Click for a closer view. No, seriously.
Amando Derecho heads the beginner class for the day. Coming in late he was already discussing the 8th note, 16th note, the '!', groupings, accent, amongst others. Sure I didn't understand a thing. And none of the 'actual teach' when it was over. All I know he didn't need to tell me anymore: that most just wanted to learn a piece and never try to learn to sight read.
Immediately after was the Master Class headed by Tomonori Arai. It was free for observers (that was us) so we didn't leave our spots. Unlike the first one which was more of a lecture, this one is arranged wherein (only for those who are interested of course) you pay to perform in front of Arai and based on his trained ears he will instruct and correct you in his best hand gesture and English word he can come up with. It was an extreme effort but those who signed up may have gotten a bargain given what they've paid him for. We haven't finished all of the performers because we were due lunch time. Who knows how the list went but hey, program said it is 10-12 and we are an hour late!
Arai: Do you speak Japanese?
When we came back we've decided to go to the afternoon concert and miss the evening one due to some time constraint we've set for the day. It was held in the Little Theatre (oh I've watched my first play here!) and I didn't expect that the house would be as packed.
Ticket. Cheap considering the caliber of the performers (and the smile of my date's face after wihihihi)
Never in my life have I spent 2 hours of sitting listening to just instruments. It is also the first time I've ever witnessed someone play with the entirety of the guitar, the fascinating sound it makes when you only use the fret board and the body tapping to create sounds akin to a boom box. Andreas Kapsalis doesn't need any backup at all. Someone even gave him a stand up ovation. No one followed suit though. Nonetheless, Andreas was awfully good.
I haven't researched how long they've been doing the festival but based on how we got in the classes for free without buying any tickets beforehand (it was supposed to be free if you have a week pass or have bought a concert ticket), it's either we were the first ones who got away with it, they're just being generous or the classes are really pro bono and they just mask it *FREE so those buying the tickets will feel their passes are worth more than they paid it for.
The afternoon concert will show you how pure their intent is in promoting the love of guitars by not inviting so-called local rockstars who have in years still "played out of tune" and only improved their egos. First statement was not originally mine but it figures. You know what I've learned from this day? That repeating the same mistake over and over definitely hurts your ability to improve, what's worse is if you pass it on to those who were taught by you. No wonder we have a few real talents.
I may have not have gotten that much out of this day since I can't still figure out how can I discern if what's on is already Blues, but I do know someone who have truly enjoyed and that is totally worth the effort. So I was thinking, another visit next year perhaps? :-)