalo and bravo to Tom!!
Peace, love and guitars!
I'm happy to say that the Canadian Publishing company Doberman-Yipan released my solo arrangement of Amazing Grace which can be heard on my CD Branches. The next work scheduled for publication is Tread Softly For You Tread on My Dreams.
In the last few weeks I have played at 3 different High Schools who all have wonderful guitar programs led by excellent and very giving guitar teachers. The first one was the Heritage High School in Brooklyn where classical guitarist James Miller leads the program, the next was Bayonne High School in New Jersey where the wonderful finger style player Vin Downes is the teacher and now I am residence at the Wagner High School where Jazz guitarist Joe Maniscalco is the teacher. Both at Bayonne and Wagner, I not only played but got to teach and work with the students in among other things group improvisations.
I will be playing and conducting Joe's students in a final concert on Wednesday June 6.
I must say with all of the world's troubles it has been a joy working with and playing for these students. They are lucky to have inspirational and devoted teachers. The students have all been a joy to play for and to interact with.It is once again a testimony to the importance of music in schools.
After Wagner I'm off to Simon Powis's fabulous class. Check the Where's Ben Page and if you are near come on by!!!
Until the next time!!
Peace, Love and guitars!!!