Sharon Isbin is playing the Aranjuez in Bellingham this afternoon. It is the climactic performance at the Northwest guitar festival, which has been going on for the past two days. Right about now, 10am, George Sakellariou is giving a master class, and I’m in Blaine hopefully to take care He played last night and his concert was very engaging, highly polished, and fun. The night before was some “early music” by John Schneiderman and Friends (flute and cello).
Festivals are fun. Meeting old acquaintances, catching up, eating drinking and merriment…
A large part of the fest is the competition. One of my clients, Chris Albanese, played in the semi finals of the competition, and then played in a Master Class for Sharon Isbin.
Here is the story….I missed the semi-finals, but I was there for her masterclasses. Chris was the second player at the masterclass. He came and sat down on her right. She immediately remarked “Beautiful Guitar”. OK. I’m used to people saying that, but not Sharon Isbin in front of a crowd of guitar/music lovers. Then Chris tunes up and plays his piece. Some of the normal master class stuff happens, then Isbin says “Great sound.”, she leans over the guitar to look at the label in it and asks Chris about the builder. He says “That guy over there” and she says here and then she asked about the spelling of my name.
Here is the thing. Chris plays in the left-handed mirror position of normal guitarists. Isbin asks what I did differently for Chris, to make it left-handed. I make a joke about looking in a mirror as I worked, then I explain that the guitar has a symmetrical Romanillos bracing, and the main thing I did differently was in the action.
I’m not making the stuff up!!! I got an email from my friend Bob Clifton about it.
“Great sound.”–Sharon Isbin.
I wrote replied to Bob
She said that?
She was nice to notice and recognize the builder.
I’m glad I’m it. Thanks Bob.
Then Bob replied
That’s exactly what she said. And then she checked the spelling of your name.
Where were you? (I know, I know. Thinking up your rejoinder to her question about building a left-handed guitar.)
Anyhow, I expect to see the quote on your new labels.
(Unless of course you expect your guitars to speak for themselves.)
Actually, I try to let me guitars speak for me to people, but it’s not just about me. I’m not trying to be humble, guitars are a passion, with all the agony and ecstasy implied. I am humble. The player, Chris Albanese, was getting a very nice tone and projection from the guitar.
The way things work out in life is an interesting stochastic random crapshoot. If Chris had been right-handed, he may never have come to me for a guitar. ( We met when I built a guitar for another lefty about nine years ago, and found Chris to play it before I sent it off.) Because his guitar is left-handed, I couldn’t ask her to play it, which might have led to a superlative end to this story. However, I’ll settle for the nice remarks for now.
I’ll have another story about my labels in another post.