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14 April 2013

Happy Spring, everyone (he wrote, the words ashes in his metaphorical mouth – Brandon is holding its collective breath for still more snow tonight. Just what we need – I’ve got a bloody glacier in my backyard, fer the love of Pete! Old Man Winter: go home, already – you’re drunk). 

Well, enough about the lousy weather – ’tis supposed to be happy time of year, the season for regeneration, new beginnings and all that great stuff. I took a glance at my webpage last week and noticed that various items were well past their best-before date. There haven’t been a ton of solo gigs for me to brag about lately, so I thought I’d turn this particular page into a blog, upon which I can brag about other swell goings-on in my professional life. So, here it is – thanks for dropping by!

Item #1 on the Inaugural Madryga Guitar Blog concerns the 2012-13 Brandon University Guitar Ensemble. I’ve had some super people and skilled players pass through the ensemble in the nine years since David Letkemann handed it off to me, but there was something about the interpersonal chemistry of this year’s final lineup – Nathan Layh, Jeff Therrien, Andrew Nichols, and Nic Lawrenz (See photo to the right, courtesy of Miranda Galvin – that’s Yours Truly sippin’ the sauce in the middle.) – that made this year’s ensemble experience unique and exciting, and one of which I’m very proud to have facilitated. Kudos and thanks, you guys – fantastic work at the Winnipeg Classical Guitar Society gig last weekend! There are videos in the post-production phase at present, and I’ll get them posted as soon as they’re available. I’m equally as proud of my Suzuki kids and Conservatory ensemble, who joined the University guys onstage for their final Brandon concert last Thursday (4 April). Every so often I get all three groups to work together on something – it reminds my Uni guys that this is how I replace them once they’ve convocated and gone on with their lives (I think it puts them in the right frame of mind to become good teachers), it inspires the younger groups to reach for the next level of ensemble achievement, and it creates & develops an audience (gotta get bums in seats, don’t ya know). The kids always impress me with how they pull things together onstage and perform with focus and professionalism. I’ve got the best job in the world! Again, vids and pictures will follow when available.

In other news: the BU/EGCM classical guitar community got a huge boost at the beginning of March when my New Jersey colleague Seth Himmelhoch paid a visit to adjudicate Brandon Festival guitar classes, conduct a Uni masterclass, and do a one-day workshop with my Suzuki kids and Conservatory ensemble. I’ve since noticed a huge difference in my group class as per matters of posture, focus, and ettiquette. Love it when that happens!

Speaking of adjudicating: I’m off to Calgary in early May for their Suzuki Strings Festival. I’ve not been out there for over a decade, and I’m really excited to meet up with my Calgary colleagues, to hear their students, and to hang out with members of my own immediate family for a bit. Like I said, it’s a sweet job that I have! Time to get going on a teacher symposium presentation (relatively-uncharted territory for me – wish me luck)…
That’s about it for now, mes amis – pick & grin, and be kind to one another;


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