Guitar festival to be held at Western

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St. Joseph and the campus community are in for a treat when Western hosts the fifth annual St. Joseph International Guitar Festival on May 16-20.

Musicians from all around the globe will be coming here to compete and perform. The festival offers lectures, master sessions, jam sessions, concerts and over $8,000 in prize money, ranking it in the top four classical guitar competitions in the U.S. And it only costs $5 for a student ticket – less than a twelve-pack of Bud Light.

“We have world-class performers in a setting where you can see and watch them play that you would pay five to ten times as much in an urban area,” said Mark Mikkelson, professor of philosophy and board member for the festival.

Anthony Glise, festival founder and director, has been called the true soul of the festival by many of his contemporaries.

“The festival is my baby,” Glise said. “Dr. Gilmore turned me loose to design my idea of a ‘perfect festival’ and frankly, it has become exactly that.”

Mikkelson has been going to the concerts for the last two years and feels that many people do not know the significance of this event.

“It is sort of strange, but St. Joseph doesn’t quite realize how large this festival has become,” Mikkelson said. “We have people that fly in from Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris – you name it – just to be in St. Joe for the festival. In the past it has been a display of virtuosity beyond imagination, and it is all here in Saint Joseph.”

Mikkelson is eager to see the performances at this year’s festival.

Guitar Festival“We were looking for unique signature-like events that could be used to enhance the community, and the level of talent that Tony is able to bring to this community because of his connections internationally in the guitar circuit is phenomenal,” he said. “What we get is a set of the best guitar players in the world.”

Matt Gilmore, director of Western’s music department, helps coordinate the festival for the department, and said that repeat performers like the community of St. Joseph.

“It’s wonderful that it brings people from all around the world to St. Joseph, and after spending time here, they don’t mind coming back,” Gilmore said. “They have always been very impressed with their reception in this community.”

Gilmore has a few suggestions on the shows that students won’t want to miss.

“Don’t miss the Friday show of the Flamenco or the Saturday show of the Hungry Monks,” he said. “These will be really good. They were partly selected to bring in a wide-based audience.”

Sophomore Edy Offner sees the festival as an enormous opportunity and credits Glise with it.

“I think that we are so lucky to have the kind of fantastic international guitarists that come to this festival,” Offner said. “It’s the fourth largest festival of this kind in the U.S. this year, and the fact that it’s in St. Joseph, MO, really says something. I don’t think anyone realizes how lucky we are to have Anthony Glise on our campus, because without him, none of this could have happened.”

A free opening party and jam session will start the five-day event at 7 p.m. on May 16 at Café Acoustic, 2605 Frederick Ave.

For more information on the guitar festival visit or call the music department at 816-271-4420.

Concerts to be held:

  • Aleksandre Tsiboulski, solo classical guitar, at 7:30 p.m. May 17 in Leah Spratt Hall, Kemper Recital Hall
  • Val and Lucia, Flamenco and Iberian-Celtic music with guest dancers, at 7:30 p.m. May 18 in Thompson E. Potter Hall Theater
  • Hungry Monks, historical and Celtic folk music, at 7:30 p.m. May 19 in Potter Hall Theater
  • Final competition rounds and awards ceremony at 3 p.m. May 20 at The Dome, 12th St. and Felix

After each concert, the performers, competitors, masterclass participants, local guitarists and audience members are invited to attend the four free post-concert jam sessions to relax and share different styles of music. Jam sessions are as follows:

  • 9 p.m. May 17 at “La Dolce Vita” at 36th Street, 501 N. Belt
  • 9 p.m. May 18 at HiHo, 1817 Frederick
  • 9 p.m. May 19 at Magoon’s Saloon, 632 S. 8th St.
  • 6 p.m. May 20 at Terrible’s St. Joseph Casino, 777 Winners Circle

All masterclasses are held in Leah Spratt Hall, Kemper Recital Hall.

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