"I think they can expect to see the guitar played like they've never seen it played before."
These are the words Canby native David Tutmark used to describe what audiences can expect from the upcoming concerts in his classical guitar series, "Siempre La Guitarra."
The six-weekend series features guitarists who Tutmark considers to be some of the best in the world. And they come from all over the world, including Chile, Peru, Mexico, Italy, Seattle and the Dominican Republic.
The series kicks off on Jan. 17 at 7 p.m. at Clackamas Community College with Chilean guitarist and composer Francisco Salazar. At this concert, CCC's student guitar ensemble will also perform. The concerts featuring Salazar continue on Jan. 18 at 8 p.m. at Burnt Bridge Cellars and on Jan. 19 at 2 p.m. at Ankeny Vineyard.
Tickets are $30 for general admission and $10 for students. However, Tutmark is offering a 20 percent discount on the first weekend for Canby Herald and Molalla Pioneer readers with the promo code CANBY. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at siemprelaguitarra.com.
After the kickoff weekend, the series continues April 3-4 and throughout 2020. All concerts feature the classical guitar style.
"However, that name (classical guitar) is a little confusing for people because they hear the word 'classical,' and they think really uptight, or like Mozart or something," Tutmark said. "But really, the term 'classical guitar' encompasses a lot more. You could be playing Latin music, Flamenco music, Spanish music, but we call it classical guitar because of the style of playing, the technique. So, it's a little bit of a misnomer in a sense."
Tutmark said each performer will offer music that reflects their culture and some audience engagement too.
"Usually, the artists are not just playing straight through," Tutmark said. "They're going to tell you a little bit about that music. So that's part of it too. You get to learn about someone's story through the music."
Tutmark, a guitarist himself, first established the series in 2019 after traveling the world to play at international guitar festivals.
"Throughout all of these different tours, I've been meeting world-class guitarists—some of the best in the world," Tutmark said. "I'm like, do I even belong here? They're so good. It's amazing. I'm meeting all these people, so now I have access to this community of these great artists; so, I'm like, let's bring them here and do something in the Northwest."
And "Siempre La Guitarra" was born.
The Spanish name means "Always the Guitar" or "Forever the Guitar," which is intended to embody Tutmark's philosophy of the guitar as a central theme in his life and to elicit the idea of preserving and developing the precious art form of classical guitar.
Tutmark began his own journey with the guitar when he was 16 years old and immediately became obsessed with it, he said. He ended up in a band called Blue Ember with fellow Canby guys Matt Warden and Brad Lotz. He graduated from Canby High in 2002 and his love of music eventually took him to college, where he first encountered the classical guitar style.
Tutmark graduated from Portland State University with a bachelor's degree in 2011. Now, he continues to play, and he also teaches at his own Oregon Guitar Studio in Wilsonville and at CCC as the classical guitar instructor. Some may recognize Tutmark from Canby Fred Meyer, where he has worked for 20 years (he also delivered the Canby Herald from his bike for a time).
In the fall, Tutmark will premiere a concerto for guitar and strings alongside composer Nicholas Emerson in Santiago, Chile and later near Milan in Italy.
Tutmark grew the series for this second year and eventually hopes to garner enough support to turn it into a nonprofit. In the future, he hopes to offer concerts at no charge.
All graphic design and web design for the guitar series was done by another Canby local, Mark Boehly, owner of Graphicsbyte.
For more information on the series, including the lineup of performers and dates, visit siemprelaguitarra.com.
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