The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
By Virginia Ross, The Quill
I don't know the complexities of playing a guitar or am I up to date on guitar music, but I do know that these groups' music grabbed me and did not let go the entire night.
To quote the program:
"Featuring six virtuoso guitarists from four countries (Japan, Canada, Belgium and the US), California guitar Trio (Hideyo Moriya, Paul Richards, and Bert Lams) and Montreal Guitare Trio (Marc Morin, Glenn Levesque and Sebastien Dufour) fuse 40+ years of combined performing experience into one unique six by 6 strip "phenomensemble."
The California group used steel stringed guitars while the Montreal group relied on nylon-stringed ones blending their music with original compositions and new arrangements of progressive rock, world, jazz and classical music-hence, you have the basic idea but these words in no way explain the explosion of sound we heard on Wednesday night.
Beginning with a seated Montreal group playing "El Paso" by Morricone, who has written over 500 film scores, the music was familiar- stirring the heart ending in a gypsy whirlwind that made you want to forget your inhibitions and dance.
For "Tom Sawyer," a rock tune, a mandolin was added to the mix with percussion accompanied by using the surface of a guitar to pound out the beat.
A change of pace was next with "Glass Beads" which began in a mellow mood and ended with a fast paced romantic pulse.
A standing California group took the stage with the familiar "Walk, Don't Run" by Johnny Smith.
Their Japanese cohort jokingly told about his experience eating sushi locally and then snapped a picture of the audience (Japanese tourists are known to be incessant picture taking).
The group had been formed as a rock band in Los Angeles, but upon taking classes in England where they met Montreal, the tone of their music changed.
Using the "circulation" technique with the melody moving from one to another, the group played a composition by Bach.
Capturing the audience with "Riders in the Sky," the group's frantic beat swept me back in time to TV Westerns and The Lone Ranger.
Talking about their English experiences, a member mentioned Les Gardner, an influential local who lived by the marsh and hence, the original piece, "Marsh" dedicated to him. The melody wove in and out before picking up speed like running water.
After intermission, the two groups appeared together beginning with an original piece, "Blockhead." Here the steady beat raced along with the melody on top, slowed down and then returned to a pulsing pace.
In "Breizh Tango" Levesque used sounds he had heard in Brittany to create hot-blooded swirling music that dwindled down to the slow, deliberate steps of a tango ending in a fast tempo. The audience was encouraged to clap and clap they did to the beat.
In "Magneto" written by Dufour, electronic music sounds resounded against the auditorum walls.
Of course, we all appreciated their version of "The Good, the Bad & Ugly," another Morricone music score.
Curiously, the whole sound mix was being coordinated from an I-pad used by their sound man sitting in the middle of the audience-Oh, the wonders of modern technology!
All and all, the night was memorable and everyone leaving was remarking about what a great concert it was.
Next time plan to be at the Burlington Auditorium for The Voca People, an off Broadway production featuring over 70 a cappella and beat box versions of songs loved by any and all ages.
The date of the concert will be announced later.
The price of a ticket is the best bargain in town.