School Spotlight: Anoka-Ramsey Guitar Ensemble

May 20, 2013
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ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Anoka-Ramsey Guitar Ensemble of Anoka-Ramsey Community College, was formed in the fall of 2009 in an attempt to give more performing opportunities to student guitarists.

This ensemble also focuses on helping students develop proper technique and reading skills, things many self-taught guitarists lack. In fact, most guitarists starting their first semester in the guitar ensemble have either very little music reading skills or none at all.

The ensemble enjoys programming a wide variety of musical genres to show off the versatility of the guitar, and have performed many different composers ranging from J.S. Bach to the Allman Brothers. There are also opportunities for students to improvise solos in jazz, blues, and rock genres. The guitar ensemble at Anoka-Ramsey Community College features guitarists, bass guitarists and upright bassists. They rehearse 3 days per week totaling 2.5 hours of rehearsal.

The Anoka-Ramsey Guitar Ensemble was very excited to perform at the 2013 Minnesota Music Educators Association Mid-Winter Clinic. They were the first guitar ensemble ever to be invited to perform at the event, and the first community college student group to be represented since 1984.

Their next scheduled concert date is Thursday, December 5, 2013. The Anoka-Ramsey Guitar Ensemble is also hoping to start an annual guitar festival, possibly next spring, on campus for all interested guitar soloists as well as local high school and college ensembles. In addition to performances by attendees, it would include guest performances and clinics for all ages and experience-levels.

To find more information about the ensemble, concert dates, and the Anoka-Ramsey Community College music department in general please visit their website.

The audio feature is from the 2013 MMEA Mid-Winter Clinic performance of Libertango by Astor Piazzolla. The Anoka-Ramsey Guitar Ensemble, directed by Samuel Bergstrom, is joined by Anoka-Ramsey music faculty member Richard Perkins on the flugelhorn.

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